Until five months ago, my world was the size of six city blocks, spread out spherically from the center of a second floor walk-up on 15th street in Manhattan. I can call that world to vivid memory - the pattern of commuters circumventing tourists on my walk to work, the smell of the fish market on 8th avenue, the lawless debree from another night in the Meatpacking district - over a decade of my life imprinted by the smallest square footage. I go there so easily in my mind, I’ve hardly had a reason to miss it.
I thought when I left New York I would feel it more. It was practically how I self-identified - I mean, this page didn’t name itself. But one day I woke up and I just wasn’t there anymore. I feel like an animal plucked from its natural habitat and dropped in a zoo, learning to live exactly the same way in completely different circumstances. I wake up, I eat, I run, I work, I sleep. Is pretending nothing has changed just a survival tactic or am I more adaptable than I thought?
Some people say that a ‘New Yorker’ is anyone who has lived in the city for over 10 years, give or take. Others will claim that title is reserved for originals only, born and raised. I went one step further and called myself a ‘New York Heroine,’ protagonist in my own story of a girl living in New York City.
I know the story has changed - it’s the girl I’m trying to figure out.