Jesus Christ! It has already been 6+ months since I tromped over to the big city. Has it really?! I do the math on my fingers, ticking the months away one by one… yes, indeed it has been that long.
Though it’s only been 6 months it feels like it has been a lifetime or two! Honest. I feel like I’ve experienced so many shifts, changes, jobs, people, emotions, upswings and downswings that it’s hard to believe it hasn’t actually been 5 years living here.
Things rush by in a completely different way here.
When I first arrived all alone, with no job prospects and only a savings tucked neatly away in my bank account, I felt afraid. No…make that terrified.
After all I left my safety nest. Houston and Louisiana were my safe zones. I had a simple, established, routine life. I had a great job, cute car, solid EFT community, easy yoga practice, spacious home…you name it! But it wasn’t enough. I was still hungry.
When I made the decision to make New York happen (or rather certain circumstances forced me to man-up) I set myself up in a way so I couldn’t chicken-out. I said goodbye to everything that created the safety net of my life like my car, co-workers, my friends and even my ability to get around the city of Houston (it took me 6 dang months to learn the layout of the city enough to navigate without using my GPS as a crutch, people!).
For me, I felt the added inner pressure because I worried about what my extended family would think; specifically my mom’s side of the family. I had waited to announce my decision to move at the last possible minute. I told everyone at one of the last family get-togethers I attended.
Of course they were supportive. Definitely surprised, but behind me 100%.
That’s what they told me. However I tend to plant seeds of doubt in my own head after making decisions and so, I thought this: Well, since the majority of family stays close to home and lives the atypical Southern Cajun life they will be scrutinizing my every move to see if I can make it. Can I break the family mold and strike out on my own? At first, me and my ex were going to move to NY together which would have made things easier (he made me a braver person) but now I was on my own and scared out of my mind!
The pressure was on. I felt like the black sheep of the family. Did they think I thought I was better than them? Or that I was too good for Lafayette and Houston even? Did they think I had something to prove by running off to the North? In truth none of those were true, I just had an undying push to be here in this huge city. No clue why it was just there.
So here I am, my whole family watching my every move. I always worried that I might let them down somehow. My thought process went something like if I fail to make New York work and have to come crawling back (tail between legs) I am somehow letting my family down. Would this cause them to lose faith in me and therefore lose faith in themselves as well? (Yeah, these are my own personal demons we’re talking about here!)
So, you see, I had no choice but to follow through with NYC and make this shit work!
I’ll never forget hefting those two suitcases worth of (what was left of) my life out of the yellow cab that cold February night. I was freezing cold, sick and heartbroken having just said goodbye to my friend Paul who dropped me at the airport. New York actually made me sort of angry at first. The very same place that had always seemed like the most amazing, fun, dynamic place in the world was now the unfamiliar, overwhelming city I was supposed to be making a home in.
I questioned my opinion of New York so many times in those early months. I never questioned my decision (I stand behind myself 100%) but I definitely recounted all the times the words “I want to move to the NYC” had rolled so effortlessly off my tongue.
I survived those early months just putting one foot in front of the other. No master plan; just find a place to live then look for a source of income. Find a yoga studio and train for this new job. Shit this job doesn’t pay enough or doesn’t make me happy so back to square one and do it all again.
Looking back I’m so thankful those times are behind me. You know how when you go through something, that, in hindsight turns out to be one of the harder parts of your life? Yeah.
Then it slowly began to shift.
I found jobs I loved, started going to the summer concerts and movies around the city, developed a semblance of a routine and my new life began to take shape.
It took a bit of force on my part but force is what this city is all about. No one gets a free ride. Everyone I have talked to from here says that there are months that, no matter how established they are or how long they’ve lived here, they want to throw in the towel and declare “Screw this place, I’m out!”
Easy isn’t necessarily “the point” of the New York experience. I arrived with big googlie eyes and a teenage crush on this place. I had bright dreams of how awesome it was going to be to live here, and yes, it is awesome but what I really came for is the grit and force required to make a place for myself here. What I really came here for is the inevitable break-down of myself as “Terran from Lafayette, LA who has been living and working in Houston for 1 and a half years”. I just wasn’t aware of these deeper aspects at the time. How does the saying go? Ignorance is bliss.
All I have to say is I’m excited for my next 6 months here. God only knows what’ll happen from here…
Email me your stories of how life broke you down and re-molded you when you made a big move. Send your stories, insights and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Terran Leigh – formerly known as Terran-from-Lafayette-who-has-been-living-and-working-in-Houston-for-1.5-years
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