Updated: 4 days ago
14 years ago I sold everything I owned, bought a $273 one-way plane ticket, and arrived to NYC with two small suitcases. I didn’t have a job, a place to live, or any close friends, and I had no idea what... a gift it would be to live in this crazy little city.
I came here broken.
I came here in the midst of massive grief.
I came here because depression had a strong hold on me and I wasn’t sure if I would find my way out of it.
I didn’t exactly choose NYC. It chose me.
I had visited The City five months prior to audition for graduate school for my MFA in the middle of a blizzard in January. I was accepted into one of the best programs in the country, but I chose not to go, because acting school breaks you open to teach you about vulnerability to help you create authentic characters, and at that point I was broken enough. I considered traveling to Europe for the Summer, but I didn’t have anyone to travel with and I really don't like traveling alone. I also thought about moving to Australia, but I didn’t know how to get a visa or a job. However, on my flight back to Arizona, I remember vividly looking out the window overlooking the snowy landscape and something told me, “Move to New York City.” So New York City it was.
The island of Manhattan is only 13 miles long. Between Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island there’s almost 9 million people who live here. The perfect city to disappear in - or so I thought.
Funny thing about this city, it doesn’t want you to blend. It wants you to be your true self, whatever that means for you. It is relentless in that pursuit, whether you ask for it or not. It reveals the absolute best and the absolute worst in you. And at the end of the day, you have a choice as to which you want to be.
I hope I have taken the better path.
All I know is that this city helped me to regain my life. It has challenged me in ways I never thought possible. It has shared with me some very unscrupulous people and situations, and it has also taught me how to deal with them. It has also given me incredible friends, who lift me up and show me what genuine compassion and love is and help me to stand up for what is right - even when I‘m not sure if I am able to, who now I consider family.
Every day the people in this city wake up and make a collective decision to live together the best we can. We're one big family - not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we try to do our best.
I genuinely love this city.
I genuinely love the people.
I am genuinely thankful every day I share in its history.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Emma Lazarus' words permeate this city, and I understand them more now than ever. It's incredible to think the Statue of Liberty was created when the world was a in very dark place and felt like it was on fire. Bold, daring visionaries, who genuinely cared about their fellow humans, broke through the darkness and came together to create a beacon of hope, freedom, and light for the masses, not only for their generation, but for ours and the ones to come. This little city throughout its history too has seen its share of dark days, but it has the good fortune of standing in her light. Each day the city and its people teach me to rise up, choose love and light, rather than fear and hate - standing together as a beacon for our city, our country, and the world. Hopefully, I am able to take the lessons this city has taught me in whatever I do, and in my own small way contribute to lighting the way.
New York City, thank you for taking me in, loving me, and letting me call you home. This website is my tribute to you. With Love, New York City