Creative Nonfiction: Adapt, Don’t Change

There’s no getting around it:  New York will change you.  You may walk a little faster.  You may avoid meeting eyes with that passerby on the street.  You become a little bit tougher.

That’s not always bad.  You see, change is inevitable.  Change is sometimes good.  Sometimes bad.  Most times, it’s uncontrollable.  The one person I can control is me.  I decided long ago not to let this city change me in a negative way.

***

Before I moved here I was told I wouldn’t make it here.  It was a clear, crisp autumn night and after many rounds of oversized frozen cocktails at BBQ’s I was tipsy, tired, and tipsy.  Don’t forget tired.  The only place I wanted to be was in bed and not the planned walk around downtown Brooklyn.

“I don’t think you’re going to make it here.  You’re not strong enough.”

Two years later, those words still come to mind as I steel myself to fight. 

I go to battle each time I get on the train.  I wrestle to get off the train.  I wage war on  platforms, darting between slow walkers and the clueless ones.  I scrap to get off the platform.  I hurl myself down the street.  I fight to get on and off the elevator. 

I grapple to get to the bartender at the bar during happy hour.  I brawl to get the attention of the makeup artist at MAC.  I wrestle to get to the Target checkout line. 

I fight.  Everywhere.

I’ve had the greatest of highs and the most devastating, crushing lows here.  Still, I’ve made it.  I’m making it.  Each and every day.

***
The misconception is you have to be rude and coldhearted to live here.  In my experience, that’s not true.  I’ve come across many people – strangers – who have greeted me and helped more than I ever imagined.  I have adapted but I won’t change everything about who I am.

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