Now that we’ve found love what are we gonna do with it?

January starts with a bang and just keeps going. Everyone has a million projects while dealing with, at a minimum, low grade depression. Try starting off the year on the right foot when it just so happens to be tied behind your back.

The recurring feeling is one of feeling settled at last. It’s been nine months since I’ve moved here, yes, but years since I’ve felt this.

When D left, 31 years were thrown in the air like so many checkers. I moved out of that cold house he insisted on buying in two days. I moved into a stranger’s spare room. And then to a rental. And then to a house I owned. It never felt like a home though.

I refused to clean it. It would get filthy and then the maid would come. It was my post-partem child that I never learned to bond with. I felt nothing for it. My shoulders didn’t relax there. It was big and full of things that never managed to bring me joy.

Cut to present day. I’m living a life that I can honestly claim as my own. I’m working towards goal after goal. My emotions are stable. I have actual friends. And in the city where it takes the most to distinguish oneself in any creative pursuit, I’ve already succeeded.

NYC was a project that started in earnest back in 2017, when I came here with no intention of falling in love. It just sort of unfolded, the way that all the best romances do. Every time I came, I had people to do and places to see. It got more familiar each time. I reinforced relationships. I became more confident in myself. I learned that I knew how to play the game better in NYC than I ever did in Tucson.

I don’t think a lot of people believed in me when they found out about the move. I wasn’t intent on proving anyone wrong. I wasn’t motivated by any outside force. It was more this realization that, after settling for soooooo long, there was a place that stimulated me and rewarded me in all the ways I needed. Whodda thought it would just happen to be the city people are most intimidated by?

Even people who loved me watched along, half holding their breath just waiting to see me fail. I was playing fast and loose and my reality had been one of misery for so long that it was inevitable that the other shoe would drop. I’d get my heart broken, get mugged, get lost in alcohol and drugs, get disillusioned, fall into depression, and slink back to Tucson with my tail between my legs to nurse wounds.

Only it’s not gonna happen.

I’m in pain every day. Rheumatism. My hands and feet hurt and burn almost every day. And I’m still not ready to pack it in. I just ordered turmeric and ginger and oregano and borage seed oil to deal with it. I have a sinus infection and I am still going to perform tonight.

This is the difference between young Vene and today Vene. No one here really knows how the profound misery I waded through with no promise of any relief for absolutely ages. The loneliness, the dips into madness, the loss of any identity, the fear and anger. I don’t know that I could convince new friends of how bad it was. But the old friends know. And that is why they doubted I’d ever be this established and happy in NYC.

I’m not counting chickens or putting eggs in a single basket. This isn’t bravado. This is me saying it’s doable because anything this city throws at me I’ve already confronted and mastered like a motherfucking boss. Tucson was the shallow end of the pool where I conquered all the reasons I’d ever want to quit. And now I can swim in the deep end with the big boys and girls. And I’m just getting started.

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