No matter which way you slice it, moving is rough. That is, unless you have enough money to have people do it all the hard parts for you, but even still – during the process you’ll likely have to live in chaos and without your normal conveniences.
People keep asking me how my move is going and if I’m excited yet to be in Portland, Oregon in just a few days. The short answer, “It sucks and no, I’m not excited.”
I think my blunt reply throws folks off guard…until I explain…
The move is going how moves go, it’s harsh and exhausting. The packing and hauling away seems endless. I know that once I arrive to my new home, I will have to deal with unpacking too.
What I didn’t expect from this grueling process was to feel so incredibly grateful in what seemed like the oddest moments.
Battered, Bruised and Bitten
During the last few weeks I’ve sustained more bodily injuries than I can count.
Bruises, a stubbed toe and ripped nail, burned finger, calluses, scratches…and then I looked at my face in the mirror….
Pimples, and more wrinkles and grey hair than were there just a month before. So no, I am not excited about any of that!
Oh and the list above doesn’t include when I lost the full use of my right (dominant) hand because my cat bit me hard one day while we were playing and packing.
It was over Labor Day weekend and instead of being outside enjoying the sun, I was in the throws of filling boxes (and cat wrestling) and subsequently ended up in urgent care, taking antibiotics, and waiting for over a week to get the full use of my hand back. That was just days before fashion week started, so the timing was horrendous.
I also was trying to keep up on articles for Green Beauty Team and respond to emails that we’re flooding in about my move.
Since I could barely use my right hand, I actually had ask for help – something I rarely do.
I was also forced to be more gentle and take things a bit slower – um, something I really rarely do and is the main reason why I’m moving away from NYC.
Friends rearranged their days and came over to do the most basic tasks like vacuuming, washing my makeup brushes, and bringing pre-prepared food. Who showed up and who didn’t was very interesting.
Because I was able to sit with an ice pack on my arm and take massive amounts of natural anti-inflammatories (big fan of T-Relief and Boiron Arnica btw), I was able to heal in time to do makeup on seven shows in seven days during New York Fashion Week!
My heart swelled with love and gratitude that I allowed myself to ask for help and receive it fully.
Living Without An Arm
I began to think, while struggling with normal activities, of the two different friends I have who are missing an arm.
One is a singer/song writer who’s makeup and hair I’ve done for years, and I think the world of. She was born without an arm. I Am Human, a deeply moving ballad, is my most favorite song of hers.
The other friend is a comedian living in LA. When she lost her arm in a car accident, I was at the hospital by her side (a long story for another time) and have watched her piece her life back together since. Her resilience astounds me.
It may sound obvious or trite, but I looked at my life right then and thought, I need to stop feeling at all sorry for myself — and a wave of gratitude and respect for my friends swam through my body in a new way.
The Illusion of Living Simply
For the last few days I’ve had just a couple of small bags with me, some travel size beauty products, one set of dishware and silverware and 2 pots for cooking everything. I’ve been sleeping on a small air mattress under a picnic blanket. Haha!
It’s not so bad.
Thankfully I’ve traveled a lot in my life, plus I’m mildly obsessed with the show Tiny Home Nation.
On one hand I love the genius that goes into small space living, and on the other hand I blurt out “you are all going to kill each other in 2 months!” at the TV when a family of four decides to live in under 400 square feet.
As much as I’d like to say that I am simple and could live simply, the habit of convenience and “my stuff” latched on to my life in ways I stopped noticing as the years went by.
Purging It Feels So Good…oh, wait…I still need that!
Does anyone remember the classic movie The Jerk starring Steve Martin who walks around his house saying he doesn’t need anything, yet keeps gathering his stuff in his arms? That’s how I felt all month.
The other day I realized that I’d packed my water filter and I didn’t have purified water to drink – and I had to walk two blocks to the store to get some. Gosh, life is hard. (I’m joking of course).
This has me thinking (again) about how pampered I am in my 1st world life, and remembered to feel thankful for that I have clean water easily available.
Letting Go Is Practicing Sustainability
When I first moved into this NYC apartment, I specifically remember thinking that everything I brought in here would one day have to be taken out. I knew this was not my forever home.
I was pretty careful about what I brought in, but over the years I amassed a collection of makeup that’s staggering. So the majority of my time spent packing and sorting turned out to be dealing with the boxes of cosmetics I have been squirreling away.
I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I guess I’ll read it when I’m done with my unpacking. 😉
As I write this, I still have to get through the final parts of leaving the old apartment and taking what didn’t sell at my two moving sales to charity. Honestly, I am so happy that a new life and new homes will be given to the items I’ve forgotten about or no longer need.
That feels so amazing and it’s sustainable!
Tears, Knowingness and Teasing
I have cried four times during this process. Three times from sheer exhaustion and one while putting my cat on a plane to go with a friend to Oregon early. Getting Gingie’s harness on and persuading him to go into the carrier, then transporting him through the subway and trains to JFK, well that’s a whole other story!
People have been (mildly) mad at me for leaving and some are even admitting their jealously. Regardless of them, I know I’m doing the right thing.
…but then, NYC has begun to tease me. Like with last minute job offers (while my makeup kit is on a truck).
The weather has been gorgeous these last fews days in NYC. Birds are singing and it’s been in the upper 70s.
Just as I went out to get my filtered water last night, I saw a bright, shiny new market had opened up on my street corner loaded with organic food that I used to have to do a long trip from my perch on the top of Manhattan island on the subway to buy.
I felt pinched by the Universe.
This neighborhood is changing. They are renting my apartment for $350 more a month than what I’m paying, and yet again, the artists are getting squeezed out.
It’s Not Goodbye
There are moments when I’m sad to go, but I’ll be back to see NYC soon. Technology keeps us connected in ways our grandparents could never have dreamed.
So this isn’t goodbye to NYC or anyone here, it’s “see you on the flip side!”
All in all, I’m grateful for the love, the support, the lessons, the clearing out and making way for a new adventure and the life that unfolds from the boldness of leaving the familiar. That is exciting. Not the moving stuff to another city, but the moving of my Self into another place.
I haven’t actually cried yet over leaving my friends here in NYC – even at my farewell party. I showed up in full sequins, makeup to cover the tired wrinkles and pimples, and put on a smile.
I came here a rock star and that’s how I will leave!