Two things sparked my thoughts last night about New York City and my place in it.
First – My two beloveds and I began reminiscing about our life in Boulder. It all started when Ashay was suddenly experiencing pangs of nostalgia and missing our life in Colorado – things like long, beautiful hikes, open space, glorious mountains, our larger home, and, well, cleaner smelling air. Akasha quickly caught this train of thinking and expressed her love of the town she grew up in and the home we all shared. Intellectually she was pretty aware that Ashay and I would relocate to NYC, but when her holiday break from college rolled around, it tossed her for a loop when it became clear that this would be her new home to visit. It would seem that her love for NYC and her affection for Boulder could not coexist. And so we all went deeply into what we loved about Boulder and what we would miss – Ashay and Akasha did, indeed, feel it all a little more than I did. As we wrapped up our end-of-the-day Boulder retrospection, everyone did their nighttime routine, and one by one, drifted into slumber.
The second event that elicited some thoughts about my decision to stick with NYC and see what kind of magic can happen was this – around 1:00 a.m. I couldn’t sleep, and going against any healthy recommendation to stay off of electronics when unable to snooze, my fingers glided their way to Instagram. I happened upon a post that Debbie Allen had made about celebrating the anniversary of the movie Fame. Oh, that movie. If my recollection is correct, I saw Fame at the age of 17. I was stunned for a midwestern girl growing up in a relatively small town in Ohio. How I wanted to be in New York – to dance, sing, act – anything that could bring out the performer in me. With a belief so deep in my heart that I belonged in the city, I was going to end up there without one iota of doubt. I had a lot of stops along the way, college in Ohio, grad school in southern Illinois, professional life in Chicago, and then moving to Boulder. Well, it took me 39 years, but I’m here. And I still have to believe that I owe it to myself to give it the ole college try. I want to be inspired by the people, the antics, the culture. I want to create, both as a choreographer and a writer. I want to wake up in this sleepless city and live, really live.
I know living here is complex, the population and architecture dense, and yes… the smell, the smell is really something sometimes. The occasional smell and grit of the city remind me that life is gritty. But if I have learned anything about my years on this earth, it is this – sometimes, you can find a metaphor for just about everything. This world is socially and politically pungent. The reality is we need to see the challenges, embrace them, and then fight for change.
I know I’m not gonna live forever, and people may not remember my name. But, I’m going to reach for the limitless sky and see what happens. And so I’m fighting for this city. I’m just hoping it reciprocates.