Below the Belt

Notes from the Trenches: Living, Working, and “Making It” in New York City

So many things have transpired since my last post. Shall I begin with events of epic proportions or should I start with the humble nuances in my life? Hmm… let’s just start with the epic! Well, for starters, I left Houston and moved to New York to work for a very prominent magazine corporation. It is a temporary position scheduled to end in December, but I am grateful for the educational experiences that I’ve incurred thus far.

Currently, I live in what real estate agents would advertise as a “cozy” apartment. It is only after countless hours of apartment hunting on Craigslist that I have come to realize that “cozy” is much less about comfort and much more about the size. I can walk the length of my apartment in just over 27 steps. It is incredibly small. I am renting out the bedroom of a one-bedroom apartment in the Midtown area. It’s a far cry from the “apartment with a view” that I was expecting to live in. For $1,100 a month, I have the luxury of a 10×8 square foot bedroom with the privacy of a curtain instead of a door and a window that opens to a brick wall of the bathroom in the apartment; a living room that is essentially off-limits as it doubles as my roommate’s bedroom, a kitchen which I do not use because my roommate is so particular about seemingly everything including what I throw away in the trashcan. As a result, I have limited my activity in the kitchen to merely using the sink and the microwave. My roommate is a peculiar middle-aged woman (just shy of 40) who doesn’t work, has a very limited and particular diet, enjoys singing and bobbing about listening to Britney Spears’ classic, “Baby One More Time,” and claims to be “green” and “very holistic” but uses plastic trash bags,  Clorox bleach wipes, Johnson and Johnson body wash, and dyes her hair with things other than henna. Perhaps we define these eco-friendly terms differently. Last time I checked, plastic was non-biodegradable; bleach, etc contains harsh toxins and is considered an unnatural cleaning agent.

Maybe two weeks ago, after showering and leaving for work, I received a text from her claiming that I clogged the shower drain because I use “unnatural” products, and now as a result she’s been forced to buy Drain-O. Of course, we’ll overlook the notion that more than half of the world’s occupants do not use “all-natural” products, clear by the number of Duane Reade’s and Walgreens stores with aisles stocked with products such as Pantene Pro-V, Herbal Essences, Suave, and Garnier products. Needless to say,  I’ve since heavily considered buying a gym membership so that I do not have to shower there anymore and have begun making all efforts to avoid her. To speak well of her and frame her in a good light in your eyes, dear reader, I’ll simply state that she is crazy. Seriously. Psychotic.

As for my life in the magazine industry, it must remain somewhat of a secret, but to sum it up in a sentence, it is a frantic and hurried environment. I have been able to write a bit which has been wonderful, although I am told that the work has been published for a blog instead of the magazine.  It is a lifestyle very similar to The Devil Wears Prada. Poor Andrea Sachs. One does not realize the difficulty of being an assistant until one is tasked with running down to the store for “an assortment of chocolate Truffles. Like good chocolates.” Naturally, because said “store” is not a chocolaterie, they do not sell a wide array of chocolate truffles. They sell one brand in an “assortment” of eight flavors. Who knew chocolate could induce so much stress?!

Living in the City, however, is a completely different experience. Of course, uprooting from a place you know as “home” and moving to a new place is a somewhat ostracizing experience. However, the loneliness one can feel living alone in a place like New York City is overwhelming at times. For a city that is larger than life, it’s easy to feel like a speck in the canvas of the grand scheme of things. While I do not regret moving here at all, I do wish that I would have taken more time to consider the act of actually living in the city, and allowed myself time to sit in the melancholy that could ensue from transplanting to such a monstrous, vibrant, engulfing city. I have come to understand, however, that God has deemed this a time of solitude for me to press into Him and not into my own desires or preconceived plans.

My anthem for the summer post-graduation was Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.” I heard it blaring from a car speeding through union square today and tried to remind myself if the promise that song held just a month ago, and how I’m better off now than I was even just 30 days ago.

The truth is, the fruit of your life will be what you believe you are. It will not come with ease. Greatness does not itself manifest ok those who find comfort in living lackadaisically. Give yourself the opportunity to experience the exhaustion that comes from being extraordinary!

Until next time! À bientôt! VL

Categories: Below the Belt

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