People ask me all the time why I moved to New York City and I'm sick of not telling them the truth.
I want to tell you the truth.
It's because I can't drive.
I have my driver's license. I know how to drive, just like most people know how to swim, but it doesn't mean I'm very good at it.
I crashed my car, once, into my house when I was 16 years old.
My friends used to opt to take public transportation in a city that only had one bus that ran north and south - only - rather than get in the backseat of my moving vehicle.
I guess I also moved here because I had a little bit of money saved up and I wanted to blow it all in one place. I figured I could stay living where I was, which was on the upper east side of my parent's house, and spend all of my money, slowly, on Forever21 clothes and tickets to concerts, or I could throw it all away in one shot, on one plane ticket (via Spirit airlines) and on three months of rent.
I've never been one to save my pennies. If I was on the Price is Right and they asked if I wanted to take my earnings and say adios, goodbye, and walk away - or take my earnings and risk it all, right now, for the chance to win another $50,000, I'd go all in. Without even a second of thought.
Because sometimes the risk of ending up with nothing is the chance at everything.
But sometimes it's not.
I moved to NYC and took a job at the only place that would hire me. I begged 13 other places to hire me. I even sat in the lobby of the Hearst building for 12 hours until finally the security guard gave me $2.50 and said, "Go buy yourself a cup of espresso and try some other kind of life plan."
I didn't come here to get rich, or to be famous, or to figure out the rest of my life. I've been here almost four years and I have none of those things.
I didn't come here to eat pizza, or find endless love, or to become an adult. I've only managed to really do one of those things so far.
I guess I really came here because I had nowhere else to go.
To move to New York City, you have to be deranged. You have to be a certain kind of bonkers.
It smells, it's expensive, you see things that don't make sense and are impossible to explain to others. Your heart breaks every other block when you walk a straight line down 7th avenue after 8pm and see people sleeping on the edges of the street in 21-degree weather. And your heart gets molded back together, once again, when you see two complete strangers strike up a conversation about the inner depths of their complicated lives on a park bench one sunny afternoon in the dead center of spring.
But for every single time I stop myself from vomiting over the smell of dried urine and expired baby diapers, or have to watch my paycheck get electronically divided up between rent, credit card bills, and utilities- leaving me with $4.50 (on a good month), I find myself walking around the city and smiling, extra wide, at all the other crazies, batting my eyelashes at the cute ones and thinking of how happy I am to have ended up in a place that keeps me wide awake at night to the sound of sirens and desperate hope.
New York City is magic. It's magnetic. There should be a gigantic sign when you step foot out of JFK airport that says "Enter at your own risk. You will fall madly in love."
Emphasis on the mad part. You will go mad, my love, you will.