The time has come for me to say goodbye to New York City. People think they know a lot about this place. I thought I knew a lot, I was wrong.
People think this is a city of dreams. Lights. Love. Labels. People think all of their problems will be solved when they get to New York. They think that one day they'll wake up in a beautiful apartment on the Upper East Side and life will be beautiful too.
I used to be one of those people. I used to idolize the glamour I saw on TV. I wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw, always elegantly broke but never really getting into money trouble. Always coming up with designer outfits and designer men to ease the pain.
I realized I could never be that person, because well...she doesn't exist.
What does exist, however; is thousands of starving, hungry people who come to New York for a crack at the good life. They come from every country, every state. They see the lights and the tourist attractions and they think, "Hell yeah, I can do this. I will do this."
The obstacles are enormous. The expenses, the transportation, the search for a job, the apartment, safety. The quest for these simple things can drive people into a state of absolute madness...
...but the rewards? Well, you can say you made it in New York City. You can say "I love New York" on a whole different plane, because you lived it.
You lived in the garbage and the cat calls, the screaming and the sirens. You endured the transit mishaps and homeless people threatening your life. You listened to the conversations outside your window until four in the morning each night, and God damn it you always made it to work.
You beat the pavement and explored the city even when things looked like they were running straight into the ground.
New York Gives. New York takes.
It's foul and furious. It's amazing and admirable. It's cultured and ignorant, fickle and surprising.
I have never been challenged more than in my two months in New York. This short amount of time pushed me to the edge, and then, just as I was about to fall off, threw me back into safety.
When I jumped on the plane to get here, I thought I had everything figured out. My course was set, destination steady, and I was going to make New York my bitch.
New York is nobody's bitch, that's for damn sure.
Things changed. Plans changed, and now I'm leaving. On to another uncharted plane, to start over, scared shitless just like when I arrived here.
I didn't beat New York. I didn't find love. I didn't buy designer labels, and I definitely didn't find money.
I'm not Carrie Bradshaw. I don't have a lot of friends.
(Press Play on "Under Cover of Darkness" by New York's own, The Strokes, before continuing)
I did, however, find truth, compassion and get my ass kicked. I didn't quit. I didn't back down. And when the subway car barreled down the track and I ran down the stairs in a panic, there was no greater thrill than the door closing in my face.
In New York you have to own up to your bullshit, deal with your mistakes and think about your life in a real way. New York forces you to confront yourself and accept what makes you great and what makes you fucked up. You have to have faith.
New York City makes you realize you don't have it all figured out, nor would you want to.
So, as I ready to pack my suitcase again and fuck off to another distant land: I have to thank New York, my friend, my adversary. It is the smelly, dangerous, dirty and exciting place where I learned that nothing is forever, and everything is unexpected.
Because under the cover of darkness, New York City waits for the broken, the beaten down, the dreamers and the frauds. It will make you better...or it will ruin your life. The best part?
You have to choose.
Goodbye New York, see you soon.