Monday, June 27, 2005

Island Prison?

Another day in NYC. Yesterday in my lunch break I had a very strange realization. I walked out of the building where I work in Chelsea and realized I was in New York City. Wow, New York City! Weird people everywhere, interesting people everywhere, all types, textures, colors, languages. I saw yellow cabs, 4 or 5 story walk-ups. I’m in New York! I’m no longer struggling to get a visa! No more struggling to find a job! No more waiting, no more anxiety. I’m here, I did it! I walked into the 75 degree weather that reminded me of my hometown. The weather was the same, but that is where the similarity stops!

I thought of my friends who have lived all their life in Mexico, in my hometown, a city of high elevation in the center of the country. Most of my friends there have never lived abroad. They will live all their life there. They will never meet people from all corners of the world or feel the thrill of jogging by the Hudson River at sunset. OK so Mexico has some very positive things! Sun, culture, wonderful people! Yes but to my friends…at least to many of them, there is a LIMIT to live by. No curiosity to look beyond the everyday. Too scary to think about speaking in a foreign language.

But isn’t this limit transferred to those living in this great city anyway? Here I come to face a new challenge. To choose who I want to be, out of all the options that this city offers. It is said that true abundance exists from actually choosing something out of the many options available. That is what I face now. And in a way, I feel pressured by the city to taste more of it, to experience, to learn to be a part of it. Be, more than just observe. For starters, I am choosing Painting 101 at a reputable art college starting today, as part of a certificate program for developing artists. More on art to follow.

Last week I had my first official NYC date. I have to say I was very much looking forward to it. I got ready after a long work day. In Mexico I would have gone home or I would have watched a movie with my family. But in NYC, being tired should not matter, and family is out of the question, for it is non-existent. I arrived at the restaurant and he was there waiting for me. A very nice and good-looking man, with a life of pressures when one works off Wall Street. He had hardly any energy left over to dedicate to our rancontre. In another way, he was so mellow I wondered if anything really excited him at all. But the interesting thing was he was a Jewish man interested in a Latin woman. Now that was a first for me.

He talked to me about the pressures of Wall Street as I sipped my mohito at the Cuban restaurant he chose for me. I felt the urge to dance to the Latin beats but found that this would be inappropriate with this particular person. Maybe after I get to know him better, I thought. The evening went on with somewhat bland conversation. We had one thing in common: music. He had played electric and acoustic guitar for many years and often found himself playing alone in his apartment. This sounded a bit like me, since I enjoy singing and somewhat playing mediocre guitar to myself. It is a developing project.

Why are our projects always developing projects? Meeting this person could mean two things; either as a reminder that I could end up singing alone in my apartment for 10 years if I don’t venture out and form a band; or that this man could very well be the first member of my new Jewish-Mexican loungy-acoustic band. The second sounds better, so I may just pursue it.

Is every person we meet meant to change an aspect of our lives? Or does this happen only if we look into the meaning of their fleeting presence? Can a life be left untouched if we ignore the tiny signals that others send to us? What did I learn from this person? That I don’t want to be a developing project! I want to be the project. And I want to CHOOSE my dream in this city of 5 million possibilities. If I don’t, I could very well end up like my friends back in Mexico, different location, same mind, but in a sky-scraper-island prison.

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posted by Mex-Goes-NY @ 6/27/2005 01:04:00 PM |

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