'Make It By Any Means'

Saturday, January 9, 2016 / 11:11 PM

When I got my first paycheck from Albertsons in college, my mom deposited the check in my account, withdrew a dollar, and framed it. She did this with my sister's first paycheck to, and said it'd be something we would want to look back on someday. "So you remember where you came from," she said.

I made $7.60 an hour pushing grocery carts and cleaning bathrooms. It wasn't glamorous, but I was 18 and I needed a job so I wouldn't have to go to my parents for every single expense: for school supplies or for that extra coffee. We had loans for tuition already, and I wanted to do my part to contribute, and also to start saving up when I could.

I left that job in January 2008. I hadn't been doing well -- personally, academically, mentally. After a series of events and the right people in my life, three years later by the time I was ready to graduate, everything had changed, and it's been changing ever since.

On this day four years ago, I boarded a Bolt bus in DC with a suitcase and a backpack with a short-term internship lined up, but nowhere to live and no idea how long I'd actually be in New York City. I left 80% of my possessions in DC at Laura's place and mailed to Reveka's apartment in Albany, and it would take me three months to get everything moved officially into the Harlem apartment I was lucky enough to find four days after moving to the city.

I still remember the bus ride to New York. I sat on the right side of the bus in the front, so I could see the road the whole time. I wrote emails thanks to the bus wifi, and the ride felt like it went by at twice the speed. I was tired because I'd been up the night before filled with anxiety and on the phone wondering out loud if I should change my mind and leave New York for another year.

The first picture I took from the living room of my New York City apartment.

New York hasn't been easy. Pick any blog post, and you'll probably find an anecdote about the city that's infuriated, confused, frustrated me. Sometimes, I love this city; other times, I can't wait to leave.

But it's been four years. I'm still here. I'm still living in the same apartment. I'm still working in the same building (though in a different job and loving it). Even though things feel like they haven't changed, I believe that in the last four years, I have changed. I'm still changing. That's kind of exciting, right?

Here's to whatever the future holds. Bring it on, New York.

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