i was in the backseat of my friend’s car riding past old apartments, cafes where i downed bottomless mimosas, howard’s campus where i went through my first period of growing pains – i was home. the city where family lived up the street no matter what quadrant i was in, i couldn’t turn a corner without seeing a familiar face, and where there are more flowers and trees that line the streets than trash. the persistent stiffness in my shoulders loosened and i was weakened with tears of gratitude. humbled by the refuge i found in those four quadrants, but also by the love of my friends that transcends the complexities of my new life.
living in new york has been romanticized in media for decades. yes, most of us who choose to live here seek the unparalleled opportunities this city has to offer. but it comes at a price. life in new york can be suffocating with insecurity, ulterior motives, and the constant hustle. there is a concerted effort to be made in order to seek the beauty of nature, or the authenticity of a friendship, or even a quiet corner to just breathe. found weekly metro cards, a seat on the train, or a commute less than an hour are small victories. getaways are a necessity in order to maintain sanity. still, there is no place that is more gratifying.