New York, My First Love.
Maybe it was that I fell in love with Sex & the City the same year I discovered my deep and unforgiving love of shoes. Or maybe it was that the South had finally gotten to me and I couldn’t take the sight of one more Baptist Church or uttering of the word “y’all”. But perhaps it was something greater than shoes or sex (yes, such things exist…so I’ve heard). If I really think about it, which this post has led me to do, I now know that it was the hatred for every place I’ve ever lived that led me to search for my heart’s home. My constant need for something more, this is what led me to blindly jump on December 15th, 2008.
14 hours earlier I had graduated from college, something that I had decided to accomplish years ago but the weeks prior to completion, I couldn’t think of one good reason why I chose the path I did. The school I decided on, the career I studied - none of it made sense anymore and none of those factors lined up with the life I had built. Not the one I’d formed as part of a couple but the life I built for me, by me. Throwing away “our needs, his wants, their fears” and replacing them with I, me and mine. I learned that there are few windows in life where one is allowed to be selfish, this was mine - I had to take it.
With $421 in my bank account, a temporary promise of a couch to sleep on for 3 weeks and 2 interviews lined up - I proudly walked across that graduation stage and nervously sped down an airport runway - clutching onto the belief the my wants, my goals, my fears, me would be enough. But as the plane glided over the landscape that I would never view again, my heart questioned my head.. “Would I be enough to make it in New York City?”
Well I stand (let’s be honest, I’m laying on a sofa) before you today to tell you for certain that Yes. I was, I am enough. Though this city didn’t welcome me with open arms necessarily, I poked and prodded and pleaded until it accepted me as one if its own. These streets have led me to more open doors than I’ve ever experienced and before you look at my life and think “so lucky” don’t. Hold your tongue because it isn’t luck. It is a combination of stupidity, fearlessness and a stubbornness that would impress a mule. Every single day, in your own lives you are faced with opportunity - though often times it is dressed in terrifying clothing. The difference between success and failure is not luck, it is making a decision to take a chance.
Yes, maybe you’ll fall flat on your face. There is always that chance you’ll get your heart broken. It is likely that your niche will be very hard if not impossible to find. But trust me - the one thing I know for certain is that the only thing more disappointing than failure or heartache is the truth staring back at you through that once open door, reminding you that once you had the chance to change your life but you were too scared to even try.
I went from Harlem to Central Park, the East Village to Chinatown. I kissed my fair share of frogs before finding an incredibly good looking frog that occasionally turns into a prince. For thousands of hours I stuffed envelopes and juggled cups of morning coffee without so much as a thank you before I found not only my voice but the strength to let it be heard. Right now my life is blessed with love, with future, with passion. It hasn’t always been that way and I’d be crazy to believe it will always stay that way. One thing I know for sure is that the minute I realize there is more out there, you better believe I’m gonna go searching for it - door after door after door.