I <3 U

From FDR

To: You

It’s been awhile since we’ve spoken. I’ve felt your icy stares sting to my bone and your stone cold silence has nearly stopped my heart. Still you haven’t left.


You’re beautiful, you know.

I know I’ve been complaining that you don’t clean up enough, but you’re a beauty uncommon. You’ve put all your flaws on display. Highlight them, almost. Your refusal to hide your most authentic self was something perhaps I was too immature to handle or appreciate.

I know you know about them.

The others.

The road trips. The flights (always round-trip, to perpetuate the lies I told myself. Intentions of returning being the best version of myself with only the best version of you). Weekend long infatuations with 2 and 3 syllable names that offered me only surface-level sparkle and charm. Hiding their worst selves behind tracks, carefully-kept and defined borders; sharp angles. Municipalities, highways, industrial districts….city outskirts I avoided while getting lost upskirts.

But you always welcomed me home with open arms. Carried me home in the early morning hours when tequila and self loathing hand drowned my wit, taken my charm. You brought nourishment straight to my front door when I was ill, or sick of trying.

You never stopped your effort in uplifting or inspiring me with your sweet songs, your endless hunger for more. Do you ever stop? Do you ever shut your doors?

I don’t deserve you… you’ve not always given me your best, no, you loved me enough to give me every part of you.

You’re great with kids. You’ve always doted on them but never once babied them. You instill a work ethic immediately, a hard work ethic, as chubby legs shuffle and tumble over themselves earnestly to keep apace with your “Manhattan -walk” and grey scale mazes.

I should’ve told you just how beautiful you are every day. Lying in the warmth of a lazy sun and a half hearted embrace in another weekend “escape” in a nameless, vast, empty… in a place in which no one walks or understands the importance of strong coffee and a good bagel.. I was comforted only temporarily. What was I “escaping” exactly? I longed for you every time. You were always the image in my mind and the name on my tongue. It was your pulse to which my heart kept time.

I was trying to outrun my self disappointment. Out run my apathy, my failures… I blamed you. I shut you out for nights spent glued to Netflix. Self medicating with a cocktail of Xanax and weed, until I pass out in a pile of takeout crumbs, wrapped in the warmth of an oversized gut and whiskey breath.

I love you. I put everything on the line to be with you and then resented you because you were always there. But you never changed. You weren’t the problem. You didn’t let me down. You were always available, always checking in.

You never slept.

There is nothing out there that I can’t find here… with you. You’re who I want to come home to every night. I promise to appreciate you every day. To choose to spend my time in gratitude for all you have and are doing, instead of longing for what isn’t. You’ve loved every part of me without question or hesitation. It’s long overdue that I started doing the same. Being what you deserve.

I love you, New York.

There is a charm to New Yorkers complaining about everything. We choose the grit, the grime, the smells, the attitude. We trade in space, privacy, time, convenience, silence to live in The Greatest City in the World. She isn’t the prettiest, she is tattered and torn, waif like, old, a heavy smoker and a filthy mouth. But she is also sophisticated, worldly, progressive and empathetic. She scolds hard but loves harder. She is stern and impatient. She’s dirty, somewhat unkept. She has expensive taste, draping herself in the finest cloth, yet her ears are turning green from her corner-store “gold” hoops. She refuses to hide her crazy. She will tear you apart and uplift you in a single breath. She is racist, elitist; free loving and a humanitarian. She is colorblind and categorical.  She makes me feel incredibly loved and completely worthless. She adores me and neglects me.

A pulsating contradiction.

My city bonds me with the millions living in the concrete embrace as we fight to keep moving, even if it’s just”putzing” around in the shadows of 30-story manifested dreams.

New Yorkers: my brothers and sisters.

To know her is to know survival. To love her is to loathe her… but no one else can make you feel so alive.

Shakiera Sarai

October 9, 2016 at 12:15pm

I love this city. I love all of this city. She carries the weight of a large expectations, the American Dream, the ambitious, the dreamers….

But beneath her cape, she covers the poor, the hungry, the outcast, the struggling, the barely surviving.

I’m watching a documentary on Ed Koch right now. It is important to understand the history of this city. Every side of it. Every side of our celebrated and unsung history, and the history we smear with shame. To love her, is to love every part of her; her plump lips, her shapely hips, to the cellulite on her thighs and the bags beneath her eyes.

… To understand her, is to understand a survivor. A warrior. A hero.