Friday, January 12, 2018

The Road to New York City

As I close my 100-day mark in NYC, it occurs to me that not a lot of people know how I managed to finally make this move to the Big Apple! The reason I want to tell this story is because it is a true testament to trust and faith that things will work out the way they're supposed to; that beautiful things can happen, even in the midst of hopelessness.


May 2017. I had been trying to move to New York City for the better part of a year. I was living in Orlando and my situation was rocky. I was in the midst of a really complicated break up, I was artistically dry, and I knew I needed a change. Staying in Orlando just didn't make sense anymore. My heart was saying "New York, New York!", but it was clear that it wasn't the time. There were plans made over and over again, only to be repeatedly shot down. It felt like there were road blocks in every direction. So, I made the only decision that seemed to be clear of obstacles: I could move home.

That's how I ended up back in Cleveland, living with my parents, working with my dad, and spending most nights watching Frasier reruns. It was a really lonely summer. I realized that I couldn't really just slip back into my cozy little Cleveland life after being gone for two years. My friends were engaged, married, expecting, buying houses, moving away, starting careers, and I was... not. My relationship had gone down in flames, I had no direction, my best friends were a thousand miles away, home life was strained, I was sick all the time, I was totally lost. Thankfully I had an artistic opportunity at Cleveland Public Theatre, thanks to one of my CSU profs. You better believe I held onto that with everything I had, because other than that glimmer of light, I was entirely depressed.

The scariest part of about all of this for me was that I almost entirely lost my faith. I felt abandoned, particularly by God. I couldn't wrap my brain around why He would allow me to go through this sort of depression. Why was the rug constantly being pulled out from under me? Why had so many people let me down? Why was He saying no to my ambitions? Why was I sick every night? Why was my relationship over? All these questions cycled through my head 24/7. Even in my sleep, I would dream about these questions. It was exhausting. I was so frustrated with God. I was ANGRY at Him. Even sitting through church was impossible. Shout out to the stranger who approached me in the prayer garden outside St. Matthias after I had fled the sanctuary in a full blown panic attack after the opening hymn. I had been sitting there in front of the statue of Mary for probably 45 minutes, sobbing, when a man came up to me, handed me a worn card of St. Anne, and said something to the effect of, "I don't know what's going on, but remember it too will pass." I still keep that baseball type card in my wallet.


Anyway, I got some help. I saw a spiritual director and a therapist. I went on a retreat with my mom. I tried to help myself out of this hole that just seemed to be getting deeper. There were moments of serious clarity and happiness in this! At one point, I had made plans to hike a 500 mile pilgrimage across northern Spain (the Camino de Santiago, if you've heard of it). As luck would have it, every one of these moments was met with an equally powerful moment of deflation. That pilgrimage? It was canceled because of my health issues. Meanwhile, I had given up on New York. As much as I wanted to go, I concluded that it just wasn't in the cards for me. So I started looking for a full time job and an apartment in Cleveland. I found the perfect apartment and two different job prospects that seemed like sure things. I thought I was finally getting somewhere! They all fell through at the last second.

That was rock bottom. I remember standing in my parents' kitchen, home alone, crying, looking up to the ceiling, throwing my hands up in defeat and yelling "it's in your hands now God! I'm giving all of this to you because I can't handle it anymore!"

It had all culminated in that moment: the depression, the panic attacks, the illness, the loneliness, the hurt, the loss, the jobs, the apartment, the breakup, the defeat, the road blocks, all of it. I threw it all in God's lap because I was collapsing under the weight and He was the only one who could take it. You know how people talk about "giving it up to God" and "a weight off your shoulders" and all the other sayings like that? I always understood them in theory but had never really experienced that sensation. That is, until that moment. For the first time all summer, I felt at peace.


Just a couple days after that, I went to New Jersey to visit my best friend, Kasey. I spent a week there, hanging out, shopping, enjoying some time away from Cleveland. It's only a short 45 minutes to NYC from her town, so I went into the city a few days and saw some friends. Then, PLOT TWIST, the craziest thing happened! I saw on Facebook that one of my old friends from Cleveland, who I hadn't seen in years, was leaving New York to go back home and was looking for people to fill her position at Kleinfeld (yes, of Say Yes to the Dress). On a whim, I sent my resume through. Within three days I had a job offer! Nora had also told me that she needed to sublet her room in her apartment in Manhattan and asked if I was interested. Needless to say, I went back to Cleveland and told my parents I was moving to New York City!

I was home for three days. I packed up everything I could fit in two suitcases, got a few boxes ready to be shipped out to me, booked a flight, and made the move! It was amazing insanity. I still can't believe it happened that way.

I don't tell this story looking for sympathy or pity. I tell it because I KNOW there are others out there suffering with similar things. I know we've all experienced at least one of these feelings before. I'm here to tell you that THINGS. WORK. OUT. The key is trust. It wasn't until I fully trusted God, and put every ounce of strength I had into doing so, that the door finally opened. All the rejection was because something bigger and better, something that I actually WANTED was ready for me. I just needed to be ready for it. I wouldn't be ready until I let go of all that weight. And now, here I am, 100 days into my Big City adventure, and I am beyond grateful for the outcome of that summer. I suffered, but out of the suffering came something truly amazing. I am living out my dream! I am healthy, I am motivated, and I am finding my place. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle with some stuff. Some days are still hard. But I keep trying to remember what it felt like to give it up to the Lord. As they say, "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).


1 comment:

  1. I loved reading this, because it is so true that so many go through a rollercoaster and so many times we need to throw up our hands and release it to God. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, it is truly inspiring! I love watching your facebook posts and I'm cheering you on!