This is an important time for me. I’m at a sort of crossroad and I’m not sure exactly what direction to take. I’ve been at crossroads before, but they mostly involved just me; this particular situation involves other people
Three months ago I was on the phone with my immigration lawyers (I’m Canadian, in the US on a Visa). We were discussing the possible options for my resting status in the USA. Option one: I reapply for the same Artists Visa but only get one year, rather than the original three. Option number two: I find a new sponsor and a new three year game plan and put together a new portfolio to apply for a new three year Visa. Option four: I become so famous that the American government wants to give me a green card.
I fell in love with New York for the first time when I was 16. My mother took me here for the weekend with a few other members of our family and I remember exiting the airport, getting into the cab and feeling totally and completely awestruck as the car drove on the FDR Highway to our hotel in midtown (typical tourist destination). The buildings were so tall and congested, I’d never seen anything like it and the cab driver, like so many cab drivers in the city was excited for me, a proud immigrant, proud to be living in a city that so many people around the world revered. I envied him and he knew it, he, in a way, envied himself, something I’ve only recently come to understand.
It was summertime in the city and the sun was hot, the concrete steaming, the white noise endless. People were everywhere and movement was constant, never a moment without something flashing in your periphery. The energy was vibrating and every sense was stimulated, like just coming out of a London club still jacked on E. We did all of the typical touristy things, went to a couple of Broadway shows and they were FANTASTIC! Went shopping and the sales were phenomenal and ate at delicious restaurants. We walked and walked and walked, went to central park and took a double decker bus around the city. I fell in love. I knew as I looked out of the window of that yellow cab, driving to the airport looking at the FDR highway’s skyline that I would be a New York city resident one day.
Flash-forward to present
I’ve been living in New York for five years, currently in year six, something I’m very proud of, an accomplishment worth envying.
More recent backstory
I moved to New York to go to school and have been living off of Visa’s ever since. About a year ago I started feeling a discontent like I had never really felt before…or should I say, like I haven’t felt since I was 18 years old and moved away from home for the first time. About a year ago I started feeling homesick for my family. I’ve been living on my own since I was 18, save for a year out of undergrad when I was messing up my life because of the aftermath of my father’s death. Once I straightened myself out I moved and haven’t returned since. I’ve lived in 5 different cities, never staying longer than 4 years in each until now. New York is where I believed I was going to make my permanent home, until about a year ago.
My nephew was born two years ago…I know what you’re thinking and you know what, you’re right. I am not ashamed. I do want a baby and he is the jewel of my eye. I am a woman in her late 30’s who wants to have a baby and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love children. I always have and I would make an excellent mother, I really know this in my heart and soul, truly. The love that I felt for my nephew was a new kind of love, a love that I’d only heard of and I knew right then and there that the love I would feel for my own child would be out of this world.
A few years ago, my thirty something friends who were all married and having babies of their own started asking me if I would consider in vitro. I’d always wanted to have a partner to make, have and take care of a baby with, so my answer to them was always no accompanied by a long drawn out explanation that always felt like an excuse. As I would explain to them my desire of wanting to share that experience with a soul mate, I would watch as their eyes glazed over with that look that says, “grrlll that ain’t never going to happen now. You ain’t no spring chicken and you’re eggs are shrivelling right this moment, as we stare at you in judgement, so you better get on it. There ain’t no such thing as Prince Charming, ain’t you heard??? You best do what we did and find the easiest schmuck to breed with so that you can be just as miserable as we are on the daily, but hey, at least you’ll have your baby, and we’ll get closer because we’ll all come together to complain about our husbands all while pretending to ourselves that this is human purpose. Or just get a baby put in you. Either way we’ll be able to get together and talk, because we all know that once a woman reaches a certain age, if she ain’t married and doesn’t have children, she ain’t got nothing to talk about, cause after 35, that’s the only thang she got and if she don’t got it she a freak.” I’m not exactly sure why the voices have this accent, none of my friends actually have this accent, and I’m not totally sure what kind of accent this is…it just seems fitting somehow.
Needless to say I’ve been disconnecting from my old friends more and more as each year goes by; not because of insult so much as lack of compatibility. I see the world differently and have come to see that my explaining myself to people who follow old world doctrines is futile. I end up feeling like I’m making excuses and they can convince themselves that I am delusional, that I am too picky and that they made the right decision following the pack because now they are miserable just like everyone else, but that’s how it’s supposed to be right?! Everybody Loves Raymond being a pinnacle example of what my generation expects out of a marriage. At least they are all miserable together for the same reasons. I choose to be happy, albeit lonely but would bet cash money that my happy days trump their lonely ones, and I’m the single one.
Which is a great Segway to why I’m not married. Again, not by conscious choice…or is it??? Of course I take responsibility for the fact that the few proposals that I have had, I said no to and that although my heart was broken more than once, I broke the majority of hearts. Everyone talks about men having commitment issues but for whatever patriarchal reason (fitting description given our current political climate) women were never allowed to have commitment issues. So I sailed through my teens, twenties and half of my thirties never really realizing that that was a major issue of mine. I was absolutely terrified of being swallowed whole into the deep dark depths of another human being never to be seen again. I saw it first with my mother and my biological father, then again with my mother and my step-father, then again and again and again throughout the years with myself and my friends and family. The main difference was that my friends married the people they gave their personalities away for and I ran from them…so…there’s that.
My friends in their 20’s are much more hopeful in regard to my romantic prospects, speaking to them (the best ones anyway) leaves me with a sense of hope, which is a gift that I am grateful for. But they, like most humans reaching the mid-late 20’s are coupling up and soon will be breeding their own beautiful little bitties.
All this being said I do feel like I should mention that once upon a time I did fall very deeply in love with a man that I believed I was going to marry. I was broken hearted by a few that I felt could be “the one”. In a way, I have tried it all.
So…How Now Brown Cow?
The love that I once felt for this still great city is waning like a tired relationship. My feet are getting itchy and the desire to run is percolating. The fear that I’m living in an ever increasingly lonely loop reverberates on my brain like the rings of a water drop and I meditate to get my clarity back. I refuse to fall into the loneliness depression. It’s a depression that I’ve fallen into before, a very dangerous state of consciousness that if I fell into again, I fear I would not come out of. I’m not ready to die, not quite yet; I still have a few things I’d like to try here on this tiny little planet in the middle of nowhere, before I hand in this towel.
Which brings me to my career. “Of course!” You say. “What else? A late 30’s, single, heterosexual, white female with no divorces and no children who seems relatively sane and accomplished. IT’S HER CAREER! SHE WAS ALWAYS FOCUSED ON HER CAREER! Ok, I feel better. I feel more comfortable reading this now.” You sigh relief that you’ve discovered the explanation. Admittedly, living in New York with this description is not all that strange, and actually is acceptable if not downright expected in some circles. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve heard people say that, New Yorkers don’t get married and have babies until they’re in their 40’s. And this is accurate. So many New Yorkers are focused on their careers and do desire to be autonomously successful before sharing their personal existences with other humans. Another reason to a long list of why I love the city so much. It really is progressive. But is that enough?
It’s true, I have been focused on my career my entire life. I’m an artist. My art is like a limb. It doesn’t define me but it is essential to my composition. I would feel phantom limb pain if I couldn’t create. This in combination with my fear of being swallowed whole make a tincture that is relationship challenged. Lord knows I like a challenge, but I think it’s time that I start picking my battles rather than have them pick me.
As the action oriented person that I can sometimes be, I decided to hire a PR lady to help jump start my fame. 3 months later, $6600.00 down the drain and nothing much to show for it. Save for an article by a very nice lady from Metropolitan Magazine, I bought empty promises and a shit load of name dropping. The most infuriating thing about this particular situation is that I could have generated more publicity and events on my own with that dough, but my doubt, insecurity, general fatigue and apathy and advice of my advocates swayed me to choose to hire a publicist. Pretty much everything that I stand against. It did prove to be fruitful to my education and confidence in my personal ability, which is no small feat but came at a cost, literally, that I could have avoided. Lesson learned. Fame will come to me if fame works within the doctrine of the Universe’s desires for me. Other than my Visa and my desire to make a comfortable living at what I do, fame, in and of itself, is kind of irrelevant.
Three months ago I was on the phone with my immigration lawyers talking to them about the possibilities for my future as a resident of the United States of America and I realized that my priorities have shifted. I am at a crossroad. Either I meet the man of my dreams and marry him and practice making beautiful babies with him every day (favorite possibility), move back to Canada to be close to my family or become so super famous that the American government wants to give me a green card. Applying for an artist Visa (unless already famous) is one of the most trying things I’ve ever done, one I would rather not repeat; the trial not worth the effort. I would totally go for my green card and might actually decide to do so but think that if I was accepted I would move out of New York. I don’t want to continue to live in lonely New York single. If I am to be single, I will with family, mainly my nephew, because he truly is the most majestic creature that was ever created. Canada does offer free in vitro fertilization for its citizens so that is always an option. But the idea of moving to a smaller place where I can see the stars at night, smell the trees in the summer, swim in the water, grow a garden, live off the grid (or at least almost), have a real studio outside of my living quarters, and spend time with my mother and my nephew, sounds incredibly inviting right about now.
In the end I want to continue to be progressively happy. I want to be able to share my sorrows with the people that I love and trust in my life, without fear of being judged. I want to be financially stable to where I can live in a comfortable space, work in a comfortable space and not worry about paying my rent. I want to be surrounded by the people that I love and meet more people to love. I want to work on solo projects and collaborative projects that make a difference in the world. I want to affect change whether through part time yoga teaching, part time painting teaching, and full time creating. As long as I’m here, alive, living on Earth I want to make a difference, directly or indirectly. I want to feel love as much as possible for as long as possible because I believe it is the only reason we exist in the first place. I want to learn about the stars in the sky and contemplate whether the sky is real or an optical illusion. I want to read fantasy novels for children. I want to do yoga every day and learn how to do a full length handstand/arm balance sequence. I want to be a superb baker. I want to paint beautiful paintings that get more beautiful with time. I want to make movies that are visually captivating. I want to meditate and feel Gods presence. I want to share my thoughts, ideas and philosophies with people who are not only ready to listen but also ready to dialogue. I want to work with others who have integrity and drive and passion. I want to make love with one special man that I choose to make love with who chooses to make love with me.
I have been working toward these goals throughout my life, but I am coming to a point where I’m going to have to make a decision. Turn left or right? I’m still not 100% sure about where I’m going, but I am 100% sure why I’m going there. That’s something, right?!