Scared City

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I’m on my second Pop Tart on a late Monday night in Oklahoma with two dogs at the end of my bed upstairs at my parent’s house. I moved here six months ago as a place to stay for ONE MONTH before I moved to New York City. The previous eight years had been spent in Vail, CO (three years) and Dallas, TX (the past five). All basically leading up to this point: Moving to New York. When you think about something for that long, knowing by the time your 30 you will be living in a particular place (I’m an off-track 31) it starts to become bigger than it really it is, and that’s saying a lot considering it’s New York City. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.

I’ve studied, wrote, quit jobs, started two publications, been broke, had some money, been in love, became heartbroken, hit depression, became reliant on pills I didn’t need, got a dog, maybe he saved my life, went to NY for meetings, had those meetings, meetings went great, opportunities kept presenting themselves, a contract with The Huffington Post, a contract with Google, my publication was growing and after three years of putting everything I had into it it was finally paying off and opening doors. Now the only thing left I needed to do to make all these dreams a reality was move to New York.

Third pop tart. The first few months I came home I was miserable, ready to leave, falling into my parents’ swimming pool with a cig hanging out of my mouth Bill Murray-in-Rushmore style. It was almost like I was seeking depression. I didn’t want to be happy. Maybe I knew deep down I was scared, the build-up had taken over. I was in a town I grew up in yet knew no one anymore. My parents became my friends, which is an amazing thing to have happen when you get older. I got comfortable. I was able to work remotely and that shame and embarrassment of living at home with my parents was always there, but I hid it nicely under clean laundry and long walks with my dog on country fields.

A friend I trust and love told me today, and I quote: “In all love, I’m saying this with nothing but love, but it’s time to cut the fucking cord.” Hearing those words made everything I’d been doing real. The only real thing in my life is that I’d been living here with my parents; too scared to move when I had everything ahead of me. Still healing from a breakup that left me with a feeling of loneliness that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone ever. I became confused then used that confusion as an excuse. After all the build-up, after everything was set in place, what it came down to is I was scared as shit.

Maybe I’ve always been scared of New York City. To many people, most people, this would sound ridiculous, especially if they knew me, but I put on a good front. What if now at 31 I go and I fail, and I end up back here, at 33? What if I get overwhelmed, I feel lost, and I can’t handle the City? I have anxiety as it is; can people function with anxiety in New York? Pot. I’ll need pot and I know where good pot is in New York City. I can’t get pot here.

Fourth pop tart. Who is in control of this situation? Why am I basing all of my decisions on what other people will think? Who fucking cares if I end up in NYC or not, I still am doing pretty good, I mean, I’m doing okay. My dog is really happy and that makes me really happy. I’m fucking miserable and lost.

Just leave, I tell myself. Just go. You’ve let yourself get comfortable, you don’t want to be so far from your family, but you’re 31. If not now, not ever. What if I’m back in six months? What if I have a panic attack on the train? What if this City I’ve build up so much in my head swallows me? What if the talents I think I might have or maybe am faking make me explode? Do people even watch TV in the City or is everyone too fucking busy and always going that they can’t simply sit down and watch Parks and Recreation?

I’ve made so many drastic decisions in my life without thinking twice, I believe in following dreams, why am I being such a pussy now?

I’ve had too many pop tarts. My stomach hurts. My body aches. These questions linger, but the truth is there’s only one answer: I have to go. Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe I’ll be scared shitless, but maybe I won’t. Another few months here means I will no doubt be filled with regret. I’d rather bet on all the maybes than any one regret.

See you soon. Embrace me, swallow me, wrestle me, kick me, kiss me, just don’t be a place or a city, be a home. TC mark

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