Put on your New York Face

I’ve been traveling since you last heard from me which I now realize involves three phases: pre-traveling, traveling, post-traveling. So, if I’m gone a week, the trip really takes three weeks if you add in preparing and de-briefing. This insight doesn’t mean I won’t travel again, it just means I need to be honest about how much time a trip really takes. One thing I love about traveling is that it brings out the anthropologist in me. I’m able to see my new surroundings in a way that the natives can’t and, when I return, I have a clearer vision of that place I call “home.”

In New York, I noticed the “New York Face.” Just about everyone I saw on those crowded streets wore one. It’s part scowl, part determined glare, part acceptance that life is hard so just suck it up.

At first I found the “New York Face” repellent. I wanted to look away from it. It isn’t a pretty face. But then, I thought, a New York Face is sometimes just what you need to accept the hard work, the waiting, the rejection and show up at the page or at the easel and work. The New York Face is not a complaining face. It accepts that the lines are long, the people pushy. The Face doesn’t let the noise, the garbage, the dog doo somebody stepped in and trailed up the sidewalk deter it.

If the line is long, you wait. If the shit is on the sidewalk, you do your best to avoid it and if you step in it, so be it. You keep going, you don’t turn back.

So how can you cultivate your ownNew York Face even if you don’t live there?

This morning I put on my New York Face and got to my writing while I was still in my nightgown. I didn’t empty the dishwasher like I know my husband likes me to do. Because if I took care of the dishes, my writing wouldn’t have gotten done. My New York Face said: screw the dishes, you write, right now.

This weekend, put on Your New York Face: remember it’s more determined than angry. It sets its gaze on the goal and it doesn’t care if it doesn’t look pretty. It does what needs to be done whether it’s unpleasant, boring, ugly or shitty.

Put on your New York Face and get to work on the art, on the proposal, on cleaning your desk, on taking care of the business you’ve been avoiding. Let your New York Face lead the way..