Sunday, August 09, 2009

Keeping Quiet

The babies are still sleeping. I am on the computer checking "the news" - Facebook, Yahoo, my blog links.... real world news stuff gets me down in the morning. I just read MKD's most recent post. It got me thinking. We recently had a very heated meeting with someone who told us they had been essentially putting up with all our talk about Brooklyn and our former life in New York. They let us know they "didn't care that (we) lived in Brooklyn", reminding us that to them we were just from High Point and Tallahassee. Even as I write this, my chest feels tight. I hate High Point. The only thing worth visiting in that town is my family and a few close friends. For me it is filled with bitter memories and people lurking within their daily lives that I would be happy to never see again. Living in Brooklyn was like the ultimate fresh start. It was nice to feel so at home in a place and to be excited when you ran into someone you knew. It was tough moving to Raleigh. I spent my college years nearby and I have less than thrilling memories from that experience as well. What that person said was extremely hurtful. Their words plunged me back into my social dungeon. Suddenly my face burned when I made reference to a restaurant or museum or experience that took place in ... Brooklyn ... or ... New York City ... I had felt comfortable to speak openly about our life there and now I felt a pang of regret every time the words left my mouth. I found myself apologizing for mentioning things that happened there. Started saying "In our last place..." or "Where we used to live...". It felt like the wind had been taken right out of my sails. I was humiliated, wondering if I had really behaved in a "I'm better/cooler than you" manner. If I had it was completely unintentional. Had people been rolling their eyes behind my back? I had been so homesick for Brooklyn and it felt so nice to be able to speak openly about life there. I turned inward and had to force myself to be social. I thought a great deal about these things while we were in Florida, relieved to know I wouldn't need to watch my words. When we returned to Raleigh, it was with a renewed sense of self. I was actually excited to be within the city limits. As unpleasant as it was, maybe this person's comments helped me learn to embrace the here and now and be more intentional about leaving the past in the past. I will always talk about my life prior to becoming a mother. Those experiences shaped the person I am. Still, Raleigh feels more like home every day. 

7 comments:

Ellen said...

Ok, fine, but don't you dare let anyone stop you from telling stories about New York. I love to tell D.C. stories, and I'm not going to stop because someone might possibly feel threatened because they've never lived in a big city. But I have noticed that not that many people are interested, so that is keeping me from telling them anyway. Most people are more interested in life as its happening now, I guess. But we can get together and have a "city night" where we do nothing but talk about our big cities and their amazingness... =)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I was in Brooklyn and Manhattan with you. I know of your love and fasination with the big apple. I have 2 good neighbors that were raised there and they too still talk about it. I love to hear their stories just like I love to hear your joy of living there. Share that time with friends and be glad. Forgive those who never had the chance.
I had a nice chat with David. I enjoyed a great Red-hat Tea and Auction for Hospice. I bid on a red hat,purse, blouse and scarf for $15.00 and got it. Fun day. Love, G-grandma

Nicole said...

Sarah, that is unfortunate that you have been feeling badly about talking of your life in Brooklyn. You absolutely loved it there. I hope eventually your friends there can accept that this is apart of who you are. Living in a city is exciting and things happen all the time, lots of people, lots of things to see. Of course you have SO many things to share about your life. Rents in Brooklyn are really low right now. We'd be the first to welcome the Shinglers back! Miss you girl.

Tracy said...

New York was AMAZING, and we all got to dream and live it through you and Stephen..that person definitely has issues. As your life goes on and grows and changes it will always containt a bit of "High Point, Raleigh, New York and so on.." That's what makes you one of the most WONDERFUL people I know. Ok, I'm getting riled up.. ha ha! DON'T mess with my family ha ha! Love you girl, Kisses for my babies and big hugs to you and Bud row!

Wendy said...

Appropriate that I should read this today, because I woke up with NYC on my mind and heart, and that huge desire to be able to move back again, someday. For me, I feel that I speak of NY so much that I figure people must be tired of hearing about it! I try to reel myself in to appeal to people who, like this person you know, might not care that I ever lived there. But it's hard, because NY was such a huge part of my life... just like Brooklyn was for you & Stephen. You know something? I hate Cary. Not a big fan of Wake County in general, and certainly not of my hometown. Since I left Queens five years ago, I've been pining to return, and the doors just haven't opened. I go through seasons when I regret ever leaving there, in spite of how I've seen God move since my NC return in 2004. Sigh; I don't feel like I'm really making sense here, other than to say that, as always in regards to NYC, I certainly understand. And if you ever want to get together and chat about all things NY over some coffee or something, girl, I'm all yours. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat with my love for Huanuco, the Quechua people and tender times that have marked my life. I too feel the need to dial back when expressing in public, so not to go long or step on toes. I think the key is context and who you share life with. I've learned the quick 3-minute response, the 30-minute response and for those special friends who truly connect > sharing openly for hours on end. Go long girl! Luv ya - Larry

Ann said...

At the age of (almost) 60, I've learned that a person's story doesn't begin on the day that I meet them. I want to hear, & actually DEPEND upon hearing, their complete stories. I know that I haven't met you, but I'd love to hear about Brooklyn-- especially since I haven't been there.