I consider myself a pretty self-sufficient person. I own two houses. I help run a company. I financially & emotionally support a parent. Basically, for the most part, I like to think that I pretty much have my shit together. And then, like that, I find myself in a situation where, hell, I SO DO NOT. And it’s humbling and enlightening and disconcerting and life-altering. And it’s a good thing.
When Hurricane Sandy hit, I listened to & heeded the warnings from the Mayor’s Office. We stocked up on food…three times. We prepped the house, prepped our lives, getting ready for the power to inevitably go out and us to likely be stranded with minimal transportation. I’m a producer; I contingency planned the contingency plan. If anything, we were over-prepared.
The storm hit on Monday night; my building is located in Union Square, and my specific apartment faces the back, blocked by three large buildings so the sound of the wind and the impact of the rain was quite minimal. In fact, we finally just shut one of our windows this morning, and that was because it was getting chilly in the house. The power went out on Monday night around 9pm; we laid on the couch, in the candlelight resulting from every Yankee Candle Christmas present my Mom has given me for the last 5 years, feeling lucky and pretty calm. We weathered the storm relatively unscathed.
Yet then there was the aftermath. Walking my dog on Tuesday morning felt post-apocalyptic. People wandering around, looking at the damage; was pretty minimal on my street. Power was out everywhere, and I was getting sporadic internet on my phone via Verizon; my friend’s iPhone on AT&T was completely out. But, we were in good spirits; [he] cooked an incredible breakfast (gas was still working) and headed out to explore the city. We hunkered down at a hotel, ran into friends, and came home last night to another home-cooked meal, probably a bit stir-crazy but again, safe. Others had it much, much worse. I was grateful.
But still, I woke up this morning in a total, complete state of anxiety. Without internet, I hadn’t been able to get basically any work done yesterday, and as the person leading communications for a company that RUNS communications for other businesses, this was immensely stressful. There is no time frame on when the power will return. I was slated to speak at a conference tomorrow, and leave for the West Coast on Sunday. Basically, I woke up to a feeling of helplessness, fear, anxiety and no visibility when this situation would change. I was completely & totally outside of my comfort zone. I was - and am - scared.
And that feeling felt pathetic. Weak. I should be able to get through this - we’re safe! We’re doing what we can do! We have food and water and ok, no power and no showers but again, it could be much worse. But I couldn’t shake it. The thought of sleeping by myself at my apartment tonight in the pitch dark - Yankee Candles be damned - petrified me. I had to ask for help. Which isn’t something I do particularly well.
Yet I did. And my friend Jessey who’s been staying with me this entire week is a serious saint; he’s been amazing, taking care of someone who doesn’t particularly let people take care of her. But I recognized that I needed it, and I’m immensely grateful for him. I then needed a place to work…my friend Rick came through immediately with a coworking space to get some work done. My friend Chrysi offered a place to shower (behold! The power of hot water and freshly-washed hair!). There are countless people that have helped here; this is the true spirit of New Yorkers, offering warmth and space and water and power and more than all of that, comfort, when everything is physically and emotionally uncomfortable.
So I’m saying Thank You. I’m saying it publicly on this blog, saying it on Twitter using the hashtag #ThankYou, and showing my gratitude for friends (and some strangers) who are helping us all get through this challenging time where our very basic creature comforts are missing. I’m safe, I’m ok, but I’m getting by with a LOT of help from my friends.