On NYC, creativity, and figure skating

I moved to New York City just over a year ago. New York City. The great creative city of artists, where dreams come true, right?

The truth is- this year has been a challenge from beginning to end. Not to say it hasn’t been great. There have been many wonderful aspects of the last 365 days, of significant note, that I successfully moved myself to New York City, a big personal achievement. But moving to NY is full of constant struggle, which is something I heard many times in the time before my move but didn’t understand until I did the journey myself. New York does not welcome you in to her home with open arms and a cup of tea and plate of cookies. She leaves you alone at the airport to fetch yourself a cab to a shared room at a hostel. She is often unkind, her trains are often delayed, and she smells funny a lot of the time. Worst of all, everyone expects that you’re having an amazing time. Which makes you feel a little bit like a failure when you call home to say you’ve been having a rough week- and month- or four. While many people feel their creativity soar in the “Greatest City in the World,” I have found mine on a steady decline. Perhaps because there are so many creatives in this city. Networking, hungry, never sleeping creatives trying to claw their way to the top, whereas I am a bit of an introvert who hates small talk, never spends more than three hours hungry, and hates nothing more than not sleeping enough (unless I’m jetlag, then I make an exception). Maybe it’s the competition, or the imposter syndrome, but taking my camera out, updating my website, posting to Instagram… it all became something I felt like I had to do, to build my freelance career, as opposed to something I did because I truly enjoyed it. I contemplated selling all my gear, letting my website expire, and quitting.

When I was 12, I started figure skating. I was obsessed. So much so that I started going to the rink at 7am before school. If you read the above paragraph about my love of sleep, you’ll understand this was a serious passion if it got me out of bed at 5:45am. Then after six months, I decided I would never be good enough to go to the olympics, so I quit. I packed up my skates, dresses, tights and blade covers (I had acquired a lot in six months) and vowed to never skate again. While my mom suggested I just cut back practice hours rather than quit completely, I refused. It was all or nothing. And I had Quit Figure Skating. Looking back- she was right (she often is). Maybe I never would have been an olympic figure skater (or maybe I could have) but stopping something that once brought me enough joy to wake before dawn probably could’ve brought me happiness in another way besides sponsorships and eternal athletic glory.

So last week when I saw my website subscription was expiring in April and thought to myself “maybe I should cancel it and be done with photography” 12 year old me packing up her skate gear and throwing away her practice schedule came into my mind. As younger me decided she was never going to be an olympic figure skater, 25 year old me decided that she would never be a hustling NYC photographer, and planned to quit. But what if there is more than one way to be a photographer, as there was certainly a way to be just a normal girl who liked to figure skate once or twice a week. So instead of quitting, I’ve decided to start a new project. This blog. One I hope will incorporate photography and my often untapped love of writing. I know I have more to share with the world artistically and I owe it to my happiness to not quit. Maybe I’ll start skating more as well.

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