Where’s the Stoop?

One of the most common questions I got after posting “My Dear New York” a few weeks ago was whether I was planning to continue Her Lenox Stoop. Obviously, as most indicated, the title poses as issue now that I’m living in Atlanta, Georgia rather than my brownstone apartment on Lenox Avenue. My sister-in-law even jokingly suggested that I now have to change the name to “Her Atlanta Terrace”!

However, shockingly to some, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have to change a thing about this blog. I started it as an outlet to share my experiences and to think through some of the issues that plague this twenty-something and others like me. Her Lenox Stoop was birthed when I decided to take control of my life and to be completely vulnerable in the process. A time when I was standing at a fork in the road, deciding which way to go. The intent was to challenge what might be considered the “ideal” paths and choices of life and to instead think critically about the things that I really want and that are important to me.

Although I’ve passed the initial crossroad and made that choice of left vs. right (in other words, New York vs. Atlanta), every day I am challenged with new questions. Up or down? Circle or square? Black, white or grey? Questions that continue to require me to be vulnerable, open and honest with myself. So while this writer is no longer physically sitting on Her Lenox Stoop, she is very much still pondering the issues of being a young, black, female professional in this world.

So whether I am in Harlem, Atlanta, Santorini or Bali my heart and my mind will continue to be right there on Her Lenox Stoop, questioning it all…

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My Dear New York…

My Dear New York,

I came to you at the time in my life that was filled with utmost promise, and I walked into your open arms with expectation. You lured me in with your infectious energy, constant hustle and limitless possibility — now almost 7 years later I can honestly say that you’ve lived up to your name…

Our time together brought out sides of me that had been itching to be freed as well as sides that I hadn’t even known were there. You allowed me to experience people, places, foods, cultures and styles that ultimately gelled together to create my own unique sense of self. You absolutely made me realize that I’m one of one! You strengthened me by bringing me closer to God, helping me develop lifelong relationships, and pushing me out of my comfort zone. So there are no words I could say that would adequately express my gratitude.

I’m leaving you not because you’ve hurt me in any way, nor because I don’t think we work well together. I just have to follow my gut and my heart — both of which are pulling me to Atlanta. You were my own personal Mecca where I found a sense of self and laid the foundation for my life, my career and my family. But the black Mecca of the world is calling now. She’s calling me to take that foundation and expand it. To lay down roots and sprout branches that yield delicious fruits and span out to the horizon.

Because of you, New York, I now return to the arms of Atlanta, again with expectation, but this time the bar has been set and the challenge declared. The woman returning to the Peach State this time is a more autonomous, empowered, and fortified version of the girl who left all those years ago — and it’s all thanks to you.

You will always hold a very special place in my heart’s memory, and our years together have been forever inscribed on the scrolls of time. 

Love Always,

Marissa