It feels like yesterday when my cousin in NY called me to say there’s an empty room in her apartment & that I should occupy it. It was October 2013 and I was in Baltimore, visiting someone when I received the call. I didn’t give her an answer right then & there, but the doubt began brewing in the pit of my stomach as soon as I clicked.
2 days later, I came back home (Tampa) and told my mom that I was moving to New York. At the time, I was working as a hostess at a sushi restaurant, making NO money. Finding a job after graduating college was difficult for me. This would’ve been my first time “leaving the nest” and I had no idea where to start. Nothing in savings. No job lined up. It didn't make sense to make that move, logically. There wasn’t a day leading up to December 3, 2013 that I said to myself what the fuck are you doing? All I had was a dream, well $300 and a dream. Cue the J Cole references lol. Sounds corny, but it’s true. I always had this inkling that I couldn’t become the person I was meant to be if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone (Florida).
I bought my one way ticket for 12/3. No plan. Nothing secured. Just dedication and faith in hopes of figuring it out. Tears have been shed, plenty of tears during my first 1-2 years of being here. I struggled, financially and emotionally. I felt lost for so long, anxiety on a thousand, and often times clueless on how I was going to make things work. I would often get told why are you still in NY if you’re struggling?
Now that I’m in a better place and I’m getting a more secure hold on my purpose, I can tell you this: my mother immigrated to the States while she was pregnant with me. The woman I owe my life to has worked too hard for me to be a nobody. I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to my family and myself if I don’t become successful, though I’m still defining what that looks like for me.
I reflect on these 5 years of living in NYC and I can’t help but smile. Each year keeps getting better. Each year I get hungrier, wiser. Each year, I’ve gotten closer to my purpose and 2018 couldn’t have been a better example of that. You can’t put yourself out there to get what you want without feeling vulnerable; I’ve had to step outside of my introverted-ness while out at events, while meeting some of my idols. I’ve had to make sacrifices like being away from my family (being unable to share good moments because I’m not there physically, being away from them for a while) and unlearning bad habits I’ve picked up over the years. It takes a certain type of willingness to do better for yourself. Bragging or giving myself kudos is something I’m not used to, but I’m proud of myself for taking a chance on me, for not putting myself into a box, and not letting my past or current circumstances define my future.
I say this every year: I couldn’t pick a better place to live out my 20s than New York City. The energy, the aesthetic and most importantly, the people — some of which have changed my life forever. I didn’t think I’d make it past 6 months, let alone 1 year but here we are. I can’t say how much NY I have left in me, only time will tell. I’m trusting all that the universe has in store.
Cheers to 5. Let’s see how 6 goes.