Decisions. Decisions.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Things in New York City are going well. It’s springtime and I’ve spent the last few days bike riding wearing only a tank top and shorts. For the first time in a long time, I actually like my job. Sure, I barely make my rent but my boss is kind and understanding and I get to mingle with the hipster folk in the neighborhood. My living situation may not be ideal but heck, I’m living in Brooklyn. Cross that item off my bucket list. There’s no boyfriend but I make new friends daily. And best of all- I’m writing again: blogging, web work and randomly, sports pieces. My heart is happy.

True, things could be better. Things could ALWAYS be better and with knowing that, I’ve been told about a possible opportunity that could point my life in a new and grander direction. For those who don’t know me that well, I harbour a big secret: I’m a college drop-out. I left school the semester I was supposed to graduate, with only needing to complete eleven credits in order to receive my diploma. Going back to school has always been stirring in the back of my head, weighing me down by burning a hole of regret and shame into my brain. Even with my big move to NYC, I knew that I should otherwise pound the text books and vocab flash cards. Instead, I shrugged the thought aside and created a new path for myself among the tall buildings in the great concrete jungle.

A few weeks ago, I was told that if I was to returned to my old university, I could get the rest of my education paid for completely (I’m still trying to figure out if this is true or not but in the meanwhile, I’m doing plenty of research. Free money is always a good thing, afterall.). My brain started to spin with ideas of possibilities: When should I move? Where would I live? Would I work? Man, I need to practice my Spanish! But something else occurred- I realized that I would leave New York. Sure, the city always will be here (I can come back- would I?)  and it would take only a year to finish up what I started not so long ago. But a year? So much can happen in that short amount of time. I already think about the crazy, wonderful things that happened to me since my arrival last May. Things are not perfect but they’re good in New York. I wonder if I did leave, would my heart continue to feel this joyful?

No decisions have been made and I’ve neglected to tell people (I’d hate to get hopes up too high; mine included). I haven’t explore all my educational options with this newfound knowledge (maybe I could finish school somewhere here in this vast metropolis- who knows?).  I’ve been handed these possible choices and with those choices, there’s no right or wrong one. So, how do I decide? My education verses my happiness- what is more important? A simple pros-and-cons list won’t suffice for this task. Neither will my constant mulling- I’m going to eventually cause myself to have a stroke.

The only thing I do know is that this opportunity will not last forever. Should that be the deciding factor? Should I try to picture what my life would be like if I chose one option over the other (with that, though, there are many different scenarios!)? Should I just chose something eeny-meeny-miny-moe style? What should I chose? What would you chose?

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My Love Letter to New York City: a Slam Poem

Welcome to New York City.

They say that this is the place where dreams are made of. Jobs fall from the sky into out-stretched palms; people give you looks of brotherly, post 9/11 love. You will walk about of Louis Vuitton with that hand bag you spied during window shopping just because.

But whoever “they” are, they lied. Nothing happens in that so-called minute. Bigness and fame takes hours and years.

The city isn’t lined with beauty but with graffiti; vulgar words that don’t bring a smile to your face, but a punch to your gut. N-Yers are rude and pushy. Looks from strangers are harsh. Asking for directions seems like an open invitation to be mugged.

New Yorkers have no souls. New Yorkers eat their young. They prey on the tourists and newbies, luring them with their fancy restaurants and extravagant tour guides, until those poor folks stepped so far into the New Yorkers’ spitty mouths that they don’t even see the teeth closing in behind them.

And forget about that dream job. I waitress, being paid less than minimum wage, living off food stamps so I won’t go to bed with a growling stomach.

There are plenty of those “Gossip Bitches.” There aren’t “Friends” sitting on comfy couches in trendy coffee shops, relaxing, sipping a designer cup of joe, willful but graceless. I am getting no sex in this city. There’s no passion or romance. There’s no love, let alone intimacy. Dead hearts are everywhere, buried behind walls of closed, fleshy skin.

This is no ‘NoLiTa Fairytale.’ This is the Land of Far Far Away from Happily Ever Afters. Where the magic morphs into demons and you lose your $600 pair of Manolos in the back of a cab, never to be seen again. A land where you can party past midnight only if you have the ecstasy to or were drugged by that seemingly perfect Prince Charming.

Maybe luck comes in waves here, like the summer heat. Maybe my neighbor is correct; non-whites never get a break, even here. Maybe I’m just not supposed to be here.

I don’t know what it is about New York but I hate it. I despise it. I loathe it. I would kick the city around like a soccer ball and get pleasure when it rolled  out-of-bounds, into the mud.

Never in my life did I think one particular place could cause me so much pain. I once admired the city with so much conviction that you would have thought it was my lover. Me, little brown eyes from  Jersey, staring across the Hudson with thoughts of me, blown up to the size of King Kong, climbing up the Empire State Building, pounding at my chest with glee and courage. I conquered the BIG APPLE and took a massive bite at its core.

But like every man I’ve dated here, New York City ignored my affection and broke my heart.

I spend night after night, crying over you, NYC, wondering what the hell I did wrong. Here I am, plucking out my hair, picking at my skin, waiting for your call, your warm touch to ease my sorrows.

Can’t you see that I just want to be scooped up in your arms, New York, and feel embraced?

No, you can’t.

I cry the same way my grandmother did, back in 1947 when she first stepped off the train. Bastard city; you made my Nana cry.

New York City. The place where dreams come to die. And where I can barely survive. I go to bed, sobbing. Tears from both eyes that won’t stop falling. I just want this all to end…

But I wake up the next day, feeling somewhat refreshed and less like a zombie. I brush my bangs out of my eyes and welcome the sun’s rays who crawled up my fire escape and waited to steal away my negative thoughts. Lighting a cigarette and gazing from my brownstone’s window, the city waves a simple “Hello” to me and speaks like a parent, encouraging me to go on…

“Sorry, baby,” the city speaks, “that I’m so tough on you. I just want you to do your best. You can succeed. I know that you can. You know that you can. Remember what is inked on your wrist.”

I can feel the kisses the skyline blows at me. The beauty of possibilities hug at my heart. I finish my cig, put on my boots and leave, walking to the G train. Things are not perfect here in New York City and perhaps they never will be. The grime will always be there, along with the stench, subway rats and pick-pocketers. I could end up at the corner or Broadway and 34th one day, asking for someone’s spare change. I could end up drinking Earl Grey with rice milk in my corner office, replacing Anna Wintour’s business cards with my own.

You will never know what possibilities lie before you. Living here, even for this short time, I learned if you opened yourself up, things will happen. The openness and having some faith. Jobs will be had. Friends will be made. There will be adventures to create and boyfriends to lay at the end of the night.

It will happen. Somehow, New York City will make it happen.

Oh, NYC. I don’t love you but I always will.

Before I descend down the staircase to catch my train, I throw a nod to the buildings. Okay, I’m going to try. Try my best. To be successful. Maybe Old Blue Eyes was right, unlike my mother and those other nay-sayers. I will make it here because this place is better than everywhere. I just haven’t truly seen it yet.

I walk down the stairs with a smile on my face.

Welcome to New York City.