Five years ago, on Nov. 6, I came here with three suitcases and a chest tight with anxiety. Just a small town girl (living in a lonely world, but I didn’t take the midnight train going anywhere) in the big, bad city, ready to tackle a job at Soap Opera Weekly and live some place where I basically knew no one.
I can’t believe it’s been that long already. In some ways, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was walking into my first NYC apartment — that I’d procured sight unseen — sleeping on the floor because I didn’t have a bed yet. And in other ways, I know I’ve changed irrevocably.
I am not the same girl who came here…the one who pretty much hid out in her Queens neighborhood for months, and took shelter between her cubicle walls at work. I remember bursting into tears when my flight home for Christmas got canceled because a severe snowstorm closed the airports. I sat in my cube, shaking, actually unable to believe I was that upset. I’d only been here a month and a half! I ended up spending the holiday weeks split between work and home…where I finally bought a TV and DVD player to get me through the hours.
If you ask my colleagues, they won’t even remember how quiet I was, how meek, because I’m such a freakin’ loudmouth now. The city utterly overwhelmed me back then. The subway lines, the tiny, sketchy grocery stores, and the noise. My goodness, the rattle of the 7 train going by overhead, the cars whizzing by on the street…it was such a change from Ohio. Now it’s nothing. The blaring of fire engines, the bus, the reggaeton. I’m used to it all. I thrive on the lights and the life of this vibrant city. And, yes, I can hop a midnight train going almost anywhere.
I’ve learned a lot about who I am, about what I’m capable of accomplishing. I wonder what lessons the next five years will bring.