I really can't remember when my love affair with New York City truly began. Just the name of it has always sounded like magic to me. It had a melody to it that was so catchy. It rolled off my tongue like my favorite song. Ever since I first watched When Harry Met Sally, I dreamed of taking strolls down a golden tree lined street with a man who I would later call a lover. So much going on around us. So much to discuss and contemplate. So much around us to distract us and spread ourselves thin with. But despite all the noise, we are still so absorbed in the world created just between the two of us. A love that takes digging through the exterior canopy to find it lying untouched and ready to grow. That was the dream.
I grew up in the suburbs outside of Los Angeles. A safe and quiet town of community pools, lines of the same stucco homes one after another, and one mall which is sadly where the most action ever occurred and where the majority of the skater kids smoked weed behind of. That and the movie theaters. Everyone had their first kiss behind the movie theater I'm pretty sure. My parents moved us away from the beach because they wanted us in better schools, in a bigger house and to be able to play around our front yard without worrying about us getting snatched up by some creeper in a VW van. High school in the Santa Clarita Valley was quite typical and clique-y. Just like you would see in the movies. Growing up in a place like this, you have to find ways to keep yourself occupied to keep from getting too bored. Let's just say there was a time that I listened to emo music for hours on end to cope. Like most kids, I wanted to fit in, but deep down inside, typical never made sense to me. It wasn't what I strived for. I didn't get why kids cared so much to be popular like it was life vs. death. I didn't get why the cheerleaders didn't get in trouble when they bared some belly on the school yard, but I did (I wasn't a cheerleader). I didn't get why I had to be a master at math to be considered borderline smart to my teacher. And I didn't get why the monotonous lives everyone seemed to be living was the end goal (for most people I grew up with at least). The circles drove me nuts. And the thought of of a life of these circles a day, an hour, a second past my high school graduation was horrifying to me. All I could think about was New York City. And that golden tree lined street. And the potential to find love, not just in a romantic partner, but love in everything around me. Love in the sticker and graffiti ridden crosswalk poles. Love in the taxi honks. Love in the feeling when you catch a subway right at the last second. Love in the footsteps on every sort of mission and heading in so many different directions at once. Love in the art of interaction and collaboration and brain storming. Just love in the possibility of everything and anything. That is what New York City felt like to me in my head. And that is what I felt was missing from my boring town outside of Los Angeles.
And now I am here in New York CIty, and it's been a little over two years which is crazy to think about. The thing about this city is that it doesn't hit you until way past the day you actually find your groove . . . that you have finally found your groove. It sweeps you up and twirls you around, and before you know it you are what they might call "a real New Yorker" and you can't really imagine yourself being anyplace else. Before I moved here, I heard from many people that NYC can be a really lonely place, despite the amount of bodies it contains. I understand this completely, and it can be totally true, but only if you let it be. New York City is one of those cities that is left to be molded in your own hands. Worlds within worlds within worlds. A collision of it all. The time it takes to find your place varies from person to person, but like I always like to say, there is a time for everyone in NYC. As long as you are patient.
The city is full of distractions because if you are open to it, you are introduced to so many things from all sides. You never know what's going to flip the switch within you in this place. But if you think about it, that is the beauty of it all. It's normal to find yourself on many paths, a lot of times at the exact same time. And it can be confusing and exhausting and mind-boggling and question-inducing. But isn't that the reason why we came here for in the first place? To explore our options and to be challenged and to put ourselves in situations that aren't exactly comfortable or easy. Despite the glitz and glam of the stories we have heard of this NYC in the past, we find the greatest pleasure in the strides we take to get to the places we want to be at. No struggle, no gain. I've gone through many phases of myself in my two years in this amazing city. Some not so good. Some phenomenally amazing. It wears me out sometimes, but when I bounce back, I come back to something so sparkly and progressive and alluring and exciting and malleable. I wake up absolutely happy and ready to conquer the little New York City that is all mine within the big New York City. I feel safe and sound here for some reason. Even with all the noise. There's something for everyone here if you look closely. In every nook and in every cranny. In every borough. Each waiting to find it's match. Let's just say for right now, New York City is my Harry to my Sally.
Photos taken by me.