This week I successfully moved apartments. Cue applause. Anyone who has done this in New York City knows what an ordeal it can be. This was a first time for me and I severely underestimated just how difficult and stressful the entire process would be.
First off, I was operating off a three day hangover/sunstroke dosage from the previous weekend’s antics on the Jersey Shore. Secondly, I went to work not realizing that many companies actually offer a moving day for such occasions.
Thirdly, I decided to book my movers on the day on the basis that it’s New York and surely there are always movers available, right? Wrong.
By the time it got to 3 p.m. my boss fully told me to leave the office and get started on moving because my delusion that it was going to take “an hour, tops” was beginning to stress him out. Also, the fact that I had called every moving service in the city but, being as it was the first of the month, was having zero success in finding a mover.
I eventually got two giant Ukrainian men to drive my furniture from apartment one in Bushwick to my new home in Crown Heights. They were thrilled to be carrying a large couch up a four story walk up.
I then had to take a cab with all my stuff from my sublet in Brownsville to new home in Crown Heights and the whole thing took a monstrous seven hours. But even at that, I know I got off lightly.
My new room is bare. I have a mattress on the floor, a closet and -- mercifully -- an AC. Being on the fourth floor makes that sweet cool air even more essential than before. Extra stairs aside, moving from Brownsville to Crown Heights has already drastically improved my life.
As much as I loved my sublet, and the girls I was staying with, I knew I needed to be in a slightly safer and greener neighborhood for the summer, and for life in general. This new building feels like a giant old Italian hotel with winding tiled staircases and warm, rustic walls.
The apartments are huge with big windows, the bedrooms face into a private courtyard and the living spaces are separated apart so that no one’s bedroom door opens into the living room.
My two new roomies are dreamy, both working in similar fields, and there’s an adorable cat that I get to play with but remain entirely unresponsible for. There’s furniture, kitchen equipment, books and a pre-established homey vibe that has made settling in so easy. The best feature is the beautiful roof, perfect for picnics, barbeques and general sunning.
My walks to the train no longer involve taking a shortcut through the projects, and as much as it pains me to admit, I feel a lot safer walking home at night. Brownsville is just that few blocks too far into unnerving territory, even for a self-proclaimed tough girl like me. Now safely in the land of brownstones and leafy streets, there’s no going back.
This evening, my friend and I spent hours on the roof pretending to do yoga as the sun went down, then joined my roommate in preparing some food to bring next door to our neighbors’ dinner party.
A NEIGHBOR DINNER PARTY is the most adult thing I’ve done in weeks, months even. It’s something only my parents have spoken of. And I just did it. Terrifying.
I was glad to have my pal who is the most socially competent person I know and worked as a great buffer to my crippling social anxiety and total inability to make a good first impression. I felt like having her with me greatly improved my chances of making friends with this table of eight beautiful successful women that I felt an overwhelming need to impress.
Many of them worked in wine, my pal included, so that dominated much of the conversation, as did being from America and going to school in America.
I made some good headway with one girl who was a musician and we attempted to compare that with being a writer and compared notes on the struggle of working in the creative world and trying to afford life, but generally speaking, I wasn’t speaking. I sat back and absorbed a sequence of conversations to which I had very little to contribute to.
When we were leaving, my pal exchanged numbers with two party guests for future hangouts, and I exchanged none.
I’m an outgoing person. I have opinions and thoughts that are interesting and am often told that I am funny and whatnot.
So what, in this situation, went wrong? I felt like the new kid at a new school, desperately wanting to fit in and therefore floundering, losing my confidence. I’ve never had a relationship with neighbors before that has been anything beyond cordial hallway comments, and this was all a bit too exciting.
Single life has thrust me into a world of unknown territory. Usually I would have declined that invitation because I felt my life was complete enough that I didn’t need to socialize with strangers on a Monday night, but now I realize how wrong that entire mindframe is.
While I feel a tad bummed out, a little like I failed somehow in this evening’s social experiment, I see it as a disadvantage I acquired while settling. My world has been shaken up, and I need to shake with it.
I need to learn how to walk into a room full of strangers and see them as potential new friends, to present myself with confidence and not shy away. Just because I went from being in a relationship to being single doesn’t mean I have to be alone, or that I have to question myself in the company of others.
It’s crazy what a big breakup can do to your self-confidence, and I was shocked by my own display of timidness tonight. Now I see this as a challenge.
I love my neighbors, they’re great. Now I will have to show them how great I am too, and that I don’t need anyone to validate that but myself.