country girl in the big city

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.

Ladies First

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I keep saying how hard this place is to adjust to. But I haven’t mentioned two really cool behaviors that I have noticed since I have been here.  Manners and chivalry are alive in New York!

  1. There is a coat closet at every office.  Not only is there a coat closet…they USE it! They always ask to take and hang up coats! (every time I have visited an office for any reason this has happened) Now that I have been working reception, it is my job to take coats and hang them. I LOVE this! It is so impressive to me, and feels old-fashioned and sweet. 
  2. Secondly, the elevator etiquette is so surprising. Men let women on the elevator first, and wait until all of the women are off before they exit.  Can you believe this? I have noticed it every single place that had an elevator.  All over the city.  It is so charming to me!

I think these behaviors still exist because this city is so old and these classic manners are rooted as a cultural norm.  These behaviors feel old-fashioned…because they are.  I feel taken care of when someone takes my coat, and I feel respected when I get off of the elevator first.  New York is making me smile today.

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.

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.