I haven’t written in a lengthy time yet again. It’s been now three months since I moved to New York City, and well. It has been all but anything less than mixed bag of challenges. Some small victories. And generally a constant barrages of me asking myself if I made the right decision. The original plan was to blog my journey so far in the city. And frankly, I suck at the “daily diary” type blogging and it made me feel unmotivated at best. And that to me was a sign. We’re going to what I know. And that’s me. Sure it’s going to be a little more anecdotical but I’ll still sprinkle in a few special items.
But where do I begin on this hiatus I took? What is the point I start at and what is the point I stop? Let’s begin with the story thus far. I made the first mistake moving into Washington Heights. While the initial cost savings were a blessing. The emotional and personal cost was quite high. I can quite figure out people today and I won’t pretend to. But to put it in perspective. Let me explain it this way. As a Black man I have seen my share of injustices. But now to the be the unwilling victim of more because I am a man is wrong. Plus to do it in a way to keep me powerless is far worse. I mean seriously, I read about what fellow black people went through with Jim Crow laws and becoming truly free. And if you’ve heard about my stop in Virginia you know I’ve experienced it too. We were powerless and to be the victim of someone with a vendetta against men was not in my program. So I can say I was charged more for rent merely because of a penis. That was the welcome for me in the city. I had no allies and no support. It was me versus the world it felt.
Then there was all the problems with the housing situation. Which related back to the whole I had a penis so I’m paying more in rent with no protection legally (in a way.) Black mold, leaking ceilings, mice, cockroaches, and a superintendent who intentionally would enter without notice. It’s not the living situation I even anticipated. I mean, the people I lived with argued the problem was because of me. That had I never came none of this would’ve happened. Or it is due to the fact that I am unclean male. If you ask my mother she’d be hard-pressed to hear that I am a dirty slob. That I live in filth and expect a woman to clean up after myself. Yet, this is the state of where I am. The gaslighting by the other roommates to tell the landlord that it was mere exaggerating is more than enough to sour anyone’s experience.
And now comes the point where you ask me is it still worth it? Is it still worth moving a place that rent cost 4x times that of Montgomery County Pennsylvania. A place that is so densely packed with people an average trip to the grocery store can take over an hour just to pick up bread and milk. Eggs are $4.99 at the local grocery store. If you’re a smoker quit now cigarettes are $12 (I don’t smoke.) And now I’m just trailing off because the question I asked and get asked still sits perfectly perched on my keyboard. Was it worth it?
Yes. Okay. That was weird. Expecting anything different? No. I truly mean that. New York has made me hungry for more. I love my job. Being surround by startups and this young vibrant culture of people needing to make it themselves. Makes me want to do more. I’m also black and I know quite well about that. Being in NYC reminded me of an article from FastCompany by Lydia Dishman titled How These Black Founders Are Building Startups without Investors. In it she talks about how Black founders are under-represented and not to mention women too. As the system shows minorities have to fight hard to be anything more. And that is what I am talking about. New York City is the mecca for startups this is where Uber, Warby-Parker, Amazon, Casper, and some of the other big names you know came from here. If you’re hungry it’s either here or California. And being part of it is what I wanted for a very long time. So you get your foot in the door with something you enjoy. A job that makes you want more and you start there. For me being a minority I just want to take every chance I can get.
It’s crazy to think in a place where cash is king, that I’m sitting here talking about opportunities. But isn’t that the truth of it all? You take every one you get. You know where you want to be and you know what you want to do next. You have to start and keep running every chance you get and I can’t stop. I look at it and I want to ask what have I done. But that’s not the way to think about this. It should be about what I am going to do next. And you can ask the question hat have you done because that’s the experience part of it. But it shouldn’t be a feeling of regret or of self-doubt. It should be really what it does to create the next opportunity. In Star Wars: Rogue One Jyn Erso has a line that sums this all up so nicely. She says:
They’ve no idea we’re coming. No reason to expect us. If we can make it to the ground, we’ll take the next chance… and the next, on and on, until we win… or the chances are spent.
That’s exactly how I feel about being here in NYC. Maybe it is just me I truly believe we have to keep going until all our chances run out. Because how do we know if we’ve failed unless we keep going. Either we give up now or keep going until we’ve tasted failure. And even then failure isn’t the end. Just the question we have to ask ourselves of “what can I learn to improve myself next.” So yeah, sure this has been a challenge 3 months. But I’m going to keep taking my chances. Because that’s all I have and I’ll keep working at it.