A mere 19 months ago, I showed up in New York ready to go. I was no longer “tired but eager” and I had a lot more to accomplish than just dancing. Hell, my dance card was lost in the shuffle of the various moves and struggle to cut a rug while completely aware of my body and surroundings. No, this time New York was not for dancing… New York was for grad school. And grad school I did. I kicked grad school in the ass, and I have the degree AND official diploma to prove it. I, in fact, did it in a speedy fashion, opting not to take a summer off in 2015. Instead, I enrolled in a program that held its class meetings in Wroclaw, Poland (where some other special things also occurred, but that is to be disclosed in a forthcoming post– I have been working on that story for a year, and it needs to be just right– plus, I need someone else to sign off on the story before posting it. Libel, what a tart it is. Let’s just say the “got engaged” Facebook status was not fabricated… and we will leave it at that for now.)
In May I finished my master’s degree, which was the reason I left Minneapolis for the Big Apple in the first place (that, and the fact that I needed to shake things up in my life), so I was faced with a single question: What do I do now? I wasn’t even concerned about the how yet, I simply wanted to know the what. Simultaneously, I had stumbled into some work with two amazing gents who relied on me as their assistant as they transitioned from living abroad to a life in New York City for the first time. Additionally, I met another wonderful person, a woman for whom I did some landscaping, and then that parlayed into more work. However neither job sustained me financially or spiritually. They were contract jobs, on an as-needed basis, so it is simply due to lack of need that they no longer require my services (at least at the moment). I actually love all three of them, the two gents and the woman, but I cannot just wait around for more work even though I feel a sense of loyalty to them– but I need stability; I want a foundation. I spent the summer doing work for those three and picking up odd jobs here and there on the platform known as TaskRabbit. As a “Tasker,” or as I prefer to call myself, a “Rabbit,” I met some very fascinating people. But again, unless you’re really working the system, the TaskRabbit life is not sustainable, and it is by no means glamorous. But it is extra money when finances are tight. While I was unpacking the heirlooms of a recently passed mother, packing the belongings of a soon-to-be divorcee, or cooking dinner for a CEO and 12 of his best girlfriends (yes, these were actual jobs), the question in the back of my head still remained: What next? With every job I accepted (most recently it was putting together 500 gift boxes for a public relations firm that specialized in beauty supplies), the question became louder: What next!? Believe me, I know the beauty industry is booming, but the conversations I had to listen to while relegated to the floor in the corner of a conference room where everyone seemed to want to work even though they each had their own desk… mind-numbing. It was like everyone was asking questions, even when they were making grand declarations! (i.e. I absolutely, 100% hate when Sheila wears that fecking perfume that smells like corpses? No joke.) Booming this time: WHAT NEXT!?
Good question. And I finally made a decision.
Dear New York City,
You are a beautifully hideous city whose filth is unrivaled. The stench of your garbage on the most humid of days is like Sheila’s perfume. You are gorgeous in your architecture and layout, but have become so obsessed with your own advancement that you forgot to leave room for those who are still figuring it out. (I know, I know. I’m in my mid- to late-30s so I should have a better handle on life, but that’s just not me.) That lady in the harbor is but a façade; Emma Lazarus’s poem has been misplaced. Who would really wear that hat anyway?
New York, you have the ability to raise people up to new levels, enabling some to perform at the top of their game, and simultaneously raze others, stripping them of their humanity. I won’t let you do that to me, don’t worry. You are a truly paradoxical city– allowing people to slip through the cracks on the daily, and then shining a light on the most powerful. Your inhabitants are so focused on getting what they want, what they need– they are like vampires. The drive for success here is unmatched, and if one has something to offer, she will receive your acknowledgement and praise. People here are so busy, too busy to remember to return a call, or follow through on a plan, or treat each other with dignity and respect on a daily basis. It is not the callousness that bothers me, it is the affront to genuine connection that is off-putting. I feel so special when I am with you, New York… and the moment I leave your sight, I cease to exist. Shutting my eyes at night is a gamble; I want to be remembered in the morning.
I heard my name the other day… it came during the sunset, from the West. It wasn’t Kim, Kanye, or North, but it was beckoning. It cried my name softly, and reminded me of the pull I once felt for you, New York. I don’t hate you. I could never hate you. In fact, I love you, but you have made me feel solitary. In the vast population of your borders, I have never felt so solitary. And this…
This is why I am leaving you.
I may be back; don’t get all sentimental on me. Just because I am leaving doesn’t mean I am abandoning you forever. I will understand if you’ve met someone new and need to explore that, but for now, I need to go explore this whisper in the West. It is exciting AND I heard they have a bridge made of gold!
I will see you again, New York, and I haven’t left yet, but will soon be on my way. Until then, I hope you can find it in your heart to be kind to me and not completely ice me out. I am telling you now, before I go, so that we can have some amazing adventures together… and break-up sex is always the best, right?
I will always love you, New York.