Dear Long Island, I Miss You

Dear Long Island, I Miss You

To the Gatsby-inspired, Billy Joel referenced, "long" island I hold close to my heart.

Dear Long Island,

It seems like yesterday that I sat upon your shores, breathing in the mix of fresh air and salt water. The summer wind which blew my hair away from my shoulders, the echoing sounds of Florida Georgia Line's summer concert at Jones Beach still resonates throughout my ears. What seems like forever ago has only been a little over a month that I lived a part from you. And now, hundreds of miles away, I can still say that you and your crispy bagels remain close to my heart.

This past month can be characterized in three words: awkwardness, uncertainty, and ice-breakers. I have sat in a countless number of circles introducing myself and consequently stating my hometown. Never have I been more proud to say, "Long Island, New York." Whenever I state my hometown, I suddenly feel a yearning for your egg, bacon, and cheese sandwiches, superior pizza, and the countless Billy Joel references.

Speaking of your countless legends, I feel pure joy whenever a Billy Joel song plays on campus. I explain to my friends, who are from various parts of the country, that I know exactly where the Italian restaurant from "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" used to be. I show the pictures of the exact "Glass House" which appears on his album that I have driven by countless times. I tell stories of relatives casually seeing Billy Joel walking into a supermarket or inside his own motorcycle shop. I feel pride when I explain that Lea Michele and Natalie Portman began their contributions in local Long Island high schools that are less than twenty minutes from my house.

But most of all, my heart misses the docks of Port Washington and Great Neck, the areas which inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"--one of the most famous literary pieces of American history. The shores of "West Egg" and "East Egg" are more than literary locations, they are home. They are the waters I kayak in the heat of July and August. They are the docks I sit upon with my friends, eating ice cream and watching the sunset, driving with the top down.

I miss the train rides into "the city that never sleeps", the ever-promising lights of New York City. Walking throughout Penn Station, I miss being an eyewitness of the diversity of people, cultures, and food. I miss the underrated talent which lines the sidewalks, the tiniest corners of Penn Station, and subway cars. I still hear the cacophony of car horns, overhead advertisements, and various conversations of passing New Yorkers.

In the past month, I have had to explain "The New York Way"; the avoidance of making eye contact with anyone or anything besides the ground, of starting conversation with any stranger, and dodging the questionable Disney, Marvel, or Nickelodeon "characters" which encompass the entirety of Times Square and heckle tourists for tips. I miss the comfort of viewing the Empire State Building, Central Park, Madison Square Garden, and the "Big Tree" at Rockefeller Center as a part of my normal surroundings, and not tourist attractions.

Long Island, it has been too long. But I know that no matter the distance or duration which I am away from you, you will hold me in a loving embrace and will say, "Welcome home."

Cover Image Credit: Juliana Consenza

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I Drifted But Now I'm Reaching Out

I'm not going to isolate myself anymore.

I’ve noticed that since I started college, I dropped a lot of habits. Some were habits that I really needed to get rid of, such as picking at my nails and snacking way too much. Other habits, though, I really shouldn’t have dropped. Maybe I just got too busy or lazy, or maybe it was just something for the high school me. Yeah, I’ve changed a lot in college but I’m going to try and get back into the good habits I had.

College gave me a lot of time. Suddenly I had all this free time and I realized that it was entirely up to me what I wanted to do with it. The freedom is really great, I won’t deny that, but what I noticed was that I found myself alone a lot.

Maybe it was my intention that some days I just wanted some alone time, but more often than not I found myself realizing that I hadn’t seen or talked to friends in a while. I realized I wasn’t hanging out with people anymore. I was alone.

Now, I know the importance of myself reaching out. Before I always worried that there was a reason I wasn’t seeing or talking to people as often, I mean, there was school so maybe everyone was just busy.

But I feared that I was missing out on so much was because I was unwanted in those moments. After gaining confidence, I've decided won’t isolate myself anymore. I’m an outgoing person, but I won’t be selectively outgoing anymore.

In high school, I could barely go two classrooms down without seeing someone and stopping to talk to them, and I want college to be the same way. It’s really impossible to know everyone at your college but reaching out isn’t that hard for me to do, I’ve just been lazy. I haven’t put in as much effort as I should be putting in and I know that if I want to keep some of the amazing friendships that I currently have, I need to not be distant.

It’s easy to drift away when emotions and events start piling up. Sometimes, the only thing I want to do is just lay in bed and not think about my to-do lists and schedules and problems that I have.

Once I start doing that though, I get sucked in and it becomes so hard to get the energy to get up and move. I don’t want that to be the case anymore. I don’t want to hide away with the “what ifs” and speculation as to why I didn’t go or get invited. From now on, I’m just going to go, and then see what happens.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My Best Friends, Thank You

I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

I have gone through many friends in the past few years, some that lasted a while some that only lasted a few months, but you know exactly when you found your perfect person, soulmate, best friend, the one that will never get away. It’s the friends that stick with you through the toughest times and stay.

The ones you call at 3:00 a.m. because you got into a fight with your boyfriend and can’t sleep and they stay on the phone until your ready to sleep. The ones that you can count on to pick you up because you need a ride no matter where you are.

Dear Best Friends,

I just wanted to thank you for being you and for letting me be me. Thank you for letting me feel so much like myself when I’m with you. Thank you for sharing in my happiest moments, and for listening to my saddest stories and giving compassion and empathy from wherever you are. Thank you for being the only person I ever want to confide in. Thank you for being the most beautiful person, inside and out.

Thank you for making the world a better place, just by being in it. Thank you for defining selfless, always putting others before yourself, you are going to change the world just as much as you have changed mine. Thank you for all the memories we made at Disney this year on our senior trip. Thank you for practically being my second Mom.

Thank you for setting the bar so high and making it impossible to find another friend as good as you. Thank you for making these past years we have been friends feel like forever and for giving me enough memories to last a lifetime, but not ending there.

Thank you for making me hurt when I miss you, but for taking the hurt away when I see you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the absolute privilege of being able to call you my best friend, thank you for being my person. Thank you for giving me these reasons, and a million more, to be thankful for.

I sometimes find myself looking back on my life and realizing how huge of a part you have played in keeping me steady when the rest of my world has been falling apart. How you have known what to say and do in the moments when I have felt all control slipping through my fingers.

Even if it’s just dropping everything and taking me for coffee, shopping and listening to me try to untangle the mess I call my life. Thank you for those days when the rest of the world is against me, for making me feel less alone. For believing every silly dream which enters my head and being excited for me about things which no one else understands. Thank you for always validating my emotions, for taking my side, for telling me when I’m wrong, for being honest.

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