With Love, New York City

June 23, 2004

In 2004, I sold everything I owned, bought a one-way plane ticket. It was $273. I arrived in NYC on June 22nd with two small suitcases. I didn’t have a job, a place to live, any close friends, and I had no idea what... a gift it would be to live in this crazy, big-little city.

I came here broken.
I came here in the midst of massive grief.
I came here because depression had a such strong hold on me and I wasn’t sure if I would find my way out of it.

I didn’t exactly choose NYC.
It chose me.

I’d visited The City five months prior to audition for graduate school for my MFA in the middle of a blizzard in January. I was accepted into one of the best programs in the country, but I chose not to go, because if you don’t know it, acting schools break you open to teach you about vulnerability in hopes to help you create authentic characters, and at that point I was broken enough.

I considered traveling to Europe for the Summer, but I didn’t have anyone to travel with. And I really don't like traveling alone, because I love sharing that experience with others.

I also thought about moving to Australia, but I didn’t know how to get a visa.

But everything changed on my flight back to Arizona. I vividly remember looking out the window with all tall skyscrapers peaking through the snowy landscape and something told me, “That’s home.”

So, New York City it was.

The island of Manhattan is only 13 miles long. Between Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island there’s around 9 million people who live here.

The perfect city to disappear in - or so I thought.

Funny thing about this city, it doesn’t want you to blend. It wants you to be your true self - whatever that means for you. It is relentless in this pursuit. It reveals the absolute best and the absolute worst in you. And at the end of the day, you have a choice as to which you want to be.

I hope I have taken the better path.

All I know is that this city helped me to regain my life. It has challenged me in ways I never thought possible.

The people of this city are incredible. They have lifted me up and shown me genuine compassion and love. They’ve also helped me to stand up for what is right - even when I‘m not sure if I am able to.

Every day the people in this city wake up and make a collective decision to live together the best we can. We're one big family - not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - but, for the most part, we try to do our best.

I love this city.
I love the people.
And I am thankful every day to share in its history.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These powerful words are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal written by Emma Lazarus. They permeate every inch of this city and I understand them more now than ever.

It's incredible to think the Statue of Liberty was created when the world was a in very dark place and felt like it was on fire. Yet bold, daring visionaries, who genuinely cared about their fellow humans, broke through the darkness and came together to create a beacon of hope, freedom, and light for the masses, not only for their generation, but for ours and the ones to come.

New York City throughout its history has seen its share of dark days - even today. And yet, with the help of The Statue’s light it continues to rise.

Keep rising up New York City.
Keep choosing love and light - other fear and hate.
And keep standing together to light the way - for each other, our country, and the world.

New York City, thank you for taking me in and letting me call you home.
I love you.

And if you have not done so yet, go out and rock the vote today!
Masks up.
Wash your hands.
Take care of yourselves.
I adore you!

With Love, Us

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