She Used To Be Mine
It will come of no surprise to my friends and social media followers that I am back in New York, happily reunited with friends and my beloved. I’ve spent the past few days wandering around my favourite haunts with them, a mixture of well known tourist sites and lesser known secrets that I have grown to love over the last four times of being here. Having spent two summers living in it’s humid embrace, it’s a city that feels comfortable, albeit not on the weather front.
Tonight I’m going to see a show, one that I’ve never seen before but have come to adore through it’s music and have desperately wanted to see for a while. In Waitress is a song that inspired the name and title of this post. She Used To Be Mine first spoke to me as a before and after of mental health, a reminder of the person I used to be before these overwhelming emotions that I have always had started to manifest themselves in unhealthy ways. I have written before on here about the many iterations of ourself that we journey through, and it’s a song that reminds me of a particular before and after period.
But New York as a city, too, reminds me of different versions of myself. From the eager 13 year old who first experienced Ellen’s Diner with her grandmother to the now recent graduate who last night took some university friends to the very same place to delight in the musical renditions that the waiters offer, I see memories almost everywhere I look. My very first morning walk to coffee took me past places I had been on dates last summer and the summer before that, and walks I had made my first January of being an NYU student. I can’t help but picture each version of me on every corner.
You may notice that many of these posts look back with certainty and forward with the very opposite, a consequence of an overly self aware (perhaps too self involved?) writer with very little concrete plan about the future. It’s such a bizarre place to be in, and graduating and coming home made me feel like I lost a whole chunk of my identity. I could no longer write with the same enthusiasm, and even simple tasks became almost too much. New York has gifted me with some of my old inspiration. When this post began to form in my head whilst browsing a Chelsea Market bookstore, I all but ran to my favourite library in Greenwich Village to type it out. I am sat now, sheltering from the rain, in a place in which I produced so much content last summer. That too reminds me of the creativity and productivity that I have to offer when I unleash it within myself.
Being here isn't a simple return to how I used to feel. The photos used in this post are from last summer because I haven't liked any I've had taken of me this time yet – an image crisis and insecurity in my photography skills are probably responsible for that. Luckily this summer I'm armed with a polaroid and so I've placed more emphasis on those, snapping me and my friends and my favourite places on the camera that I can accept imperfections on. Plus I've loved snapchat and Instagram stories for the silly shots of me and my friends as we laugh our way around the city. I'm too uptight about my main Insta feed to post them there (I know it's ridiculous) but I love the freedom that comes with their temporary nature.
And being back with my favourite person helps too. She walked hand in hand with me through every mess step of the last four years, and I with her, and we accepted and loved each other through our growth. She is relatively new to New York and here we are forging new memories whilst dissecting the past, present and future through our conversations. I am endlessly grateful to her for I have long felt like she makes me the best version of myself, and reminds me of it when it feels lost.
I don’t believe I need to be in New York to get back to who I was, indeed I don’t believe I can return to any old version of myself. But I dearly long to make a place feel like home as this city came to be for me, and to unearth the parts of my personality that I most treasure: passion and productivity being the main focuses. They were lost for a little while in the confusing mess of graduation, but they can come back, temporarily they have. A new life beckons just beyond, who knows what it will hold?