New York felt much like Finland today. As I was walking down snowy streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I kept getting flashbacks of trudging to the bus in the morning to go to school or stumbling to a temporary home after a long night of drinking in wintery Helsinki… It’s fascinating how sense-memories come and go, like waves–filling the body with recollection, and then disappearing as they came. Even in the midst of my darkest days, I have apparently been able to enjoy the sensation of my feet sinking into mushy, squashy snow so much that a fond memory has been imprinted, into my very DNA. If that’s how that works.
Reminiscing about Finland lead to reflecting on New York, as I stood in a packed-like-sardines subway, in the first car, watching the tracks separate and reconvene and then observing the nearing lights as the train pulled in at the station. A man seated to my left was babbling incessantly–words that I couldn’t decipher, alternately raising his voice and mumbling incoherently. We get used to these characters on the trains; most of them harmless, but you always kinda keep your eye out just in case.
You get to see the best and the worst of humanity in this city. Some subway cars smell so noxious that no one enters. Except the one who’s already rotting in there. I have even seen a pile of feces in a subway car… I can tell you, it was not the dog. This is obviously in the “worst”-category. The best…well, that you come across by chance if you’re lucky. Although, I have started coming across it quite frequently in the last few years. And increasingly so. I suppose, the further you move away from the “worst”, the closer you get to the “best.” Although in this city, you can’t turn a blind eye to either. They exist side by side. And then there’s of course ‘everything in between.’ My New Year’s resolution is to not get stuck in that category.
I looked at myself in the mirror today and I saw a woman with depth, experience and charisma. At one point in my life–in the same phase when I used to hobble back home from bars, I used to see my face and not even recognize myself. I couldn’t understand how the muck that filled my insides weren’t showing up on the outside. My face and my body were entirely foreign to me. Now, I find that it all matches. The years of my life are showing up on my face in a way that makes sense to me. My experiences are mine. This is what a snowy day in New York evoked in my mind…