moving

My Three Moms and a Dave

This month marks 18 years living in the Northeast, 13 of them in Brooklyn. Before that I spent 18 years in KY. And now, in the same month in which I crossed this personal threshold of an equal number of years here as there, I find myself packing up my apartment and moving back to Middle America because Dave and I can no longer afford the rent. 

Covid did the unthinkable: it shut down New York City’s entertainment and nightlife industry. Dave, like so many others, is out of work indefinitely. It’s a huge loss, not just of income but of a whole community. 

But get this – my sister, Kelly, bought the house next door to my sibling, Max, then invited us to spend the upcoming year in one big Covid family compound. Four adults (aka my three moms and a Dave), four kids, two dogs, and one cat, doing our best to make it through this pandemic, this curse/gift of remote school and virtual offices, this country’s blatant racism, this frightening election season, this even more frightening climate crisis, together.

When I first left for college in Boston, I never would have guessed that I would fall in love with the Northeast, that I would come to identify myself as a New Yorker, as a part of the city, the city a part of me. It is hard to leave; there is sadness to be felt. But I am also very excited. Covid has pushed me into a place I never would have imagined. It’s scary and beautiful and full of magic. I am so grateful to have landed like this.

Will we return to a life in Brooklyn? I hope so. But these days, who knows what the future will bring. I’m still setting goals and dreaming dreams, but I’m not committing myself to any of them. Truth is, we never knew – and will never know – what the future holds for us. We humans built a society and made plans that gave us a false sense of control, of power, of certainty. We trusted it would continue despite how shaky, broken, and inherently oppressive it all is. Covid has changed me. It has changed us all. I would never choose any of this, but now that it’s here, I want to be changed by it.

I might not know where I’ll be living, what I’ll be doing, or what our country will even look like in a year from now, but what I do know is that I will never stop trying to bring a little more peace, justice, and joy into this existence. Too many people, especially people of color and immigrants, are not landing like my family is. Instead they are being murdered by police. They are being beaten and thrown into cages by ICE. They are being told that their lives don’t matter as much as the walls of their neighbors’ houses. They are being harassed by landlords, forcing them to choose between paying for food or paying for rent. There is no going back. And why would we? Our country was founded upon genocide and built upon slavery. All of its systems are rooted in white supremacy and the exploitation of labor. Our entire world is burning, literally and metaphorically.

This is our opportunity to transform.

We the People: Meet Nozim

nozimName: Nozim Bakhriddinov
Age: 36
Lives in: Brooklyn, NY
Ethnicity: Uzbek
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Pear and Melon

I moved to NYC to realize my dreams of getting an education in art and of speaking English. Moving to New York was really very fast for me. I made a decision and approximately one month before leaving, I sent a letter to my old friend from college, Aziz, with some questions about life in NYC. He said, “I don’t know, but let’s do it together.” At that time he was living in Cincinnati and planning to change location, too. He arrived in New York about three weeks before me, and we agreed that he’d meet me at the airport and let me stay in his apartment for a few days. But when I got here, I was surprised to learn that I needed to fill out an address of where I was going to stay during my visit or I couldn’t enter the country (I came here with a tourist visa and then changed my status later). My cell phone had no internet connection and I didn’t know how to ask about addresses. The immigrations officer said that he couldn’t let me in until I filled it out, but he called a colleague over to help me. The officer was young and thin with kind eyes. He gave me his phone and finally, I was talking with my friend. Now here I am studying English, working as a pastry chef, and making my art in Brooklyn.

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