For a long time I was set on moving to the city (Manhattan) and living there for the rest of my life. It was always a perfect fit. My mother worked in the city, so I got to experience it for myself all the time. I loved the rush, the sounds, the constant hustle and bustle. My mother would take me in, we would always take the bus and subway, and I would stay with her at her job; waiting and watching all the glamorous people walking by in the streets and thought, that’s going to be me someday. I dreamed of getting a high-profile, luxurious job. I dreamed of living in a brownstone with my family. I dreamed of having a little girl and getting dressed to the nines with her and going out to live our fabulous Big City lives. My mother would always say, “you don’t want to live in the city, it’s expensive, it’s crowded, it’s dirty.” Of course, me being young, ignored her and kept on dreaming. I attempted to go to LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, but before I could even audition, my parents talked me out of it. Instead, I went to a high school in Queens-and to be quite honest, I don’t regret it. Instead of high school, I finally got my dream to attend school in the city for college. I attended two different colleges during the five years I completed, and that is when my love of the city diminished. It was a major hassle getting around the city-with a car, with buses, with the subway system. Either there was a traffic jam, or the bus didn’t arrive on time, or the subway service was suspended, rerouted, or delayed. I’d have to leave an hour and a half early from my house to get to my classes by 8AM. That meant leaving my house at 6:30AM. When I finally finished my classes, I had to get on the train during rush-hour and deal with rude people, crowding, and no seats. I was not impressed. I would go into the city with my boyfriend (now husband) during the summer to go to the zoo or Central Park, or during Christmas-time, when the streets and windows are lit up with holiday cheer. We would walk down Fifth Avenue and ooh and ahh at the twinkling lights on the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, go into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, watch the Saks Fifth Avenue mini-show on the side of the building, and stare into the stores that we could never afford anything in. Yet, even that stopped. First we stopped going into the city during the summertime and then, about four years ago, we stopped doing Christmastime in the city. I really don’t know what happened…maybe it was me. Actually, it definitely was me. The train ride itself now gives me serious anxiety and I always have to take the car in. And a car in the city isn’t always a good idea. I am currently in a position at my job which makes me go into the city at least once a month – I always drive. It’s true that at times I have a yearning to enjoy myself like I once did in Manhattan, but that’s all it is-a yearning. Not an actuality anymore. I still love to spend Christmastime in Manhattan, but that’s about it. I no longer envision myself living in the Big City. That dream is dead and gone. I guess maybe I have grown and my dreams have matured. At least I hope that’s the reason.
I sometimes get into my own head. When I say sometimes, I mean all the time – often – perpetually. When things are going right, I know something will happen to change it. When things are going badly, it will always stay that way. I’m not sure whether I am a pessimist at heart, but at times it sure feels that way. Even with all the people in my life supporting me, I see “friends” and become envious and hurt when they hang out without me. It’s dumb and childish. I know that these “friends” aren’t friends at all and that I have MUCH better ones. So what makes me the way I am? It’s probably because of the way I was treated when I was much younger. Yes, another sad sob story about a girl who was bullied. True. From the moment I moved to my house with my parents in 1995/1996, I was always the outcast, the outsider. All the kids in elementary school treated me like the freak. Why? Because of my asymmetrical eyes. A minor detail at most now, but in elementary school apparently it was a humongous issue. The blindness and smallness of my right eye was always the topic of discussion in school. I’d be called “cyclops”, “freak”, “one-eyed monster”, etc. Daily. No one helped me, no one backed me up. I had no friends. I remember walking down the block of my school, walking home, when two of the “popular girls” grabbed my back-pack, pulled me toward them, and repeated to me over and over that I was nothing, that I was a freak and no one cared about me. I remember having a birthday party at home and having one of those “popular” girls come to my home with her mother, and her MOTHER telling my mom that they came “because we knew no one else would show up.” I remember having a bunch of boys in school relentlessly tormenting me daily, including throwing ice balls at me during the winter. I remember hanging out at the bus stop on the first day of school with a girl I’d hung out with all summer, only to have her completely ignore me and then taunt me when other kids started showing up. There are a bunch more, but why bother to bring those other moments up? All I know that from grade 1 to grade 7, I had no one to count on but my family. I learned quickly that the ONLY people you could count on was your family. My parents were always a foundation of strength for me, as well as my grandmother. She was the greatest source of love I’ve ever encountered. I am truly grateful for them. I learned that everyone is an acquaintance until they prove their worthiness to you. Family will always be by your side, through good and bad.