Loretta, This Is The Utica I Know

Could not. Have said it. Better myself. Well done, well done. So glad someone was able to retaliate this in such a fitting way

The Urban Phoenix

Earlier today a friend turned me on to a blog referencing Utica, New York, an imperfect but rising city I have come to love and adore.  In this blog, the writer, now living in North Carolina, explains how Utica’s status as a refugee (and particularly a Muslim refugee) sanctuary is destroying the fabric of the city.

If you’re an urbanist that loves hard numbers (which I love as well), this one might not be for you.  If you’re someone who believes in the fighting spirit of our urban revivals through acceptance, diversity and understanding, then I urge you to read on.  My open letter to Loretta the blogger below is more personal and less informative than the content I typically post, though it addresses the very nature of how our perceptions of our cities often fail us.  I am an even-handed writer and always do my best to see…

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Utica, New York: A Day of Fun, A Story of Hope

The Urban Phoenix

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So often we think of vacations as far away places where we spend lots of money for 3-7 days of relaxation, activities and bliss.  Vacations are seen as things we reach for but experience so rarely, especially in today’s work world.

I’ve found a very different truth.  I’ve found that one can experience the benefits of a vacation without spending much money at all.  I’ve found that while it’s good to get out of your town for a bit, you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re getting away and having a good time.  And finally, I’ve found that in many cases, you can do this in one day.  Yep, that’s right… any given Saturday, you too can experience a cheap day away… one that will leave you feeling refreshed and feeling good about yourself before you dive back into the work week!

For example, did you know…

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New Beginnings, Old Ghosts

Let me set the scene for you.

You finally have what you’ve been looking for the last two years. You have amazing friends, and a place to live with them. It’s a BEAUTIFUL apartment for what it’s worth. Needs some cleaning and additions for more space to do things, but it’s perfect and just what you all need. You’re super excited to get back and start your life for real again. With real family. With real friends.

But then the nervousness sets in. The fear, the anxiety, and the worry. All of it comes flooding back over your head within the waters you’ve been treading for so long. Wave after wave just knocks over your head, threatening you to be pulled under. When all you’re trying to do is wade a little longer, keep your head up a little higher to breathe, and finally swim to shore on that island that has been far away from your sight for too long.

That’s where I am right now.

I’m heading back upstate on June 16th. I’m going on a very much needed and fun road trip with my boyfriend, cat, and two of my best friends (not the ones I’m living with currently). It’s going to be amazing, and once I get back home, I will have a new place to live, with old friends. It couldn’t be more perfect and yes, I am so over the moon excited. But I’m terrified. And this . . . this should be expected.

See, in the last two years I’ve been couch hopping. I’ve had problems with my past three room-mates, all of which were so fucking stupid I can’t wrap my head around it all still. None of which was by any means of my own fault. But they’re all going to tell you that differently. My name’s been splattered, stepped on, stretched out, and tacked all over town as this Monster. This person nobody can trust or be a room-mate with. And that scares me more than anything.

While I know that the people I currently am housed with would hopefully never drop kick me like the last three, I still have that stupid ass lingering fear. Because of what happened. And that’s really sad, if you think about it. Three wonderful friends I love and trust with all my heart who I know would never hurt me. Who I couldn’t even imagine having any major issues with. Who I couldn’t even begin to think that I would have to leave so suddenly for some dumbass reason. But old wounds don’t heal so fast. Old ghosts don’t leave you alone so soon. It was around this time last year that I had my most recently removed room-mate. It was the same exact scenario. It was the same song and dance.

I had nowhere to go. I had someone willing to take me in. They were looking for me while out of state. They found something. I came home. I moved in. And it was June-July 2016. It is all. Coming. Back. And it fucking terrifies me.

Like I said, I know it’s not the exact same. These people have been nothing but kind to me. They are a part of my family that I’ve built. They care about me. They love me. They know about my past situations (oh do they ever know and understand). But you have to realize. When it all comes flooding back so fast and so familiar, it’s hard NOT to panic. It’s hard NOT to feel scared. It’s all normal (I think), and it’s all something that I hope they understand, as well as my boyfriend. It’s  . . . it’s just so great and so scary all at the same time. I hate walking on eggshells around people, but I have before and I won’t surprise myself if I do it again for the first few weeks or month. And this, I also hope, they understand.

I have such a problem with asking people for things. For rides, for grocery pick ups, for money if I need it . . . because of past issues with my boyfriend’s parents, my own ex-relatives, my ex-roomies, and so on. It’s something that I’m working on, but every time I get flung back and don’t open my mouth, it seems to be the cause of problems. Then again, whenever I do open my mouth, it causes issues anyway. So I never know what’s right and what’s wrong. So I usually wait for people to come to ME. To ask ME if I need anything. Most times I say no, of course, but. Asking people for / to do things is terrifying to me. And I know where it comes from, of course. But for this, I will be doing my very best to just . . . speak. To voice when something is wrong. To voice when I need something. To voice a concern. To voice . . . anything I should. And hope that it doesn’t blow up like a ticking time bomb in my face all over again.

I’m excited. I can’t wait to be home. I can’t wait to HAVE A HOME finally after two years. But it’s scary. Moving alone is anxiety ridden and scary. But I’m stacking this on top of so many other things. And it’s hard. It really is.

So, yes. Here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to everything I could have hoped for and wanted. Here’s to a fresh start to a 50-50 year so far. Here’s to what I hope to be, a stable home for at least another year or two. Here’s to just everything I have wanted for the last two years and struggled for. It’s new beginnings with old ghosts.

I just hope I can keep those old ghosts away.