Brooklyn

Remember the Romance

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IMG_1808People often ask why I moved to New York, and I can’t really give a solid answer.

I had zero interest in New York City. Like, none…until I did.

When I read my rejection letter for a creative writing program at Boise State University in a Starbucks parking lot, the tears came fast and hard. I tried to blink them away to read and re-read the email. The moment embodied hopelessness. This hopelesness was not about getting rejected by Boise State, and I know that now. But grad school was my way out, my hope, it was my chance to move on. I had just suffered a breakup that still can wreck me if I let it. A breakup that still makes my voice crack, and a breakup that has made me push every guy away for the last three years. Not getting into grad school felt like I lost an opportunity to move forward. Because I didn’t feel like I had any other options. I felt physical pain in my chest and I didn’t know what to do.

I sat there in my car crying tears for so many reasons. And then I had a feeling or a whisper that floated through my thoughts for the first time in my life. Move to New York. Writers move to New York.

The very thought, scared me. My heart raced. And I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had never even visited New York. Had never wanted to. And now, this overwhelming feeling washed over me that I had to move there.IMG_4204

So I did. I listened to the whisper. And I’m here.

And I’m so lonely.

And it’s so hard.

It’s big, sweaty, smelly, vicious, loud, uncomfortable, exhausting, and it makes me afraid.

I have been here going on two years now, and I still don’t feel like I fit here. My clothes aren’t expensive, my school wasn’t fancy, my heart is too sensitive. I feel that most days are me against everyone else. I have never cried more in my whole life combined before I moved here. I cried openly and hard on the street corner recently because the line was so long at Trader Joe’s and I just needed a few things. That day, the City won. Lately, the City wins a lot.

But there is never a time that I don’t pause in complete awe when I’m on the Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge. I look Downtown at the sky scrapers and the Statue of Liberty, and in those moments I can’t believe I live here. And I feel alive. And I remember the romance that is New York. The grocery store lines fade, and the sweat dripping down my back stills, and the smell of bagels baking, and cobble stone streets give me the nutrients to get through another day.

It’s hard to remember the dream in the tough moments, It’s hard to remember my excitement when I boarded the plane with a one way ticket. It’s so hard to go home alone every night. This place has shown me hard work, thick skin, and has broken me down pretty hard. I’m thankful for all of the things it continues to teach me. One day I won’t live here anymore, and I’m sure my heart will ache for it. I can imagine an emptiness after leaving a place like this. Because I will remember the romance and the tumultuous relationship that I had with this City.

Until the day comes, I’m hoping for a few days that the City lets me win.

Kindergarten Artist

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My mother kept school memoir books for each one of us. I remember being so jealous of how thick my older brother and sister’s books were in my elementary years. The book has a couple of pages dedicated for each grade, and a pocket to store report cards, certificates and a few school assignments. There was a space for your yearly school picture as well. Next to your picture you were able to (write in the book!) and answer a few prompted questions and sign your name, at the time it feels exciting to merely write inside of a book. When I look back through this book, you see the metamorphosis of your appearance, your handwriting, and the ever important line to fill in. “When I grow up, I want to be…”

hatchet-gary-paulsenIt just dawned on me, sitting here at my desk, I always wrote that I wanted to be an artist (and then after I got my childhood dog, it changed to a veterinarian for many years, to inevitably make Coco live forever). Remembering this fills me to the brim. I knew at age 5, that being an artist, a creative, was something that I had to do. I remember my first artist’s apron, and can smell the brand new box of oil pastels. My fingertips can still feel the raised wax and the feeling of smudging the vibrant colors across the paper. I cherished my first spiral bound sketch pad like it was my most prized possession. I remember reading books like The Boxcar Children and can still smell the stews that they would make with wild potatoes and onion. Then I read Hatchet and felt the pull of adventure on my heart, and I became obsessed with the outdoors collecting survivor gear for years after.boxcar

I have been influenced and drawn to the arts my entire life. I don’t know why this feels like such a revelation to me this morning. It feels empowering. It makes me grateful to have parents that encouraged my bookwormery and live inside of my imagination while my brother tinkered with motorcycle parts and was completely logical thinker. My sister wanted to play house, and be a mother and chase boys.

Thinking about this makes me feel like maybe I didn’t stray from my heart at all. Most people call me dreamer, a wanderer, but I always have been. I wanted the whole world then, and I still do. I want all of it. I want to hear music, paint watercolors, write poetry, travel alone, and fall in love over and over. Maybe I’m an artist, after all. My inner child approve wholeheartedly with my path. For today, that’s enough for me.

The Violinist and the Temp

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2013-10-21 18.33.29I was able to work a few days this week through my temp agency.   I filed papers, in a storage closet for 17 hours.  I spoke to two people in three days, and they were just giving me instructions.  My hands were busy, but not as busy as my mind.  I was stuck in the closet-thinking and getting choked up at the thought…

“Is this going to be my life in New York?”

I was the invisible worker.  Replaceable.  As a temp you are quickly forgotten, so why would the employees invest any of their time into you? I get it.  But walking in on my second day I felt an unbearable sadness.  Another day in the closet. My feet hurt standing up all day in dress shoes, and my wrist hurt (the constant reminder of my former career.) I cried the whole way home on my second day feeling completely defeated.

On my third day temping for the same company, I was a little more hopeful knowing that it would be my last day filing endless stacks of papers, but I was still so sad walking to the train station.  While I walked down the stairs, I heard the most beautiful sound.  A woman played the violin in the middle of the platform with her eyes closed. I stood close to her in the sea of people and I wept, not for sadness, but for the beauty of the music that she was giving to all of us.  She gave me hope to finish my day strong.  She made me realize why I’m here.  This is the city of dreams.
The violin has always sounded a little sad to me- and it was like the exact sound that my heart was making. I was so moved by the sound of her music. It gave me strength for the day… for the week. With each person I meet, who is chasing their dream, it gives me nourishment- and it fills my soul a little.
That, and having a roommate who brings me home a root beer float when the city takes too much from me.

This city is hard. But it’s going to be worth it. The violinist taught me that this week.

Jay Z Meant What He Said

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2013-10-28 12.45.09I learn something new everyday.  Little things, like that New Yorkers love to honk, and that models are really pretty. How do I know models are pretty? I was able to assist an old acquaintance from my days in Idaho on his photography shoot. There were two European models at the shoot, and it was fascinating to see them at work!  It was such an amazing day to see how it all works behind the beautiful pictures.  There was a whole team of people to make it happen, and it was such a learning experience for me to see it happen.  I love to learn and New York is the place full of opportunities to do so.

I feel more comfortable picking up food at my favorite Thai place across the street.  I’m learning how this place works.  I had to venture into the city alone this week for an interview.  My interview was at the Trump Building, but I didn’t see Donald.

The smallest tasks feel like a victory in this place.  Finding the right train (and station) and actually making it to your destination-and making it on time.  It gives me a thrill and an unexplained joy to complete these little tasks.

After my interview I walked around lower Manhattan and saw landmarks that I’ve only seen in the movies.  I saw the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street, and Battery Park. I saw where the World Trade Centers stood and went to the museum that welled me up with emotion.  I haven’t gone to the memorial yet, but that is something I may save to do when my folks visit.

I still don’t have a job, but I feel like I’m finding a bit of my place here.  Everyday that passes feels a little bit more like I can do this.  I feel a job coming, almost like I can taste it.  I don’t know what it will be, but as of today, I have applied for 17 of them.  I am excited to be here in New York.  Jay Z meant what he said, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”  I can make it here. It’s just going to take some time. And it’s going to take a job.  So, I’m ready to start on Monday. Whatever you may be.  But in the mean time…I’m going to keep learning and walking around the beautiful Prospect Park by my house and enjoying the crisp autumn days.2013-10-25 11.40.23

Country Girl in the Big City

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2013-10-12 10.39.24It’s official. I moved to Brooklyn, New York nine days ago to follow my dream of becoming a writer for a magazine.
In April of 2013, while reading my rejection letter to get into the MFA Writing program at Boise State, my heart started to race. And the thought, “you have to move to New York City,” popped into my head. I had never been to New York, but I listened to my intuition and made it happen. So here I am. I don’t have a job yet, but just being surrounded by the creative and talented people that walk these streets is inspiring and makes me want to try harder. What a place. I am sure this next year is going to be full of adventure, fear, anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, and so many thousands of emotions. But whatever happens. I’m going to grow. I’m going to be better, and I’m going to be constantly inspired by this magical place. Follow me on my journey as I try to figure this city out, one step at a time.