I would like to talk about a completely different subject here than usual, seeing as it is my journal in which to figure out my own shit and there are plenty of other things I have yet to figure out other than the male figure and how to possess it body mind and soul.

But for now, respite.

I am a white girl living in da hud. Whenever I say this out loud in public, my white friends shush me. Whether it is because I am using the colloquial syllable ‘da’ instead of ‘th’; or they are embarrassed for what they perceive as my blatant racism; or because they don’t really believe that there is a ‘hood’ that I could possibly live in (and maybe still be alive?); or some other reason?

I know not why.

I live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, everyone. And I love it.

I live in between two subway stops – the local (closer) or the express (just a bit more walking). My NYC bank, my new health clinic (takes my insurance and is clean and bright with friendly, hardworking staff), and the honest-to-Pete grocery store are within a block from my house. My rent is controlled (aka with 2 roommates, we all 3 pay less than $700 each) and now that we have cats we no longer receive mousely visitors. There is a splendid YMCA a 15 min walk away from my front door.

Many people have concerns about Bed-Stuy’s safety, ‘especially’ for someone like me.
I have to say that this far in my travels (mostly to and from the subway at odd hours, but some odd late night neighborhood walking as well, such as to the gym), I have felt fine. Funnily enough, I have had more than one white, male, gentleman caller refuse to visit at banal times bc they were anxious about having to leave and whether it would be safe, no matter how much I try to assuage those fears by explaining that the patch of where I am at least in Bed-Stuy, parents walk their children with them at 11 PM. It’s fine.
Now, I don’t go looking for places to put myself where I don’t belong. I do get spoken to a lot on the street, but while I do believe it is more than the average woman of a darker complexion, I do believe that there is just an immense amount of greeting, propositioning (mostly jovially), hassling, or otherwise engaging verbally with young, attractive women. There is more dialogue between strangers than in many neighborhoods in this city, and I enjoy that about it. I live in an area with quite a few hair/nail salons and Jamaican jerk chicken restaurants, so perhaps that can give someone else a more articulate insight as to ‘the culture.’

Is this post racist? I hope not.

Because I love my neighborhood and I want to revere it. Not so that every young college graduate bohemian yuppie (oh, is that what I am?) can move here and gentrify it with the ambivalence of hipsterhood? No thank you. No, instead to give light to a neighborhood and region that is frequently shit on. Because it is great.

Sometimes I walk down the street and ruminate on the reasons no one has ever given me real trouble (*knock on wood, o’course*). Some of my thoughts have included:
– They assert that in order to ‘be brave enough to live here looking like I do’ I must be poor as shit, ‘and have no other choice but to.’
– They aren’t looking for trouble, so what good am I?
– They are looking for trouble, so what good am I?
– They are regular people looking to live their lives with joy, success, and connection?

I am feeling very thankful so far for my shift crew members last night who kicked ass on our high profile holiday installation, the MTA officials who are running trains at 6:07 AM (for example) on Thanksgiving morning, the NJTransit and SEPTA officials who are running trains this morning along the northeast corridor, my parental unit who will be picking me up at an early hour in Philadelphia, and to my family that I will be seeing (spontaneously!! impulsively! self-sacrificingly!!!) and not seeing (sister, I’m looking at you in the Holy Land, amidst hatred, danger, and destruction).

I am thankful to those who keep me safe
and those that keep me warm
those that love my heart
especially more than the norm
I am thankful to a spirit greater than
what I even know it to be
I am thankful for all the things that are a part of me

I believe I just composed the lyrics to what will become my contribution to the songbook of the Quaker camps of my upbringing and early formation. And Creative Spirit, whatever and whoever and wherever you are, I thank you for that too. It is good to sometimes be able to release snippets of silken emotion that lend themselves to such easily weaving.

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