Dear New York,
Back in 2011, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. My partner at the time had just gotten accepted to NYU and I had decided to join him in his journey to the big apple. After all, since a High School trip to the city, I had always dreamed of living their and this looked like my golden ticket. We packed up our small Colorado Apartment and moved to an even smaller NYC apartment in lower Manhattan. Once settled in, we immediately went to work creating a life in the city and searching out adventure wherever we could find it.
My first weekend in the city, there was a hurricane. It would be the first of two that I would face while living here, and it perfectly captured just how insane my time here would be. There is a pace to this city that is so intoxicating. It makes you strive to fit in. To understand uptown and downtown and which village you’re in and who is doing what and where the next amazing thing is happening. It’s easy to get sucked in and we did. I began working a part time job, while continuing to pursue my passion as a comic writer. The funny thing about life, however, is that just when you think you’ve found what you want, your world shifts, your perspective changes.
Only two years after moving to the city, my relationship fell apart and I realized that writing comics didn’t make me as happy as it once had. I was unchallenged, unmotivated and a bit lost. But, if ever there is a place to lose your way, that place is most certainly New York. There are so many avenues to explore, and I mean that both literally and metaphorically. For the first time in my life, I was learning to believe in myself, to love myself even. I moved in with a close friend and started over. As I tried desperately to write a new script, a chance encounter of knowing a friend of a friend landed me my first book deal, and in writing A Love Story for Witches, I realized that I still loved writing, but how I wanted to pursue that career had changed.
In the year that it took me to write my first book, something I never dreamed of doing, I met someone who would go on to become a huge part of my life. Carl and I met as friends, but before long we grew to much more. By the time I reached the final phases of editing the book, Carl was 100% at my side, editing it and helping me to see my dream through. We moved very fast, living together after only a few short months, but we knew that we couldn’t deny the connection we’d formed. It was not the first love story my life scripted, but it was certainly the best one.
In October of 2014, we released A Love Story for Witches. The launch party was held at a job I had gotten thanks to a past manager who had seen something in me that even I had a hard time recognizing. For a long time, I had lived two lives: A career in writing, which was finally paying off, and a career in retail, which had allowed me to pay the bills for so many years. In Kiehl’s, I finally found a retail job which not only allowed me to thrive, but also became like a second family. I’d come from companies like Gamestop, Sur La Table and American Eagle where everyone, including myself, resided in a realm of constant depressions and hopes of something better. Yet on my first day with Kiehl’s, one of the VP’s came into our store, introduced herself and gave me a hug. I knew I had found something different. I knew I’d found a workplace where I could actually grow and enjoy my job.
In July of 2015, a new passion would be born. After a birthday trip to Disney World, which ended in my partner and I becoming engaged, I realized a love for the worlds of Walt Disney and my life would never be the same. Nearly a year later, during a training at work, I would learn that my company had plans for a new store in Orlando, and the second I found out about it, I knew I wanted to be there. Whatever it took, I would make it happen. I proposed the idea of moving to Carl, thinking he would bring me to my senses, but to my great surprise, he didn’t. He simply said “Alright, let’s do it.”
As our final big adventure in NYC, we got married, and though it was a small ceremony, to us it was perfect. My journey in New York has been a wild one. We’ve been fortunate enough to know some of the most incredible people in the world and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I won’t go naming names but you know who you are. We’ve had amazing adventures and eaten amazing food.
When I think of my time before New York, when I was in Colorado, I think about the fact that I grew up there. But here in NYC, this is where I became a grown up. This is where I learned to not only take care of myself but to take care of others. To live in the moment and to relish every second. It has been one amazing ride. From some of the lowest lows of my life to the highest highs, I wish I could thank everyone I’ve known here, from my closest friends to the barista who makes my coffee every morning. Whether you know it or not, you’ve changed me. You’ve left me a better person. You’ve helped me to learn and grow, and I will never be able to thank you enough.
So farewell New York. I’m sure we’ll meet again. This is not goodbye forever, it’s more of a “See you next time.” You’ve been incredible and even when I hated you so much I just wanted to escape, I respected you and looking back, I am so grateful for you. This city has inspired me enough for a lifetime. And as we look to our next adventure in sunny Orlando, I know that I will never forget this amazing city, nor the incredible food we ate here, and most importantly, the people who will forever be a part of our lives.
We can’t forget you. We won’t forget you. You are a part of who we are now, and we are the better for it.