We went to NJ for the holiday (July 4th) weekend. It was fun, particularly the NY portion.
I lived in NYC for a few years, and found that it was the onliest place I have ever truly felt at home. And if you've seen me report otherwise, I was lying.
No drama here, #justsayin... race is real, the mental anguish of it is too. Being asked every day for much of my life what/who I am, to being asked a host of other ridiculous questions, none of which question my ethnicity, was like a gritty 3 year vacation. One filled with shiny and/or loose teeth, dark and/or light skin, men and/or women (yes) just wanting to flirt, to have conversation, to... well, spit ridiculous game.
And I miss that.
Sometimes, when I look around... ok, dramatic moment, I actually don't look around anymore. I just hold my head up as if I am, I position my eyes (sometimes) as if I'm making eye contact, I walk around "being" like it's ok being the only brown/beige/black person in many of my meetings, in the commuter rail ride to my suburban paradise, in the local public library, in my saditty hangouts.
It's decently lonely; a privileged lonesomeness I've earned with my degrees, and my telephonic prefix. Our polished ruralistic main street. Our emotional and physical distance from here to there.
I guess I could go to the hood. And do. I do so once a week, barely fitting in. Barely able to retrace the streets I walked once I lived with my grandmother, mostly because I don't remember them; I was, now, recalling in my adulthood, not allowed to wander/wonder. I know those streets from her 17th story vantage point.
I damn near didn't go outside for 8 years, ages 9-17.
And sometimes, even now, I still ain't outside. Still am not wandering or wondering. Still haven't gotten back to the steady gait I had in a City that does in fact sleep, and where brother/sisterhood does in fact cat-call, and in a place where sometimes you like that shit.
And I guess I'm admitting it now: I miss that shit. That place. That grit.
From my lonely-ish piece of privilege.