Dear New York,
It’s not you, it’s me.
You exceeded my wildest expectations. I couldn’t have dreamt of the things you would teach me, and the opportunities that you would give to me… but it’s time to say goodbye. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I teeter between total denial and total relief that this chapter is behind me.
My original goal was to stay with you for a year, and I stayed for almost three and a half. When I look back at the first day I landed in your giant, unfamiliar, and unforgiving city, I was a different person in every way you can be. My hands shook for a few months and my whole body vibrated with anxiety and nervous energy. I remember the excitement and crippling fear that you gave to me, equally.
I had no idea how I would ever navigate you. But here I am. I know my way around. I went to every borough. I took almost every train. This place is full of life, dreams, energy, and incredible people. I am changed. I am woke. I am in love with you. But you aren’t for me. Your light started flickering for me over a year ago. I felt the pull to be close to family and loved ones. I felt the pull to put down roots in a place that I could build a life. I want a couch. I want to buy a home. It turns out I’m a bit of a country girl after all.
My gait is faster, my speech more direct, my work ethic better. I’m more skeptical of everything, and more self-aware then I’ve ever been. I have a confidence that was never there before. I did it. I moved here, and I made it. I’m less lazy. I’m more independent. I finally know that you have to fight for what you want. I’m tougher than I thought. I’m more sensitive than I thought. I’m more clear of what I want and how to get it. I grew up because of you.
The hardest thing for me was the constant loneliness. This was also my favorite part. I really learned to be alone. I love the anonymity and the invisibility. The ability to disappear in a crowd. I loved going to the movies by myself and holing up in my tiny apartment for the weekend. I’ve been back in Denver a few weeks today and I feel vulnerable, I feel seen, I feel anxious. I know it’s going to take time to adjust, I know it’s not going to be easy. But growth is uncomfortable, and I’m up for the challenge.
One of the best things you gave to me was Twitter, and I’m forever grateful. Working at Twitter was one of the most incredible things that I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I got through the front door, much less the fact that I was able to work there for almost three years. It changed my life and my career trajectory. The people that I met there will be lifelong friends. The skills that I learned have already opened countless doors. Taking the Subway on my last commute into Manhattan from Brooklyn I broke down. I sobbed and blew my nose, and looked around to soak it all in. My last day at work was filled with tears and goodbyes, and overwhelming gratitude.
Who can say that they had an amazing apartment and landlord in New York City? I can. My apartment for the last 2+ years was my safe haven. (the neighborhood…not so much. But inside of my walls I felt safe. I felt home.) I also had the greatest roommate I could have ever asked for. Cokey, you are the reason I stayed as long as I did. I will miss you more than you know. You are a lifelong friend.
My parents flew out to help me pack up and move out. I couldn’t have done it without them and am filled with gratitude that I have parents that love me that much. We flew back to Denver with 14 pieces of luggage, and now I’m here.
I feel blessed. I feel raw. I will come back to see you soon, my love. Until then, I will carry the weight of you in my heart forever. I hope you bestow as much love and adventure on the next girl who lands with a one-way ticket and a dream.