“Hello, LA!” I don’t know where I learned that phrase. My mother tells me how I’d climbed through the sunroof of our old Oldsmobile, throw my arms out and scream it like a portal would open above me to whisk me away. The first time I did it, she was probably super perplexed. By the fifth, I’m sure she realized she had a bonafide diva on her hands.
But I never made it to Los Angeles. I landed in the BCBG PR showroom on 41st and Broadway here in New York City. That brief summer internship was a blur but so remarkably packed with emotions and experiences. On my last day in the city before heading back to Ohio, I swore to myself that I would return to have a full-time crack at this fashion game.
After graduating, I marked my calendar for my big, bad return to NYC. The night prior to my journey, I burst into tears when my mom asked if I was sure about my decision. I was so unsure but I remember telling her I had to do this. And that’s what I did. My parents didn’t raise a bum loser (shout out to them for bumping uglies and creating this magnificent moon creature) so when they drove off, I hit the ground running and never looked back.
I’ve been a New York City resident for seven years now. During that time, I have had one epically failed engagement, a string of bad boyfriends and even worse apartments. I’ve cried in Union Square, cried in the little park across the street from Stonewall, cried in the back of a taxi and cried at my desk while watching the first gay marriage proposal on Project Runway (full transparency: I was working on that show at the time).
Seven years, baby.
I never thought I would survive let alone thrive in this spirit-crushing concrete jungle for seven years. Hell, I never actually thought I’d last one year! Even with my triumphs, I don’t see New York City as my “forever” home. I could change my mind in time but I just don’t see it right now.
Right now, all I keep thinking about is life elsewhere. The alleged greener grass. A life where the pace isn’t so manic, the energy not so frantic. I almost moved to Chicago a couple of years ago. The reasons and circumstances were all wrong so I made the executive decision to stay put in Brooklyn. Then, Peter Thiel, resident douche bag, said there was no real “talent” in the Windy City. I immediately got offended and started looking up jobs and apartments just to prove him wrong.
I’ve thought about heading west to California. Maybe Los Angeles or one of the San’s (Francisco, Diego, etc.). I’m not much of a beach bitch but I could be. After my brief visit to Paris, I know it’s one of thee places for me. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to that has moved me in a way that only New York has been able to do.
I lose my breath sometimes when I realize I’m living in this place that once seemed absolutely unattainable, mythical and best kept to tv screens and magazines. On a perfect day, these streets can get me so high and I don’t even use drugs! But if I’m being perfectly honest, sometimes I feel trapped. Trapped by my lease. Trapped by the misconception of being a failure if I leave. Let me tell you, the list is more extensive than I’d like it to be.
But when I think about leaving, I think about the unbearable strain it would put on the friendships I’ve built. It really gets me upset thinking about not living “down the street and around the corner” from my bess frannn. I’m trapped being the devil’s advocate when all I wanna do is have some fun. Twirl down the street with a glass of wine while somebody blasts Britney’s “Stronger” from an old school boombox. Kick my feet up and watch The Craft while someone else makes all of the hard decisions.
Is it time to leave New York City? Survey says…not yet.