Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: The Girl Next Door is Black, on the Move

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4 min read

You’d think after all the times I’ve moved as a kid and an adult, that it’d get easier, less stressful, but noooooo. As usual, life has other plans, and laughs at yours.

Life: “Mwah haha. I spit on your plans! I will do as I see fit. Ya dig?”

In case you missed the announcement on Facebook, I officially moved to New York! You may (or may not) remember that I mentioned in San Francisco, I Think I’m Over You that I desperately wanted to leave the city, but I didn’t reveal where I intended to move. So now you know.

Why New York? I am originally from here, some of my close family lives here (whereas I had zero family in California), it’s probably my favorite city in the world, and it’s mostly cheaper than San Francisco, which is bananas.

Map of Northeast US with a pushpin on the state of New York

The past couple of months post-move have been alternately frustrating, depressing, and surprising. Due to all the roadblocks, a string of “bad luck,” and random happenings, I questioned my decision to move here before I had all the factors in place that I felt I needed to make it work.

Brief lowlights of my time in New York:

  • My beloved cat – who has been in my life for 14 years – has kidney issues (along with stress related to the move) and I had to drop a grip of much-needed funds to take him to the vet. Some may question spending a lot of money on a cat’s health, but he’s important to my mental health, and other than his kidney issues – which are mostly treatable – he’s a happy kitty. The positive from this is that I discovered a wonderful vet in the City with great feline-bedside manner, and a calming way with their owners.
  • A job I thought I was a shoo-in for ended up not working out due to a sudden hiring freeze (they were prepping my offer letter!), and without a job it’s difficult to rent an apartment since New York requires you have proof of income that’s at least FORTY times the monthly rent. That’s right FORTY TIMES!
  • I’ve moved around a lot, staying in various Airbnbs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens – one place where there was a gas leak while I was sleeping, and I am lucky we didn’t get poisoned. At another place I found a used cupcake pan with crusted old bread in it sitting in the oven. Disgusting!
    • A kind and generous friend also offered me his place to stay for about a month while he traveled, since my circumstances left me feeling displaced, and on edge. It’s exhausting bouncing from place to place – not just for me, but also the two kitties who have no idea what’s going on except that the home they’ve known for over three years suddenly disappeared.’
    • On the bright side, as a result of all this apartment-hopping, I have gotten a chance to get to know different neighborhoods, which will help me decide where I want to look for apartments since I’m more informed. Luckily, my  latest Airbnb host offered me the option to sublet her place, so I have somewhere stable to stay until I’m ready  to search for an apartment of my own. Phew!
  • One of my grandmother’s who I am very close to (not the one who lives in New York) had two strokes and she’s been in rehab for a couple of months now. It distressed me that I couldn’t afford to fly to visit her and offer my support.

I fell into one of the deepest depressions I’ve experienced in years. Crying all the time, feeling hopeless, like no one wanted to hire me, feeling dumb for moving, and generally possessing an overall pessimistic attitude, whereas I’m usually fairly optimistic and hopeful (some would say idealistic). Quite frankly I didn’t see how my life would get better. It seemed as though I was destined for failure.

Just when you think you’re done learning certain lessons, another situation arises to reinforce what you previously learned, or to hammer it home since perhaps you didn’t learn enough the first time. Like the universe is saying, “Girl, listen! Trying to help you! Gotdammit you’re hard-headed.”

These recent experiences have left me humbled (and beaten down). However, through these trials, I’ve relearned the importance of acceptance. Once I stopped fighting my circumstances (I believe this is what some Christians refer to when they say “Jesus take the wheel”) and dwelling on how things “should be,” my attitude slowly improved and now I can see rays of hope again.

 

The past few weeks things have started to look up:

  • I got a new day job. Hooray for not being a broke bitch anymore.
  • Two of my three sisters moved here also within the past couple of months, which is like a dream come true for me!
  • My mom lives here (not my “bonus mom” Country Life, City Wifetm). I’m fortunate enough to have two moms and a dad. Three parents to worry about me and say things like: “It’s cold outside, put on a jacket!” I’m almost 40 years, but parents don’t stop being parents. I also have a whole mess of aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousin’s kids whom I haven’t met, or haven’t seen since my childhood days.
  • Coffee made the way you like it. No fixing it up yourself.
  • All the New York pizza I could ever want, anytime I want it.
  • Breakfast sandwiches at delis which cost less than a meal at McDonald’s
  • I was able to give a tourist directions last week. I felt proud. I’m slowly becoming a New Yorker again!
  • New York so far is wonderful. I’ve met so many friendly and chatty people. The neighborhood enclaves actually feel like neighborhoods. It’s refreshing after living in a city where it felt like people were scared to make conversation with strangers. Just the other day I had a random conversation about music with a guy working at a juice store.
  • The independently owned pet stores almost all seem to have cats that live there, and it’s endearing to see a grown, burly man who owns the store, speak lovingly about his love of his kitties. (Side note: the bougie cat food I buy cost almost 50% less than the San Francisco prices.)
  • After months of no other promising job prospects, suddenly last month I found myself busy with interviews at  several different companies. When it rains, it pours as the saying goes.

Throughout this rough period, my family and several friends have comforted me, and offered me support; a generous and caring friend lent me funds (which embarrassed me to need) so I didn’t have to worry as much about how to pay my bills, eat, or afford a place to stay. I’m extremely grateful for all of them; they helped me feel loved, and less alone.

Now that I can think more clearly without the distortion of depressive thoughts, I better understand that things happen for a reason, and I may not know why as soon as I’d like, but with patience and time, the path usually reveals itself. I look forward to seeing what’s next and hope I’m headed toward a more positive trajectory than a tough one, but either way I am better equipped to handle it.

Quote: Good things are coming down the road, just don't stop walking.

Photo cr: BK, flickr.com

Have you ever been through a period of life so tough you couldn’t see your way out of it? How did you handle it?

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21 Comments
  • sunphant
    April 7, 2017

    We all go through tough times. I think it’s God just testing our strength and guiding us to better things. Its never easy and I’m glad you had the support of family and friends to help you in your time of need. Glad to hear things are on the up and up and pray it continues to go that way.

  • DeAne
    October 28, 2016

    Keisha, so sorry you had a tough time. I am happy that things are starting to fall into place. Please know I am always here for you if you need anything.
    xoxo your little bro, DeAne

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      December 6, 2016

      DeAne – so happy to see your comment! Really touched me. I appreciate your sweet comment. I hope you are well! <3

  • Ruby
    July 20, 2016

    New York! Its a great city, not an easy one- although having grown up there it has my heart. Thanks for sharing and wish you a exciting journey ahead. Also, I appreciate your previous posting on SF and meeting new people. I thought it was just me…until I read what you wrote and now don’t feel quite so alone in the situation I am in …thank you.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      August 1, 2016

      NYC has my heart too. Looking back, I think I’ve wanted to return to New York since we left when I was a kid.

      San Francisco is something else. I am awed by the fact that at my new job in NY, my co-workers have welcomed me, they talk to and joke around with me, as well as include me in things. This is in stark contrast to how things went down at the three jobs I had in SF where I felt alone and ignored. Even the people I encounter in my temporary neighborhood are friendly.

      If I may offer some unsolicited advice, in San Francisco you can make friends, but you may have to be the more proactive one. It’s easy for people to say “let’s hang out,” and then nothing happens. I had the most success when I followed up and invited people out myself. Good luck to you!

  • Farhaneh
    July 7, 2016

    I am sorry about the tough days you are having to go through, and I am happy that things are looking up. You’re going to conquer it before you know it. I just wanted to say don’t stop writing. Your courage and strength give me some strength and hope. Between everything happening here and everything happening around the world, I am terrified for what the future holds. So your words really inspire me and help keep me grounded.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      July 12, 2016

      Thank you for this lovely comment, Farhaneh. Hearing that my writing means something to you makes what I do worth it. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re talking to yourself. So, I want you to know how much your message means to me. I appreciate you! <3

  • K. Elizabeth @ YUMMommy
    June 21, 2016

    Jesus be a fence. I think we’ve all been through at least one really rough patch in our lifetimes. Sorry to hear about the rough start to your move back to New York, especially your Grandma’s strokes and you not being able to visit her. Hopefully, you will soon. Also, hopefully one of the interviews you went on will result in a job offer. And thank heavens for friends who are there for us in a pinch even if we’re sometimes embarrassed by the circumstances. That’s what true friends are for. Wishing you nothing but clear skies and happiness from this point forward. Welcome back!

  • hbksloss
    June 17, 2016

    Wondered what happened to you and where you ended up! Sorry it was a rough landing. Moves are funny. I have had quite a few in my life and spent more years than I care to living in places that I didn’t like. It is not fun or pleasant. In fact it is a new side of ugly. I felt confused and lost my confidence in being able to enjoy life. So good for you for making changes, even in the face of all sorts of obstacle. It sounds like you developed new kinds of resiliency!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 21, 2016

      Thanks, Heidi. It’s nice to know some people noticed my absence; I’m not writing into a void, yay!

      Loss of confidence and the impact on your daily life is the worst. I’m glad I made a change too, though sometimes I wish I could be one of those people who is content with their life the way it is! I’ve never quite known complacence.

      I’ve got resilience times 10 at this point. Lol

  • JoulesDellinger
    June 17, 2016

    Congrats on the move and I’m so sorry the beginning of it was so difficult with setbacks. It sounds like things are going better now and I’m hoping for oodles of sunshine and happiness to rain down on you! xoxo

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 21, 2016

      Thank you, Jules! I’m gonna keep that phrase in mind “oodles of sunshine and happiness raining down,” I like that! 🙂

  • Brit
    June 17, 2016

    glad you’re back! your blogs energize and inspire me… you’re such a brave, honest woman… and always have been. xo

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 17, 2016

      Wow, Brit; thank you! I’m so flattered. If I can make people feel something when they read my writing, I’ve done my job. So thanks for sharing that. 🙂

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate
    June 16, 2016

    Welcome back! Sorry for all the initial setbacks, but sounds like you got this! Cheers!

  • Sirius Bizinus
    June 16, 2016

    I’m happy you’re posting again! Your presence was missed!

    Depression can get pretty brutal. Try to remember to be gentle with yourself, and I hope you get through it okay. It’s good that you have three parents to worry about you, as that’s three people you know will be in your support network.

    Congrats on the new day job, and I hope your cat is doing better after the visit to the vet!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 16, 2016

      Thank you! That is very kind of you to say and I appreciate it. Cat’s doing better, and I’m super grateful that I have my parents around for love and support! Hope you are well! I’ve been out of the blogging world for a bit, so I haven’t been reading much.

  • Cassandra M. Cousineau
    June 16, 2016

    Thank you for sharing, Keisha. I was worried that you were going through exactly what you described. Day, by day. Piece by piece it comes together. Blessings, my friend. Take good care.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      June 16, 2016

      Thanks so much, Cassandra! I appreciate your supportive words here and on Facebook; I am touched. I hope things are going well for you!

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