Man, do I have a lot of stuff. I didn't realize just how much until I started getting ready for a dinner date with a friend. I wanted to look "extra good" so I dug deep into the archives. With my outfit chosen, I went for accessories. I opened a cabinet that contained jewelry I haven't worn in years and when I say years I mean 10+. There were at least a dozen bracelets, maybe more; necklaces hung next to several ring boxes. Who needs all of these things? How did I manage to acquire all of this stuff? This isn't who I am. "Who are you then?", you ask. I asked myself the same question.
Let me start by saying, I'm a girl from Brooklyn. Not this new "gentrified" Brooklyn either. Real Brooklyn. Where you hung out on your stoop and turned the fire pumps on in the summer because there was no such thing as central air in your house. The Brooklyn where you could walk down the street and see your friend's tags on the sides of buildings and on delivery trucks. You went into "the city" to get your clothes from Unique's or Urban Outfitters before it became shitty and went into every mall in the country. You knew that 52 Park wasn't a location and were well aware of the right and wrong side of Nostrand Avenue. I miss that Brooklyn. I miss that girl.
I live "on the Island" now. I drive the same car as everyone else in my neighborhood, send my son to the same tutors, wear the same jewelry. Having had a period in my life when I was really broke, I thought money would make life better. In many ways it does, I guess. Not better, but easier. Not worrying about getting evicted is nice. Having food in the refrigerator is definitely a bonus. But I wasn't happier. If anything, a few years before my diagnosis were probably the most miserable in my life. When you try to fill a void with stuff, you'll find that the void is a bottomless pit that will never be satisfied. I had to find out what my life was missing. I prayed for an answer. I received one a little over a year ago.
Being diagnosed with cancer saved me; it pulled me out of my self inflicted misery. Strange, huh? But true. It stopped me in my tracks and made me look at my life. Suddenly that BMW was just a vehicle to get me to chemo. The jewelry, just another thing to take off for my CT scans. They meant nothing to me. Family, friends, time...that's what it is all about. I feel a deep satisfaction with my life now; a peace I never had before. And while I still get excited by a gorgeous pair of shoes, these things no longer define me. I am a girl from Brooklyn and always will be.