Bright lights, tons of people, all different unfamiliar loud sounds, with no idea where you are heading next. A person with Bi-Polar, or Anxiety worst nightmare, The feeling of being trapped. Nothing was going to scare me or trigger a PTSD flashback. As I sit on the train into the city, looking out the window, remembering the last time I was here, NYC is like a playground for adults. As we approach the city, I collect my things and make my way to the exit. From the moment I stepped out of the train, it was complete craziness. I had forgotten, how many more layers of security had been added to the city. As I make my way through Penn Station I see military soldiers with guns on their backs placed all around. In addition to the military soldiers were the NYPD scattered in small groups, with some including an explosive-detecting dog. I absorb everything but my excitement to see my best friend is all I am thinking about. I find my train, and take it all the way downtown. It is so crowded there is nowhere to sit so I stand as I hold my bag close to me with my phone in my hand. My stop approaches, and I quickly exit the subway, look around fast, and find my way out of the station. If there is one thing I started to remember is to be careful who you ask for directions. It is easy to get turned around in this city and for safety reasons I found myself asking only police officers for directions. One officer downtown I asked for directions offered to escort me to where I had to go. I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not so I just smiled and gave a little laugh and said thank you.
Having lived in New York City just shy of four years ago now, I was not completely clueless. I knew how Avenue and Streets ran, and what went uptown, and what went downtown, iPhones can only help so far in a city this packed. I also learned real quick how expensive the city really was, and it made me realize how blessed I was to have had lived there for two years, not had to hold a solid job, and enjoyed modeling and working in nightlife. Anyway, in this city, anything can happen, I had to stay sober, strong, and alert. Which was not a problem because I was so nervous about really getting lost. The evening starts to approach, and I finally get to my second friend’s apartment, where I end up staying the night, unplanned. I was super excited to be shown nightlife again, but on a much different level, I got to wear jeans and flats!!! We found the only pool hall on the east side, only known to locals. It was packed, I closed my eyes took a deep breath, grabbed my friend’s hand, and pushed our way to the back, where the pool table was. I felt safe, not crowded, and I wouldn’t get bumped into and pushed around. I laughed, danced, and drank too many red bulls. Wired, we made our way to the next bar around 2am. This bar was my favorite, it was very laid back with a more hipster feel. As 4am approached, either of us was ready to go home, so we headed out to Brooklyn, to this underground club, that was super tiny and quietly packed. I felt in my old element, house music playing, and all the most beautiful girls around me. Yep! not going home anytime soon! I have never been happier to be dancing in flats! Although I was making the best out of the worst situation possible, having to evacuate the state of Florida, where Irma was about to destroy. I was not ready to think about all the damage, and maybe not having a home to go back to. As my time in the city came to an end, I met up with one last friend and attended my first hot yoga class. I loved it instantly. and can not wait to attend one back home. That is if the studio is still standing after Irma. Coming back to my Aunt’s house, was the only anxiety I had felt since I left the Island. I finally had time to think, maybe too much time. My Aunt’s house is so beautiful, set on acres of land, with chickens and alpacas, and children playing soccer at the school next door, it is pure serenity. I only have a few more days in New York, excitement and nervousness are all I feel, excited to get my life going again, and to see all my close friends from my hometown, who stayed through the hurricane.
Going back home is going to be unlike any return trip home I have ever had. There is so much uncertainty, but I keep telling myself, what others have told me, these are just things.
During this whole time away I have been closely checking in with all my friends back home, and I am glad to know they are all safe. I think they are just as excited as I am for me to be home.
Disclaimer: No portion of this may be shared without my written permission and used as your own.