Here’s a Spotify playlist I’ve been enjoying all morning as I make myself ready for the return to the UK.
I am a mess of sniffles and silent tears at the Newark airport. Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning floods into my ears: “if only you will staaaaay!” And I’m a puddle. I have hugged easily 100 New Yorkers (a surprising number of whom told me my hair smells of happy, is this a thing now?) in the last five days, and I have been made to feel like maybe, we are all made up of genuine magic. I have been chatted up, calmed down, built up, and shared Love and laughter that left my sides hurting and my heart bursting.
One of the advantages of the brand of crazy I am packing, is that I am often devoid of risk aversion. I will, and do, try just about anything. So, on this trip, I have crammed in so many moments of magic, and created and strengthened connections from Jersey, to Brooklyn and all over the isle of Manhattan. I am loath to leave, as I feel Loved and seen, and a part of this cosmically chaotic ecosystem.
My first trip to this city was when I was 23. I had just gotten engaged to my soulmate and ex husband but eternal best friend Phteven. I remember waking up and walking out into the street the first morning after we had arrived. The noise, the smell, the huge high rises, I was lost and found and absolutely astounded by how familiar it all felt. Nearly 20 years and countless visits later, I have a healthy tribe in the tri-state area. Strangely, I met almost everyone somewhere else, they live in New York, but we became friends in all sorts of places. Marcus (and later I met his magical and beautiful partner Jo) in a waiting room in Las Vegas, easily a decade ago now. David at the WWDC11 conference in San Fran. The Feminine Edge Amazonian goddesses in the Dominican. Mark at an EVS show in Germany. Most of them are native New Yorkers, some are supplanted from other parts.
New Yorkers are tough nuts to crack. They are busy, and perhaps a bit hardened by the sheer intensity of life in the city. While my accent could be mistaken for a local’s non distinct New York twang, I am clearly a cheerful country girl compared to everyone I know who calls this place home. If you read my London Blog, you will know that I have more or less given the art of connecting with people a treatment of gamification. Eye contact, smiles, compliments, kindness all score points and I keep mental track of the day’s haul. The strangest thing seems to have been happening since I started this in Soho (London) some days ago. What seems to be happening, is people are instigating conversations with me now, giving me compliments, looking me in the eyes and saying thank you or complimenting my shoes or the purse that Eva printed for me. It seems, I have unlocked some sort of magical force that perpetuates kindness and is following me around the globe. It’s perfection.
Among the tribe here is a mentor and friend who has given me a shoulder, advice, credit, kindness, and the occasional kick in the ass. New Yorkers are tough on the outside, I am often intimidated by their manner and their “suffer-no-fools” facial expressions as we chat. I have noticed this trip, that this exterior of strength and severity is easily swept away and replaced with a kindness and connection that I cannot possibly describe. There is a softness and a gratitude that washes over the blank and busy New York stare when eyes lock and time is taken to truly talk, and see them and feel seen in return.
I will cut this blog short, as I am absolutely exhausted after such little sleep, as I tried to shoehorn a month’s worth of meetings and magic into five short days. I did not get to see everyone I Love and miss here on this trip, but I was made to feel like a magical muse, an object of beauty, an electric and eccentric shock, and a valued and appreciated friend.
Thank you so much for the magic Manhattan. I miss you already.