How many of you have seen Harriet the Spy (1996)? Chiiile, if you haven’t, you need to stop what you are doing and immediately see if this gem is still available on Hulu or Netflix. I’m sure someone uploaded a recording of their VHS tape in like 12 parts on YouTube. Anyways, there’s a scene where Harriet’s nanny, Golly, takes her and her best friends to this “garden-meets-art exhibition.” Ran by the ever eclectic Miss W, Golly remarks, “There are as many ways to live in this world as there are people in this world, and each one deserves a closer look.” Now as a twenty-something, I realize the beauty and validity of her statement. We live in a culture that’s so quick to pass judgement. The overstimulation of a digital world where Twitter fingers lead most of us to speak out before taking the moment to reflect on the gravity of our words. Otherness is viewed with fear and hesitation. Talks of a physical barricade keep appearing in the news. It’s just a crazy fucking world.
But that’s what I love about New York. That otherness is mostly accepted. Since I’ve moved here, I’m constantly surrounded by interesting people with unique backgrounds, beliefs, and ideologies—many differing from my own. But I learn something new each day about myself through these vessels. How do I react when a homeless man who probably hasn’t bathed in weeks enters the subway train? Why do I feel this way? Do I dress differently than most men working in Midtown? Why do I feel a wave of insecurity at the gym? Holden Caulfield may think New York is full of phonies, but it hosts an energy that allows you to confront some of the most terrifying parts of yourself. Maybe that’s just what your twenties are. A weird, confusing stage in which you try to navigate a career, your fantasies, love and more—all while trying to find a sense of direction. There’s a sense of freedom here.
That’s what I’m trying to embrace. Those moments where I come closer to understanding myself more and celebrating those moments. Over the past year, I went through a major change. I regained my control. I stopped feeding into the bullshit idea that I was stuck in an awful position. I created a list of things that I want to accomplish and brainstormed ways of how to achieve them. This sounds super cliché, but it worked.
Suddenly, doors started to open and I met some creative people who became teachers, collaborators, and friends. Issa Rae said, and I’m paraphrasing, that you shouldn’t try to work with someone who’s already made it or is on a higher level. You should work with your friends who are “hustling and hungry” too. That was a game changer for me. I was meeting creators who are down in the trenches with me. Constantly making art and perfecting their crafts. It’s these people that reminded me that I too am an artist. Music, dance, literature, photography, and film. These are things that fulfill me. I had to get back to that, which as a result, led myself back to me.
So, that’s what this year is about. A continuation of my journey to unveil new discoveries and manifest all that is mine. So go and give yourself another look. You’d be surprised at what you find and all that you’re capable of.