Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 0 - Transitions

This last week has been a very strange one. I'm once again sitting on my friend Helen's couch, having just come back from crashing with another friend of mine after a night of karaoke in the East Village. The XX's song "Intro" and its bootleg remix is on loop. Good stuff. Feels appropriate right now.

I saw a lot of friends I hadn't seen in a while last night. "So tell me about Haiti." "How was Haiti?" "If you had to sum up Haiti in a word, what would it be?" "You survived! Welcome home! Gotta feel good to be back."

Home. Nope. Not here anyway. Not anymore. And I can't possibly sum up Haiti in a word. I can't sum it up in a sentence. I can't in a paragraph. I could write a ten thousand word blog entry and I still wouldn't get it. You just can't. It is part of me. I don't even understand it. I can just feel it. My friend and old coworker Deena perhaps nailed it more than anyone else. "You're not the same person you were before." No, I'm not. I mean, I feel like me, I can still go through the same motions as me, but there's something deeper in there, something rooted. That is new. It's as if I've found my center. I have a place to plant my feet in myself. I don't have to play the old game of "Be what you think they want you to be." anymore. I'll just be. Me.

And in good time too. This seems to be the period for me to deal with all of those parts of my life that are needing something akin to closure. I'm saying goodbye to the life I led before this - I'm not going back to it. New York City is not my home any more. I don't have a home any more, and I'm OK with that. I want my home to be in the projects I commit myself to, and the people I try to help. I don't know if that will work, but home seems much more there than here.

I also have to force myself to fall out of love with the girl I am still in love with. It's painful, but needed. Out of respect for her and our privacy I won't go into details, other than to say the timing wasn't right. Things could be different had I chosen to relocate to London, but I didn't, and I won't. I need to continue to try and become a man I respect that is doing something he deems to be worthwhile in the world. Loving her and treating her well makes me happier than anything, but I can't do that and chase my better self at the same time. London isn't where I'm going to find me. I know that. So does she. I don't know exactly where I'm going to find me, but it will be out in the broken places. Haiti showed me that. So, out of respect for her, and myself, I have to let my love for her go. It's too intense. It is disruptive in my life now, and I'd imagine probably in hers as well. I leave for London tomorrow on the flight she booked for me four months ago with hope of closure. I'll see her. And when I do, I hope I can be a man I respect, and a man who earns her respect. Being in love with her has been a defining aspect of my identity since I met her five months ago, even despite not having seen her since September 25th. It isn't going to be easy to let that go, but I know when I do I'll create space. I wanted a blank slate in doing this work. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself in an image I respected. Letting her go will help me get closer to that place, because I know she needs me to, and because I need me to, and because I want to do right by the both of us. I can never erase her impact on me, and I never want to. She reminded me that I am a man who is happiest when he is in love with someone and making them happy. She showed me that I'm ready to abandon the idea of going it alone, should I find that rare someone who wants to walk a similar path, and wants to walk it with me. In some way, she helped me become more of the man I want to be. I'll forever be thankful for that, and for her. Mesi belle, por todo que tu me has dado. Te quiero. Anpil.

I bought a new camera. It takes pretty pictures.


  1. Hi Quinn,
    thanks for this post. I tried to write something similar for this week too and I've gotten a lot of empathetic feedback from people who have had similar experiences. It's strange to come 'home', and even stranger to try and fit who you are now back into the mold that you'd previously cast for yourself. I'm proud of you, and I know you'll do great in this next phase of your life. I'm excited to follow your writing through it all, and seriously hoping our paths will cross in the future. No matter who we are by then, you'll still be Quinn, and I'll probably still be telling you to shut up.
    Love Madison

  2. If you don't tell me to shut up I'd be downright offended.

    Keep on keepin' on girl. I'm rather fond of tracking your adventures as well :)