I was feeling really down yesterday. You know those days when you feel like life just sucks? You feel pathetic, like you can't do a damn thing right and there's no sense in trying anymore? Well, that was me. I've been feeling like that for days now and despite using every bit of brain power I have to will myself out of this cloud, nothing has worked.
Until I jumped on the E train to head downtown.
By this point I think it's obvious that I have a love hate relationship with this city. I will always feel at home when I'm here. Everything is so familiar. But it feels lonely and cold to me. I crave new scenery, a place with a whole new vibe. I'm going to get it in a few days when I move to Virginia Beach.
I was standing up, leaning on the doors, slouching I'm sure. Pathetic disposition in every sense. Tears welling up in my eyes and head hanging low. A posse of 3 dirty kids strutted on to the train from the next car.
I'm used to this shit - people begging for money. Most of the time they piss me off. Asking me for stuff I don't have when I know they're taking their booty and counting it in their penthouse apartments on the UWS. These people rake it in. I could go on and on about the scams I've seen after riding the same trains every single day for years.
Once there was a dude I saw every day. He was dressed in some crumby clothing and had a cup that he shook and a song that he sang. I can still hear his strange voice.. I'd write the words here for you to read but couldn't ever understand what the hell he was saying. Whatever it was, it wasn't English. Anyway, one day I saw him with a stick that blind people use. Either he had gone blind overnight, or he was faking the funk. Something tells me it was the latter.
So, I get pissed when people ask me for money. The only people I don't mind are the ones who tell it like it is. "I'm homeless, my life sucks. Please give me some change so I can buy myself some booze and I can drink my pain away". Yeah, I get that.
Back to yesterday. The 3 kids come on the train and pump up their music. Strong beat comin' from an old school boom box. Some people clap, most people don't even look up (perfect example of jaded New Yorkers - people who I've grow to resent, partly because I'm one of them). They start busting moves like pros. Breakin', poppin', spinnin', flippin'. One kid picks up another kid, throws him into the air, he bounces off the ceiling of the train, does a flip in mid air and lands on his feet. WHOA. Dude, it was hot. The next thing they did was grab each others ankles so that they were in some kind of loose ball and they rolled down the subway car, through people and bars and seats. I don't even know how the fuck they did it.
I was impressed. Impressed enough that I gave them $5. They worked for it. They didn't just ask me for some money, they put on a show. And it was a good one.
So for a moment I was feeling a little better. I was looking around and seeing the city for all the things I love about it - the life, the energy, the variety.
But it can only last so long when there's a rain cloud hovering overhead.
I sat down and slouched in my seat. I felt like I was suffocating. Tears welling up in my eyes and even though I've had enough of crying in pubic I just couldn't help it. I closed them and took some deep breaths. I heard someone else saying something like "if you have a dollar...". I opened my eyes. I saw a man in a wheelchair with no legs. He had American Flags on the back of his chair and a kind face. I wanted to give him some money but I didn't have any more bills smaller than $100.
When people like that pass me I usually keep my eyes busy on something else. This time, I looked him right in the eyes. He stopped and quietly said, "You're beautiful".
Usually I hate when men say things like that to me. I feel like they're trying to be slick or see what they can get. But this guy, I knew he wasn't saying it because he thought he would get laid, or I'd fall in love or anything like that. He just meant it and wanted to be kind. He had nothing to gain and that touched my heart.
I can't explain the way it made me feel but I smiled sincerely and said "Thank You". He started to roll past me, stopped, rolled back and said "Thank You, your smile is worth more than all the money people can give me."
I imagine people overlook someone like him a lot. I wonder what it feels like to be one of those "invisible people". It must be lonely and sad. But still, somehow, this man was smiling. His strength and grace were beautiful.
It put things in perspective for me. Things in life aren't always easy. Sometimes they get really fucking hard. Sometimes things happen that all you can stand to do is cry and put one foot in front of the other to go through the motions of your day. But can you imagine what it would be like for someone smiling at you to be a big deal? I can't, and I'm thankful for that.
Every once in awhile I encounter situations and people like that who remind me how wonderful my life is and how much harder it can be. I'm blessed. I have passion in my life. I love what I do, I've had great opportunities given to me, found interesting, exciting people to spend time with. I have a wonderful, kind, loving Mother. I have the greatest gift I could ever dream of - My Brother Ethan Boo. Nothing, No Person, No amount of stuff or anything could bring me the pure joy and love and happiness that he does.
Sometimes I look at him and I think "Thank God". Thank God he exists. This little thing , this little, wonderful thing has had the power to change my life. To pull me out of a severe depression that meds couldn't even fix. The power to make me smile, on the inside, not just the outside just by thinking about him and just knowing that he exists. He's shown me what true, unconditional love is. He's shown me that I'm capable of feeling it when I was sure I didn't even have a heart. He's incredible. He makes me want to be a better person, the best woman I can be. I want to make him proud and set a good example for him. He's the best thing that has ever come into my life and I'm grateful for him.
But still, sometimes we all need things to remind us of what we have. Because when life get tough, it's easy to lose sight of the good.
What brings you back to reality when things go wrong in your life and you're feeling like shit? What are your reminders to not take things for granted and to look at the glass half full???