I feel a bit like Alice sometimes, and New York City might as well be Wonderland. There are quite a few Mad Hatters (just take a stroll through Penn Station after midnight); a good many rabbits always rushing to get to a very important date (especially down on Wall Street); the occasional Queen of Hearts, power-hungry and self-important but with deep-seated insecurities and always quick to shout, “Off with their heads!” at the first sign of trouble; a bevy of Cheshire Cats, hypnotic with their shining, dentist-whitened grins; dozens of Mad Tea Parties on any given night of the week (particularly in the Meatpacking District); and now and then a wise, hookah-smoking caterpillar, ready and willing to dispense sage advice (only $10 for a palm reading, $20 for tarot).
I jumped down the rabbit-hole of my own accord, chasing after that furry white creature wearing a waistcoat and carrying a watch. However I, unlike Alice, had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into. Even so, when I emerged from the long tunnel after drinking from the vial marked “DRINK ME” and finishing every last bite of the cake marked “EAT ME”, I was taken aback by the new world that surrounded me. To be clear, this is what usually happens when you enter a new life and embark upon a new adventure; it’s every bit what you expected, and at the same time, every bit what you hadn’t expected.
I’ve been creating a life in this fantastic, terrifying, beautiful, ugly, amazing, gluttonous, perfect, downright foolhardy city for almost two years. I have to admit I haven’t loved every minute of it (it can be hard to find your footing here sometimes), but it is the 100% honest-to-God truth that there is nowhere else I would rather be. My life here has taken so many twists and turns (and not always good ones) that I can no longer even see the point where I started. But it’s a blessing to be in a place where I can dream, be inspired, cross paths with the most incredible people, face fears head-on daily, fall down, get up, get lost, and keep going. And if I happen to wander onto a dead-end street, or while walking down Seventh Avenue realize I’m going the wrong way and have to coolly change direction and pretend I did it on purpose, well, that’s okay too.
It’s amazing what you open yourself up to when you follow your heart and boldly go in the direction of your dreams, your most lofty ambitions and desires. I’m learning that there is really nothing too difficult, nothing too impossible, nothing that can’t be done. (“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’ “) There are quite a few things in my life now that, two years ago, I would have believed to be impossible. There are so many exciting happenings in the world of Jessy Tomsko that I can’t wait to share in the coming weeks and months, believe you me (!), but for now to avoid speaking too soon, suffice it to say that “impossible” things don’t seem so impossible anymore. Patience, however, is key, and it’s a virtue I’m constantly nurturing and hope to one day actually possess. Happiness NOW is the most important thing, no matter what your life looks like, because without choosing to be happy now, we’ll never get anywhere and we’ll never be as joyful as our spirits intend to be.
So here I am, walking in Wonderland the best way I know how. If I shrink to only ten inches high, or grow taller than Robert Wadlow (just Google him), I’m still going to keep on walking this path. (” ‘-so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ added Alice as an explanation. ‘Oh you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat. ‘If you only walk long enough.’ “) We’re all walking some sort of path, but are we enjoying our journey? Are we noticing the greenery, the talking Dormouse, the painted red roses in the Queen’s croquet-ground? It’s more likely that we are too busy planning out where we’re headed next, what we’re doing later, choosing which reality we think is the best one for us, thinking we know exactly who we are and who we will be.
Am I the same person I was last year? Yesterday? An hour ago? “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
The rabbit-hole does indeed seem to go on forever.
Curiouser and curiouser.