I’d like to start out by saying that anger brought me to New York, but fear kept me here. It cradled me really… like a soft security blanket.
Now let me explain.
I think all teenagers feel they have “issues”. Families all weather their own trials and tribulations, and mine was, by far, no exception. Divorce, latent anger…I couldn’t leave fast enough. Destination: New York City.
I was told by an editor that NYC was my ticket to a publishing career (my dream job) and I had my parents foot firmly up my ass pushing me out the door – “college was nonnegotiable“. I had to get my act together after the few months I had spent scuffing my shoes in the dirt and working a dead-end, minimum wage job (I had graduated high school early – it really wasn’t for me).
Fast-forward: I’m still working (barely above minimum wage, UGH) but with tons of debt from college tuition tying me to the ocean floor. Glub glub, cut to an image of me drowning in my own debt and self-pity. When you really figure out, that your parents aren’t just “parents” but are just people who make mistakes… it’s hard to accept the blame and responsibility that your decisions are actually your own and you could have made different choices. You can’t blame everything on your parents – your current unhappiness included.
For instance, using my impeccable 20/20 hindsight I now feel I was not ready for college at the ripe age of 18. So now let’s piece together the puzzle shall we? I could have said… wait for it…no. I could have said no, I don’t want to go to college – not yet.
College is a huge financial responsibility. One that also dictates the rest of your life. Employers look at not only which institution you attended, but your major, your grades – and most importantly – did you learn anything? This was my moment of hubris. I had outstanding grades, graduated in the top of my class, went to a private university in New York City, but 95% of that information I paid (am still paying) top dollar for went in one ear and out the other. Why didn’t I realize that I was only hurting myself? I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t mature.
I wish someone would have just pointed out the obvious to me – because I was standing in my own way. I couldn’t see it. How do you ever know you’re doing damage – not until you see the bruise, or do you know right away?
Alas, I’m back to my parents – this is how I truly came to realize their flaws. Amidst their divorce (prime college time for me) they were so wrapped up in their own anger and personal issues they were unable to be parents to me. By this I mean they couldn’t help me when I was struggling for the first time in my life. One could argue that I was 18 and an adult, but I’ll tell you I sure didn’t feel like one, I know I wasn’t acting like one, and in their 40′s – neither were my parents. I suppose everyone has their “moments”.
So you may be wondering, is she going somewhere with this? Well, I came to New York because of the allure. The lights, the glamour, the potential job – the life that I thought I could make for myself. I was running away from the anger in my family in hope of a fresh start. Nearly 8 years later and did I find it? The older wiser “me” knows better now – running never gets you anywhere. What I did find is that my history is everywhere I go because it’s what has made me who I am today, the good and the bad.
Contemplating moving out of the city in a way feels like admitting defeat. I came for a job in publishing and never got one. I hoped to find love here, and that is TBD. So my current feeling is that as long as I’m still working on myself and continuing to at least TRY to make progress – I am not failing. Life is a work in progress my friend. I can’t stay living in a city that holds nothing for me because I am scared. Fear has had me for 8 years – I think that’s long enough.