A guest post by my friend Rebecca:
New York New York big city of dreams
And everything in New York ain’t always what it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
Sixteen years old, on my first trip to New York City.
“New York, New York,” by Tha Dogg Pound playing on my discman, I hailed taxis while my parents stood on the curb. I introduced myself to a business woman on the subway and told her I was going to UCLA (note: I hadn’t applied to college yet) and would move to New York after college. She smiled at my ambition, handed me her card and said to give her a call if I wanted an internship. I knew in my heart I would live in New York someday.
Concrete jungle where dreams are made,
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
–Alicia Keys & Jay-Z
Thirty-two years old, on my sixth trip to New York City, but this time it was a one-way ticket.
In my ears, anything by Jay-Z was coming through my headphones. It was January and after months of shrugging every time someone asked me what I, the California girl, was going to do in the snow, the concept of winter slapped me in the face. Why were there no leaves on the trees? What were those hot poles in my apartment? My dog, Henry — Southern California born-and-raised — scratched at the sidewalk wondering, “where did all the grass go?”
Snoop was right: I was fooled and from out of town. The subway stench and grimy streets sure didn’t make me feel brand new. Why did I move to New York?
January 2012 – Henry’s first snow. He was less than thrilled.
Tears. A lot of tears. Despite the anxiety and sadness, my lioness pride wouldn’t let me give up. So I began running. Central Park. I went to Winesday. I started to find a niche. New job. New attitude. New friends. Good friends. Give-you-strength kind of friends. Hurricane, Nor’Easters and a blizzard – none of this stopped me from walking Henry two hours a day and meeting friends for a glass of wine, or six. I was embracing the spirit of New York, maybe I would make it after all.
January 2013 – Henry playing in the snow. What a difference a year makes.
You could not just live here. You had to be somebody, do something, it didn’t matter what. … The best way to know New York, to learn to love New York, was to let it wear you out.
I’m riding up the escalator in a Midtown hotel for a women’s charity event, power suit, designer shoes and confidence. 2,000+ women networking, doing good and making deals all before 9am. It hits me. The “it” I doubted would happen happened. A New York moment. “I belong?” turned into “This is where I’m supposed to be.”
I get now it. And I’m definitely tired; when I get tired I ponder moving back to The City of Angels. I miss the Pacific Ocean and sand between my toes. I don’t miss my insecurity about basically everything LA. I moved to New York to make myself uncomfortable and grow. It’s here that I shed the Things holding me back. For that, New York, I love you.
The quintessential symbols of New York, Miss Liberty and The Freedom Tower.
Rebecca is a native Californian, UCLA-grad, finance babe extraordinaire, with a degree in Mathematics, and a killer sense of style. No one rocks a beret better than this gal. She loves sports, her Welsh Springer Spaniel Henry, and a good margarita. She moved to Manhattan from the City of Angels in January 2012, and she’s been an amazing addition to our little family.
This is her first foray into guest blog-posting, and I hope she’ll join me again soon.
(Throughout the month of June, I’ll be writing a series of New York-related posts, and/or inviting some friends to guest post about their New York experiences, to celebrate my eight years in New York City.)