Life is a series of wars; sometimes the battle is with the outside world, other times it comes from within. Regardless of whom we are at war with, in the end, we come out with scars. Some of those scars are deeply rooted, others are painful and some can even be beautiful. Whether our scars are physical or metaphorical, we must learn how to present our scars to the world. While the journey to do this act isn’t always a pleasant one; in the end, we do it for ourselves so that we don’t repeat the same mistake over and over again.
One of my scars is that I never fully put my potential as a dancer to use when I first moved to the city. I got distracted very early on by a long term relationship and put my ambition on hold for the sake of the relationship. Life has many regrets, some big and others small and this one falls on a bigger scale for me. So, last Monday, I decided it was time to see if I even still had any moves left in me. I registered for a workshop that was being held at the Broadway Dance Center near my apartment. The workshop would be working with one of Madonna’s trainers/choreographers. I knew that I’d probably be one of the oldest in the class and was terrified that I would be left in the dust once the workshop began.
As I walked into the studio, my scar began to open and with that opening, I felt a wave of nervousness and part of me wanted to quit and run to my apartment. I decided to push myself and stay for the class. At the same time as my nerves had begun to get the best of me, I looked around at the dance mirror, the bar, the other dancer’s stretching and I forced myself to stay and follow through with what I started.
An hour and a half later, the class was over with and I had been accepted to attend the workshop. From now until July, I will be involved in a dance workshop and my scars of failure were going from deeply rooted to something potentially beautiful.
On Wednesday, I managed to factor in some time with some of my old coworkers from my previous agency. They are young straight guys that are just starting out in the work field and also in the dating field, so it’s always fun to hear their stories of how they handle their work/life balance. Of course, they always take me to the classiest of places (enter sarcasm). Last Wednesday, they took me to a bar called, Turtle Bay, whose claim to fame is chicken wings (which I don’t eat) and cheap beers (which I occasionally partake in). One thing we all participated in was doing shots of Patron and after my third one, I had no idea what was going on and what was even being said. I told the guys I needed to get home and they hailed me a cab and I believe they carried on with the rest of their evening.
The weather in New York had continued to be a royal pain in the ass. When the city woke up on Thursday morning, we were greeted with yet another snow storm. That day, while at work, my date for that evening, sent a text message confirming that we were still on for the evening. We had to reschedule our second date a few times now due to weather conditions. He lives in Astoria and he had just moved there from the city about a month ago and wanted me to come out and see where he lived. He and I had our first date about three weeks ago and it was a great first date, which was why I agreed to a second.
One of my flaws or scars, depending on how you look at it; is being a hopeless romantic. I’ve traveled near and far, experienced the good and the bad when it comes to relationships and the one thing that has always remained constant is that search for that “great love.” I would say that my first great love would be with the city but even she can be a bitch from time to time. So, I took my scars, my snow boots, gloves and hat and agreed to the second date that had me traveling to Astoria to this little Italian restaurant called Portalia.
I arrived to the restaurant just a few minutes before my date arrived. The snow was still coming down and so, we both were a mess but after our first glass of wine; we began our date. Over appetizers and red wine, we updated each other on work, his move to Astoria and how nice it was to actually see each other again. In dating, it’s always hard to keep up the momentum of getting to know someone in the beginning when life can often get in the way. So, at times during this second date, it felt like we were on our first. Asking the same questions we did on our first. When we got the bill, I was shocked at the total, it was only fifty dollars total. If dinner was always that cheap in Astoria, maybe I should visit more often.
My date suggested that we go to the only gay bar he knew in the area called, Icon. I had never heard of this bar before but I figured since I was in Astoria, I might as well see all that it had to offer. We walked into the bar and there were a total of four people. Three patrons and the bartender, it was something I wasn’t used to but I chalked up the lack of patrons due to the weather. When we sat ourselves at the bar, my date looked at me and asked, “Can you buy me a dirty martini? I don’t have any money on me.” This is a 39 year old man, who asked me out for a second date and convinced me to come to Queens. I told him that I would get this round and so I ordered his dirty martini and I stuck with vodka and cranberry juice.
Our drinks arrived and my date took one sip and then I began talking. My date was fixated on the TV screens that was playing a Beyonce video rather than listen to what I was saying. I got him to focus on me for a few more seconds before I realized that my date had actually fallen asleep on me! His eyes were closed; he was resting his head on his hand and was completely asleep. I was livid! First, I have to buy this grown man a drink. Second, he has now fallen asleep on me. So, I clapped my hands together loud enough to startle him. He woke up and began apologizing profusely and blamed how tired he was from work. I explained to him that I was also tired, that I had taken the time to come and see him in Queens and that the least he could do was pay attention until the date ended. I grabbed my coat, my gloves, my hat and took my beautiful scars and left him at the bar and did my best dramatic exit but in the snow storm it was kind of hard to do.
When I got off the R train, there was a message from him, again apologizing for his behavior and I told him that it was alright but don’t think that I’d be seeing him again. Not necessarily because he fell asleep (although that didn’t help his case) but that I needed to trust my instincts and my instincts told me that he wants to see what else is out there, especially now that he is in a new neighborhood.
It was Friday and there were a few things to celebrate. One of my best friends’ birthday was the day before and the other thing was that my agency made it official and hired me full-time. So, we all met at Danny Meyer’s first ever bar to open in the city, PorchLight. I don’t know how we got a table seeing how packed it was. It was an attractive crowd; the bar had only opened that week and was getting rave reviews. Everyone was pouring inside the country styled bar. All my friends were in excellent spirits and we stayed for several hours. Afterwards, a few of us went back to my friend’s apartment before calling it a night at a reasonable hour.
I woke up on Saturday feeling great. I ran a ton of errands and even took another dance class to practice, all before getting ready and meeting my friend, Feathers, at Penn Station. We were meeting at the train station to go to Bayside, Queens. Yes. I was in Queens again. We were going to attend our dearest friends’ 40th birthday party she was having. A quick fifteen minute ride on the train that was accompanied by Feathers, his husband and three Fireball shots and we all were feeling warm inside.
We arrived at a restaurant called, Donovan’s and there we were greeted with free booze from 8-11. Well, of course, we jumped right on that offer and I began drinking cosmopolitans on the rocks. After the birthday party was over with, we then went onto a bar across the street where we thought it was a great idea to do Fireball shots along with beer chasers. Finally, after about an hour or two, I heard this couple was catching an Uber car near my apartment and I asked if I could join them. I knew my time was up with the drinking and I had no clue how I was going to get home. I left Feathers and his husband there dancing and I got in the waiting car. In the car ride home, I couldn’t talk; I was so drunk and felt like I might even get sick. We got into the city and once we hit an avenue that was close to my apartment, I asked if the car could be stopped so I could get out. The couple that rode with me asked if I was ok. I told him that I was but I knew I was going to get sick. I got out of the car once it was stopped and threw up right on Broadway and 55th Street. I took a few steps toward my apartment and got sick again. Then as I stood on the corner of 8th Avenue and 56th Street, I got a smell of someone eating McDonald’s and got sick again. I know I looked like a complete mess but I was glad that all that nasty booze had left my body. I got home, took a hot shower and got into bed. It was worth celebrating my friends’ life but no more shots for this one.
Yesterday was what felt like the first day of spring in the city. It was a high temperature of 45 degrees and I refused to stay inside. I left my apartment by noon and didn’t return for five hours. I walked the city, shopped, hit the gym and then got ready to meet a friend for wine over by his apartment. We met at, Ardesia, had a bottle and updated each other on our lives. After that, we both went home and I was in bed at a descent hour.
Our scars don’t define who we are; rather, they represent what we’ve endured. It’s a reminder that we are tough, were resilient and that we should take pride in our scars, our flaws and turn them into something beautiful.
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