If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
These words play through my mind as I’m washing my hands in the bathroom at work. It’s the end of my fifth week at my new job as a content writer for Fareportal and I think maybe, in some small important way, I’ve made it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no big shot. I’m raking in a modest salary and spend my days writing quizzes that help you determine what sort of donut you are and can comfortably wear jeans and platform sandals at the office. But still, I feel a small glimmer of pride in what I’ve been able to do in my five months in New York.
I moved here because I sent a text to the one person I knew in the city way back in January:
“I’m thinking about moving to New York,” It read. “Know anyone that needs a roommate?”
“OMG,” I received her response in less than 30 seconds. “My coworker just walked in saying she needs a roommate.”
So I followed fate, or whatever it was, across the country and into the hipster neighborhood that I now live in, with a window that still doesn’t lock and a cabinet door that just swung off of its hinges entirely.
I came to the city as unsure of my footing as a newborn gazelle. I applied for upwards of ten jobs a day. I tried to explore my neighborhood, my borough, my city, but as each day passed and my inbox remained empty, the mounting fear of failure, of disappointment, of irreversible decisions weighed on me.
Each new month saw my rent check chew another bite out of my dwindling savings and my fears tried to morph into reality: could it be that I simply couldn’t make it in New York?
There’s no shame in not fitting into a city (or so I tried to tell myself), maybe New York was a place that I just liked visiting but couldn’t actually live in. But as I spoon fed myself these rationalizations, I realized a singular truth: I loved this city and it loved me back. Tough love, albeit. But love nonetheless.
“If you want to make it here,” It crooned in my ear, “You’ve got to do more than just try, you’ve got to believe that you can make it here.”
And so I tried a radical new thing: I tried to believe in myself, calling and emailing anyone and everyone whose Internet presence was not yet under lock and key to convince them that I’m worth a chance and a salary. I scheduled meetings in cafes and prodded my way into corner offices and called strangers with big titles and no available jobs. I sent out my work and pitched stories and researched publications and wrote every day. And finally, when my fingers felt like they might fall off from so much typing and my voice thought it might cease to work from all the small talk with strangers, I got three job offers.
“You haven’t quite made it yet,” The city whispered to me on my way back home to my hipster neighborhood after my fifth week of work as a writer in Manhattan. “But now I see that you believe that you can.”
The city’s right, I do believe that I can make it here.
If only so I can afford a place with locking windows and air conditioning.