In February of 2012, I was elected editor-in-chief of my school's paper. I had an awesome apartment on the outskirts of Historic Downtown Savannah, Ga. where I had a fierce group of neighbors who acted as family. As such, I was never alone. My rent was cheap, we ate well and the drinks flowed under Spanish moss I have yet to see since.
In August, I accepted a paid internship where I'd be writing in New York City. On a porch on Barnard St. just past 37th Street in Savannah, a dear friend asked me a question I hadn't given much thought to and knew that coming North would be the only way I could. "Wouldn't you rather be a big fish in a small pond?"
In September, I registered for a last e-learning course with no intention of completing my degree -- around the same time I severed financial ties from my family and began my first month back in New York City a decade after leaving.
The euphoria, the young-adult illusions of grandeur, quickly faded.
In December, I was fired from my job as a line cook in Williamsburg and left the internship -- my only two sources of income aside from spotty freelance gigs. Then a few months later, my roommates moved away from New York and left mid-lease. Money started running low. A sick feeling crept upon me.
That, of course, inaccurately describes my first six months in New York. I didn't mention the girl I fell in and out and back in love with; the way seeing One World Trade tickles me; the editors and writers that I met who continue to shape me in craft and early-adulthood. Yet, six months isn't such a long time when I consider the night I promised myself one thing.
Having spent the prior week packing up my tiny studio and locking my car's trunk, a docile cat in the passenger seat next to me, I sped up I-95 toward New York. I was as tough a romantic as the city I'd come to idolize since growing up here and I wouldn't go anywhere else to answer my friend's question.
Now I'm here, peering out at the row of Brownstones adjacent to my own. The sun is up but I can barely make out the cranes working atop One World Trade. My bags are packed once more and I'm off to my third apartment: the beginning of the second half of my first year.
I currently report on the quirky enclaves of wondrous people in New York City for several publications. Here I will hyper-focus that attention on Brooklyn and life as the hipster culture ebbs into maturity.
This was a place we'd never speak of as children living in Manhattan. It was too dangerous, too far out. Now I call it home along with the many other Yankees rejuvenated in the South only to find their way back North -- my knees trembling, though they may be.