the shelah marie

encouraging healthy women from the inside out.

The Road to NYU: Potholes

You know when you’re sick and you don’t have an appetite? You know you should probably be eating, but just can’t manage? Well, that explains my absence from the blogsphere. I have been experiencing violent mood swings, highs and lows, ups and downs, and to be honest, just didn’t want it to show. I couldn’t bear sharing it all with – well, anyone with internet access. Nonetheless, I forced myself to write all of this. I did so to share with any other people in my situation, or people planning to become in this situation. I want to help shape a realistic (or maybe just a personal and whiny) depiction of what a move such as this can be like.

Mama said there’d be days like this didn’t she? Long story short, I lost an apartment that I had every intention of moving into just three days before my move-in date. So, now in addition to my heavy load of graduate research and writing I have to turn in as the summer semester ends in 9 days, I have to find a place to live, somewhere to store my stuff in the meantime, and the money to put down on another apartment. I honestly think it was a blessing in disguise because I had an uneasy feeling about that agency anyway, but the timing is just really bad. Can timing for something like that ever be good?

All this would be bearable if I had a support system up here. It’s so hard. Harder than I thought. I thought I was strong, invincible, I thought I could do anything. I’ve traveled around the world by myself, so I thought, “New York –easy.” Not so much. There are several unique circumstances that have made this move especially difficult.

  1. LDR, also known as a “long distance relationship.” Nuff said.
  1. Entering into a very intense, critical theory based graduate program. Again, I went to undergrad, I got A’s and shit in high school. I thought graduate school would be hard, but manageable without much struggle. Well, I was right and wrong. Graduate school will vary depending on the way the program is structured, your academic  and cultural background as well as lived experiences. I have plenty of colorful experiences but my grammar, writing and theory put me at a bit of a disadvantage coming into this program.So it's good because my experiences can make for interesting writing and projects, but it's drawback in the actual process of that work.
  2. Entering into a very intense, critical theory based graduate program that’s extremely expensive. I knew it was NYU, I knew it was expensive – but there is a difference from reading a tuition bill and getting here. That time lapse between getting to know the ins and outs of a city in order to not be ripped off at every corner has really done me in. At least once a day I wonder if this was the right decision.
  3. Location. This is New York City. See The Village? Good. My campus is located in the East Village and my dorm is also. Living in this particular area is a double edge sword. It’s great because it’s beautiful, lively, close to campus, and surrounded by great diners, cafes, shops and other fun stuff. I mean, this is probably the only time in my life I could afford to live here. It’s really swanky. Now, for the downside. Because I’m new to the city and I don’t have a clique, I find socializing a bit hard here. The dorm I live in is populated by mostly freshman undergrad, who are mostly at a higher economic status than myself. Not to say that there aren’t other students in a very similar situation as myself here – but I haven’t met them. And the population outside the dorm is largely trendy, hipster, mostly white, fit, slim and modelesque. Maybe I’m overgeneralizing a bit, but this is just how I see it. So, in turn I’ve developed a gradual sense of insecurity. It wasn’t until I saw FELA! (ah-ma-za-zing) that I realized, “Oh, I’m down on myself because I don’t see any black bodies!” I do see people of color here and there, but I think because I don’t have a social circle to hang out with, my options are limited for seeing and meeting people. And may I add strangely hot summer without A/C?
  4. I’m spoiled. My family may not be rich in the green stuff, but I am used to being surrounded by people who are invested in my well-being. They care if I had a nightmare and stayed up the rest of the night, they care if I’m not eating, if I just want a hug, or if I got lost in the city all day and just want to cry. They care about the stupid shit that I make a big deal out of. But here, people don’t -- not because they’re mean or assholes, but no one here is invested in me because they don't know me. Yet. It will probably develop over time, but this transition period as been so difficult because I’m not used to people not caring. It’s tough world.

[Crying like a baby provided ]

In the midst of all my complaining I got a very inspiring message.

The other day I met up with a friend I knew from high school and we went to a barbecue. She’s up for an intensive summer acting course at Tisch School of The Arts, which culminates in an audition for their prestigious Graduate Acting Program. I immediately became a little jealous. I want to go to that program; I wanna have a golden ticket to Broadway and stardom (we all know it doesn’t happen that way but still).  We're on the subway back from Queens and she’s telling me about her audition pieces when she suddenly bursts out with,

“you are the reason I applied to Tisch.”

What? Huh? Ahummunnahumma?

She begins to tell me that by looking at my website and reading my blog (which I’m sure is read by a total of 15 people including my friends and family) and because of my story she got a little jealous and decided to out-do me by applying herself! She was completely honest about it, seeing my move from South Florida to New York meant she had to prove that she could do it too. I think it’s hilarious – and great. If that’s what she needed to get her butt up here – wonderful. I don’t care about intentionality, I care about doing what I love and others do the same. I’m not claiming altruistic in any way (if there even is such a thing), but I was very touched and honored that this silly little writing and all the worries I have amounted to something.

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

Japanese proverb