We’ve all seen the movies, heard the songs, and read the novels romanticizing the “greatest city in the world.” New York City is the Big Apple, the City, the Melting Pot where lives from all over converge to create a bustling metropolis of wonder, excitement and success. And aren’t those components what make the grand cliche of New York? Isn’t that why everyone has grown to revere this place? Well, it’s not for me and I’m willing to bet it isn’t for a lot of you too.
I want to be in New York because it is a city of brilliance. The city is bursting with inimitable musicians and engineers and journalists and politicians who defy all preconceived notions of what it means to be “intelligent.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re an Ivy or community college graduate or perhaps even sans degree, this city measures your brains by your brawn. If you have the drive, the passion, and the savvy, this city doesn’t tell you “no.”
I want to be in New York because it’s a hub. It’s a short LIRR ride from my home on the south shore of Nassau County. Seeing mom and dad is as simple as checking a train schedule. There are four airports within an hour from midtown. There are trains and buses and taxis in a constant state of flux. You’re never stuck here. One might say that knowing there is a way out of the city at any given moment makes it a melancholy and transitory sort of place. Another might say that it’s the most inviting sort of place because there’s also always a way back in. How full is your glass?
I want to be in New York because it’s what I want. I love this city for the reasons that are trite and naive and arrogant. I love being a regular at that restaurant on MacDougal and reading in a park while some stranger dances the merengue for money in front of me. I love bar-hopping in the East Village and spending half my paycheck at happy hour. I love going on terrible dates that end in tears and my friends pick up the pieces with a raucous night of karaoke. I love being able to have a job doing what I love, even though I’m struggling to pay off my student loans.
Being an overly typical twenty-something starting her life in New York is what I want. It doesn’t matter whether you’re of the crowd who thinks this life that I want is banal or guileless. It doesn’t matter if you’re of the crowd who thinks this life is splendid or admirable. The ineffability of the city of New York is the same as the ineffability of my love for New York. So, maybe why I want to be in New York is best said by a fellow New Yorker: “I don’t have any reasons. I left them all behind. I’m in a New York state of mind.”
This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.
Posted in Essays, Life, Travel
Tagged billy joel, cliches, LIRR, manhattan, new york, new york city, The Big Apple, travel, writing
“When I was a girl, my life was music that was always getting louder.
Everything moved me. A dog following a stranger. That made me feel so much. A calendar that showed the wrong month. I could have cried over it. I did. Where the smoke from a chimney ended. How an overturned bottle rested at the edge of a table. I spent my life learning to feel less. Every day I felt less. Is that growing old? Or is it something worse? You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.”
You ever look at yourself in the mirror and have one of those really introspective movie-esque moments? You know the ones I mean, where time stops and you’re suddenly no longer looking at your reflection – you’re looking at what you’ve become. Quickly, you realize you’re either really pleased with who you are at the moment or you’re utterly disgusted at your unrecognizable self. Of course there are in-between layers; layers comprised of complacency, apathy, and mild repulsion but regardless of the feeling and where it lies on the scale, that moment of self-realization is always enlightening.
Posted in Essays, Life, Writing
Tagged Annika Von Hausswolff, art, Attempting to Deal with Time and Space, cliches, creative writing, epiphanies, introspection, life, nonfiction, paintings, photography, self help, self love, writing
There are times when you read something, watch a show or listen to a song and none of the information that passes through your mind is relatable – you can’t find a modicum of your own woes in the words, so you beat on. Then, there are times when an act or a happening triggers those words and you remember what you read, watched, or heard and when you revisit it, you realize it’s completely applicable to your current situation and that someone has perfectly formulated what your chaotic thoughts can’t do on their own. This is one of those times.
“A couple hundred years ago Benjamin Franklin shared with the world the secret of his success. Never leave that ’til tomorrow, which you can do today. This is the man who discovered electricity; you’d think we’d pay more attention to what he had to say. I don’t know why we put things off, but if I had to guess it has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of rejection. Sometimes the fear if just of making a decision. Because… What if you’re wrong? What if you make a mistake you can’t undo? Whatever it is we’re afraid of, one thing holds true: That by the time the pain of not doing the thing gets worse than the fear of doing it, it can feel like we’re carrying around a giant tumor. ‘The early bird catches the worm. ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ ‘He who hesitates is lost.’ We can’t pretend we haven’t been told. We’ve all heard the proverbs, heard the philosophers, heard our grandparents warning us about wasted time; heard the damn poets urging us to seize the day. Still, sometimes we have to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep today’s possibility under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore. Until we finally understand for ourselves what Benjamin Franklin meant. That knowing is better than wondering. That waking is better than sleeping. And that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of not trying.”
I’ve made so many mistakes and I’ve wasted so much time but at the end of the day, I know I tried really hard. And it’s not the trying so hard on my part that hurts the most – it’s that you didn’t even want to try.
Posted in Life, Writing
Tagged cliches, crushes, failed crushes, failed relationships, friendships, grey's anatomy, life, meredith grey, rejection, relationships