Somewhere around 1:30 on the afternoon of January 8, 2014 as I was driving over the Verrazano Bridge into Brooklyn, I suddenly saw the Empire State and Chrysler buildings in my side view and I began screaming wildly with joy. It was a good thing that I was traveling alone because I probably would have scared the crap out of anyone else. When I parked my car 45 minutes later in front of my first apartment in Canarsie, Brooklyn I was absolutely exhausted—but that good kind of exhausted from using every fiber of your being of doing exactly what your heart desires.
As I opened the door to my apartment, the first pieces of mail to greet me were my Fresh Eyes Editorial Services business cards. I ripped open the package as I climbed up the stairs to my second-floor apartment and I could not believe how good they looked. I set them on the counter in my kitchen and I took about four more trips out into the bitter winds of the Polar Vortex to get my two suitcases, my air mattress, and a few household goods into my new home.
I was still buzzing with excitement but I forced myself to take a nap before I died from sheer elation. I woke up two hours later and I decided to venture back out into the biting cold for some authentic New York pizza. When I got to Armando’s on Rockaway Parkway, I felt like I had stepped into Sal’s Pizzeria from “Do the Right Thing,” and I confidently asked for “Two slices!” just like Radio Raheem.
When I got back home, I created a little clearing for my air mattress and sat down on my temporary bed and couch to enjoy the deliciously chewy, thick crust and the gooey, oily mozzarella cheese. As I chased my last bite of pizza with a small can of Diet Pepsi, I thought about exactly what this new journey would mean—I could either win by TRYING or win by SUCCEEDING. Either way my life would be great because I dared to define my own destiny.
During my last few years in the DMV, I am woman enough to admit that I used everyone else’s supply of standards to measure my success. I felt inadequate because my buoyant personality and fabulousness rarely translated into dates let alone into a husband. I was becoming more frustrated with each job because I was just a little bit too bright, funky, and threatening to rise any further than middle management. And quite frankly I was just too damn LOUD in the DMV.
But here I am now on the morning of my first anniversary as a Brooklynite with a fresh supply of my own standards to celebrate. I didn’t have to wait for a supervisor’s evaluation today to tell me that my first year was pretty freakin’ fantastic. By using my own yardstick, I can see that succeeding in my first year as an entrepreneur, surviving my first New York winter, enduring my first New York summer without central AC (Sweet Jesus!), meeting some of the most outstanding New Yorkers, connecting with outstanding people in the publishing industry, being able to create a meal from a bodega, navigating the Subway, and learning to live in and fall in love with Bed-Stuy is a supply of amazing highs that I am incredibly proud of.
There’s an iconic line in Biggie Smalls’ “The 10 Crack Commandments” that goes “…never get high on your own supply…” But when you’ve created your dreams in way that makes you elated, I think it’s kinda necessary to celebrate your blessings. One year later, I’m completely overjoyed that I have been able to create my own supply of victories, setbacks, lessons, defeats, fears, and joys in New York that I’m delighted to light my life up with every day.
I don’t know that Year Two in New York will bring, but if Year One is any indicator of my future success, I’m looking forward to getting even higher on my own supply of God’s goodness and grace.