Four Years In NYC

Four years ago today, I stood in the doorway of my college apartment, surveying the scene. My room an explosion of belongings that needed to be packed. My desk littered with souvenirs- a graduation cap, a program from my final college performance “Extremities”, a huge stack of papers awaiting their fate: the recycling bin or the filling folder. My waste-paper basket full to the brim with tear streaked and snot-filled tissues. There were a million things I needed to do, I was moving to New York City in four short days; so, true to college form, I procrastinated. I sat down at my desk, opened my ailing Thinkpad laptop and began my first blog post ever, titling it “Four Days“. I let the words flow from my fingers, unlike most of my later posts, not concerning myself with story arch. I had little idea of where my life was going, aside from location and the same went for my fledgling blog. Would I have anything to write about once I moved? Only time would tell.

New York Cliché’s 4th blogiversary: a time for reflection and cake!
(click image for photo credit)

Well, time has told. Here I sit, four years later perhaps to the minute, in my little apartment in the heart of Manhattan. There are parallels- my room is in some state of packing, story arch is not the focus of this post, and the path of my life is still unsure- perhaps more so than ever. I could stop there, leave it at that, taking comfort in ambiguity. But I’m brave, I am. I’ve said it before, “I am brave”, but actions speak louder than words.

I feel expected to sugarcoat my life. Everyone else is, and it’s so easy to do. You can make everything look perfect on Facebook- like you’re always smiling, always busy doing amazing things with the best and most attractive friends, your relationship is perfect, and all your accomplishments are significant. This is the norm. I talk to my friends, have a drink and an actual conversation with them, and then I go online and feel sickened by how airbrushed our lives are. I feel like Holden Caulfield, I want to cry and call everyone a phony. I sit in Central Park, my doubts weighing heavy on me. I don’t want to reveal them to anyone, not even my best friend. And there’s an irony of Woody Allen proportions: I’m ashamed of my insecurities and ashamed I’m to scared to admit those insecurities to anyone. Everyone on my newsfeed is getting married or getting into grad school. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have it figured out?

Four years ago, I was so sure of what I wanted to do with my life. I was moving to New York, I was going to be an actor, and fuck anyone who said I couldn’t do it. Four years of living in NYC, I no longer have that confidence. I am unsure of my talent, and beyond that, unsure I have the relentless drive and perseverance that is even more important than raw talent. “What’s my motivation?” -the old actor cliché. “Where’s my motivation?” is my more current dilemma, one that can be paralyzing.

This picture of me, (c) Howard Kerrart, strangely captures my feelings about life right now. The last grasps of my childhood that seems further and further in the distance, perhaps leaving the “dark age” of my early 20’s, and what lies ahead? No one knows. With all the possibilities of symbolism, it’s a great picture, no?

As I typed that last paragraph, tears rolled down my checks. Part sadness, yes, but more so a release. It’s something I’ve needed to admit. Something I’ve needed to say. It’s vulnerability: my biggest fear, and we’ve all heard the best way to manage fear is to confront it.

Four years in NYC, two months from turning 26, and so much is unsure. I’m not sure I can give up on acting, yet. I’m not sure what else I want to do. I doubt whether I’ll ever fall in love. I’m not sure I’ll ever want kids. I’m not sure if I want to stay in New York City. I’m not sure where else I’d want to go.

Yet, in four years, I have figured somethings out for sure. I know for sure, when I am on stage and performing a character, I feel incredibly fulfilled and in-my-element. I know I’ve brought many people joy from my performances. For sure nothing makes me feel more accomplished than connecting with a person, watching their face light up with laughter because of something I did. For sure I am not happy working behind a desk. I know for sure I will never again date a 19 year-old. I know I am not giving up on love. I know for sure I have amazing friends in New York. I know I have people who would listen to my insecurities and fears, and be more than happy to help me anyway they can, if I wasn’t scared to ask. For sure that conversation would have me crying (I am unsure if I’m ready for that.) I know just typing all this is a step in the right direction.

One thing I know, without a doubt, is I am immensely proud of this blog. It is something I control 100%- the polar opposite of the acting world, in which I only control my performance, a comparatively small percentage of a whole piece. Sometimes, it is my creative solace. I am so grateful to each and everyone of you reading this, whether you’ve stuck with me for four years or four days, for being a part of my solace. Thank you. Happy Birthday, NewYorkCliche.com!

I’m looking toward the future. To figuring things out, getting motivated, having no need for airbrushing.

Another thing I know for sure? I love New York City. Thank you for four fantastic years.

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

12 thoughts on “Four Years In NYC

  1. Excellent post, and beautiful photo. I know EVERYONE can relate to that feeling of looking at their online friends’ lives and being deceived by their apparent perfection. I think it’s rarely the reality. Most people at some point second-guess everything they do, and there’s a reason the “untag” button exists– we only want to be represented in flattering light. And those who really do have it all together? They do for now, but they probably didn’t before, and they most likely won’t again.

    And congrats on four years in the big city and on your blog! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts over the past few weeks. I recently added Hunter College to my potential grad school list and literally had the thought, “If I move there, I’m going to be a New York cliche!” And then thought of your awesome blog, of course.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂 That people can relate: that was my final push in writing this post. I definitely know people who go to Hunter! If you move here it’ll be awesome & I hope you’ll guest post for me teehee 🙂

  2. Reading this came at an incredibly appropriate time for me, as you probably could figure out. I’m right where you were four years ago.
    I will say this: the honesty in that post ran right through me. Being vulnerable really is something people try their best to avoid, me included. So, thank you for that. Truly. And Congratulations!

    1. Yep, I read your packing up/leaving college post and it really brought me back 4 years! Hard, we all know, but there’s something beautiful about vulnerability, really human, and it’s special in it’s fleeting nature. I’m getting more comfortable with it as I get more comfortable with myself.

  3. Everything you’re feeling right now is totally normal, especially the part about how you feel unsure of yourself. (I had my own quarterlife crisis when I was your age, too.) Your mid-twenties are very different from your late teens/early twenties (the college years), because by the time you reach 25 or 26 you’ve spent more time in “the real world”; you’ve learned that real life is not like it is in the movies, and it can be a little disheartening sometimes.

    When I was in my 20s I wasn’t sure I wanted kids either. But once I hit my 30s I started thinking about motherhood more and more, partly because my biological clock was ticking and partly because having my own family really is something I want.

    You don’t necessarily have to have everything figured out right now, though. I think that your 20s are a good time to explore all the paths that are open to you, and it sounds like you’ve been doing that.

  4. This was such a heartfelt post. It takes a lot of courage to put your true feelings out there. And I think it takes a lot of courage for a woman in her early 20s to set off on her own to pursue her dreams. And you can look back after 4 years and be proud of that! Don’t worry about everyone else and their “perfect” lives. Nobody’s life is so perfect. xx

    1. Thanks for thinking I have courage AND for reading my blog! Perfect combo 🙂 And you’re so right, no one is perfect and I wouldn’t even want to be perfect if it was possible! Sounds boring!

  5. I love you so much my sweet cousin! Follow your heart and your intuition. Take your time. It will all make sense when it needs to.
    Xoxxo

  6. I came here about 4 years ago, too, so this has interesting parallels. I feel a lot of the same things, but if I said them in a blog, they’d probably come out more bitterly. So, I have to say, nice job at not sounding crazy and bitter. 🙂

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