I “Heart” NY
Or, An ode to the city I’m not in right now
I’m out of town right now. Many of you might be as well, or are looking at a potential summer gig that will take you away from the city. And as is usual for me when I’m away, I’m finding myself missing my home. There’s nothing like being away to make you value what you have. I moved to New York a solid amount of years ago, (no I’m not going to tell you how many!) and it has been a ride. Everyone should try living in a city like that at least for a couple years. It is a catalyst, it will teach you. It will force you to confront yourself in the reflection of the people and the situations you find yourself. So here is a comprehensive list of all the things I’ve learned from existing in NYC.
I have mild social anxiety, sometimes not so mild. Crowds are really hard for me (so naturally I moved to a place that is nothing if not crowded!) especially in a dance class. And of course, the best classes can be very crowded. So are the auditions. I find my corner, and learned how to gracefully hold my space. I always knew crowds made me somewhat uncomfortable, but it was only in the city where I was confronted with the situation so often that I had to actually do something about it.
I’m empathetic, to the point of my own detriment. When I moved to the city and for a good number of years after, if some person told me they didn’t have enough money to eat, I would buy them a meal, without thinking if I can afford to do so. It’s my caretaker instinct. Well…this is a place full of people who can’t afford to eat, and also full of…the conmen who impersonate them. So after having my meal bars or bananas rejected enough times by “impoverished” impersonators, instead of buying people food, I went and fed poor seniors through a charity. Thought it was legit. Thought I was helping. Found a way to help without giving away something I didn’t have much of. Then I found out this charity had some cases of fraud. I don’t do it anymore. Just have to keep walking sometimes. And headphones.
Calling me your family when you are not even close to being family with me. I’ve had several employers refer to their employees as their “family”. “We’re a family here!” they’d say. No. No you’re not. If you pay me, and we are not married or share DNA and/or a last name, you Sir (or Ma’am) are not my family. It has been my experience that people who say that, are trying to manipulate you for their own gain. They will not hesitate to fire you, withhold your paycheck, or any other number of shady moves as soon as it doesn’t suit them to behave honestly. Red flag.
New York in particular is a city of very ambitious people. Nobody moved to NYC to be an underachiever. They moved here to be a star or make a lot of money, or another measure of success. So their focus is naturally on themselves and their goals. Not so much on community, until they find they need one. Then, they find the one they need, or they move back to wherever they came from. In the meantime, they are magnetically pulled to whoever can help them the most. Not necessarily bad, just not always the people to be counted on, in my opinion.
Lastly, speaking of counting on people, the ones who see you through a “Phoenix cycle,” those are your people. What is a “Phoenix cycle” you ask? Good question. A Phoenix cycle is when things have been going so wrong that you have to burn it all down and start over. Cut off all those who are hurting you, get out of the situations that are keeping you from succeeding, get away from the ills and your personal toxins. It’s a potentially traumatic, emotional life, spring-cleaning, that leaves you better and with space for good new things. The point is to get rid of all the bad so that the good has space in your life. It’s like Konmari method for your life. Those people who remain with you through this process, those are your people.
I’m sure there’s more. I’ll bet you can add. Put it in the comments below if you are so inclined. I love a good NYC story. ;)
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