Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A New York Moment

I have been stuck in New York. Not a terrible place to be stuck, but stuck is stuck and when my mind is set to be home, being stuck anywhere is just not where I want to be.

Stuck, I stick to narrow-minded thinking that says, the way things are is not the way they should be -- and while that might be the case, the reality is, things are always the way they are. And when I resist the way they are I create a world of discomfort in and around me.

Yesterday, after leaving the Canadian Consulate's office, I walked to the subway to head back to Brooklyn. I'm still not particularly adept at figuring out which direction the trains are going -- how do you know north from south, east from west without a compass? At the top of the stairs a tiny Asian woman stood waiting with her child in a stroller. A train had obviously just arrived as people streamed upwards. She wasn't going anywhere, fast.

I waited beside her and asked "Do you need help getting down the stairs?"

She smiled brightly and said, "Oh yes please."

When the stream of people climbing up stopped, I picked up the front end of the stroller and helped her carry it down.

At the bottom I asked, "Will this train take me to Brooklyn?"

"Oh no," she replied. "You need to be on the other track."

In this case the other track could only be accessed by going up and out and across the street.

I smiled and thanked her and turned to walk back up the stairs. She touched my arm lightly. "Thank you for helping me," she said. "I'm sorry you are in the wrong place."

I smiled again. "It wasn't the wrong place."

Because my Metrocard had been swiped within the last 18 minutes, it wouldn't allow me access to the subway on the other tracks so I decided to walk for a bit. I was feeling somewhat emotional about my lack of 'identity' and not being able to get back into Canada (for a fuller explanation of my passport fracas, visit yesterday's blog).

A light rain was falling. The streets were filled with people and I felt completely alone. Cut-off. Isolated.

My mind flashed back to another time when I wandered streets, whiling away the time, fear and anxiety eating away my peace of mind.

It was almost 8 years ago. Conrad, the abuser who wanted to love me into a premature death, was still promising we'd have a home 'any day'. And I was still blind and deaf to the truth. He was lying.

We didn't really have a place. And what we did have was impermanent, borrowed. We were couch-surfing and I was homeless -- I just couldn't put it in that framework.

As I walked for what began as five minutes and turned into two hours yesterday I thought back to those days. I don't often think about them now. They were such an 'other time' such a back then kind of space, but yesterday, the thoughts cascaded and I found myself connecting to the fears and sorrow of those days.

Emotions wafted through me. I looked at the world around me and did not see it. My mind, that capricious place of random thoughts, kept betraying me back, stealing now with thoughts of then.

C.C. called to tell me of progress of my passport and I cut him off as soon as he gave me the information I needed. If I talk I'll cry, I told him.

I stopped at a cafe. The waiter, after serving me my tea came back and asked, "Is there anything else you need?" and tears welled up in my eyes.

Old emotions seeking release.

It was a healing, of sorts. Of smoothing out of the rough edges of a past that no longer serves me -- but it does remind me -- that was then. This is now and now is all I can live.

Later, in speaking to my eldest daughter, I told her about the trigger of wandering the streets. At moments I felt as if I would be stuck in this place forever. That I would not be able to get back to Canada.

I know that's not true -- but the fear and the blind thinking were overpowering at times.

She laughed and said -- those were different times, different circumstances. You're okay mom.

And I am.

Triggers are healing. Emotions I did not know were stirring and memories I did not see were awakened. In their awakening, I am set free as they flow free.

Sometimes, tears are all we have to carry memories away.

And when memories are washed clean, we are free to laugh and dance and sing in the light of the beauty of this day today.

My passport will be here this morning and I will be returning home. In the interim, last night I got a special treat of attending a free concert in Brooklyn where the cast and musicians from the Broadway musical FELA! performed.


I am okay. It was just a New York moment masquerading as 'the past'. Like a Broadway play, it took my attention away from what is real and true for me today and transported me to another time and place.

Back in the moment, living it up in the rapture of now, I embrace once again this one wild and precious moment and dance in the light of a new day rising.

Today is a Blog Carnival Tuesday over at Bridget Chumbley's place, One Word At A Time. Today's word is 'healing'.

For a delightful repast of stories and poems based on the one word prompt of 'healing', drop on over to Bridget's place.

You will be charmed.


Maureen said...

Sending hugs and love.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you! :)

Joyceann Wycoff said...

Louise ... I'm so sorry about the unintended extension of your trip and the passport mess. But, it sounds like you are using the time well ... sometimes stirring up the past helps us see the present.

May the rest of your trip and the safe return to home base be joyful.

Kathleen Overby said...

It felt real, then you remembered. Hugs.

Anonymous said...


I think it was Henry Ford who said, something to the effect of 'whether you think you will suceed of fail, you are right' and someone else famous said 'wherever you are, there you are'

so... a passport folly (I've had one of those so I can relate), an unexpected extra day in Apple ... who knew? it reads like you made the most of where you were - proof we can always be the best we can be, anywhere



S. Etole said...

I can understand the longing to be home ... and the anxiety of the not knowing when.