New York

6/30: Sometimes life can be just like the movies.

This consecutive day thing is next to impossible. It doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying, it just means I’m exhausted from the thought of constantly letting this scheduling slip through my fingers. However, I’m back! I’m still surfing through the 300 Writing Prompt book in awe of the thought provoking questions it presents. Today’s prompt reads:

“Write about a memorable experience you have had staying at a hotel.”

Hotels and I have a great relationship, especially during my relationship with my fiancée. We’ve had several spontaneous staycations in the last decade but one sticks out for me in particular; our night at the Waldorf Astoria. There are handful of places in New York City that I was first introduced to through the lens of a movie and never imagined being able to actually see in person. As I age, I’ve been able to cross a few of those places off my New York bucket list and I’m damn proud to say that I have. The Waldorf Astoria has been in so many movies. It was one of those places I passed and always thought I’d never go inside.

The evening began a regular evening in Manhattan for us. We ate Dallas BBQ and just spent the night walking around. Neither of us truly wanted to go home to our respective houses so she presented the idea of my picking a hotel out so we can spend a night together. We stood on the street and scrolled through a travel site on her phone. The Waldorf came up and I was drawn to the name. The price was a little steep so it turned me off but after some convincing, we stopped at a drug store for toiletries since we had nothing but the clothes on her backs and off we went. The cab ride to the other side of town felt different than the one I would have taken home. It felt thrilling to ride in a cab for once. I was going to an unknown destination and experiencing something in my own city for the very first time. The excitement was much different than a regular day in the neighborhood. It was the first place that I would get to cross off my New York bucket list and get sucked into the magic that is New York City.

I remember walking into the lobby and feeling like I was in another world. I had never seen anything that beautiful in New York. Of course, there are many beautiful places but when you pass through daily they tend to lose their wonder. This felt new and exciting and it was even better because it was an adventure with someone I truly love. We checked in and headed toward our room but wandered around the lobby a little bit. A grand piano, a polished bar, and nothing but dreams came forth. We both began to imagine our lives going to the bar together in expensive dresses and having a night out. The whole building was a dream world and most of the night was spent that way. We finally reached our room and spent the remainder of the evening dreaming. A romantic time loop of 24 hours where she and I did nothing but love in the biggest way.

The next morning was a little bit of a dose of reality as we woke up in our clothes from the night prior but the evening was far too worth it to care. It was incredible to be able to share in an experience on our city together and revel in the romantic world that was the Waldorf Astoria. Since then, the Waldorf was remodeled into expensive New York City condos taking away the hotel aspect of the building. It was heartbreaking to find out but I am incredibly grateful that we got to spend that night there and have that experience to remember forever.

1/30: Fight Fear

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

Credit: https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

May starts Mental Health Awareness month. Approximately 1 in 5 people in the US suffer from some sort of mental illness. It’s a stigma that needs to be erased by talking about it and fighting out in the open to show those who suffer in silence that they are not alone. I figured I’d kick off this series with a dose of honesty. I deal with my own share of anxiety and fear. Every single day is a new vow for me to fight fear and do my best to not allow my anxiety to get the better of me. Some days I kick fear’s ass, others not so much.

The door opens and I step inside of the well lit tight space, it’s filled with other commuters getting around New York City. Sometimes they’re sleeping and weary from the early morning, others they’re wired with their to-do-lists trying to race home to their home lives with the small amounts of daylight that they have left in their days. I stand with music blaring in my ears and as far away as possible. Truthfully, riding the train back and forth to work scares me more than it should. I take the bus to get to the train and it rarely triggers any kind of anxiety but the train pushes it to happen. The crowds of people squeezing into a tight space just feels suffocating and life in the Big Apple of New York City could present tragedy at a moment’s notice so knowing I would have to combat those crowds who are usually self-serving 9 times out of 10 is unnerving. Add the below the ground factor away from any kind of resources but the scatter of subway rats and garbage and I’m in a tailspin of fear.

My best combatance of this fear is my phone and listening to music. While a lot of people discourage people to be glued to their devices (they’re probably right, but…), I find myself using mine as a life jacket of sorts. The music keeps me tuned into the rhythm and lyrics of the song versus allowing my mind to wander into the land of “what ifs” creating unneeded scenarios that may or may not ever happen. My phone has games or a book I’m reading to further tune out the mind wandering and keep me occupied instead of counting the train stops only.

Despite, my distraction of myself I do my best to stay tuned into my environment just on a less intense scale so that my brain doesn’t freak out my body. The physical symptoms of my anxiety can be very debilitating which feels a lot more dangerous than my multi-tasking with my phone. Extreme anxiety has been known to induce dizzy spells so I’d much rather find a happier, calmer mind set and have a safe commute versus working myself up and risking not getting to my destination in one piece.

What scares you? How does it affect you? Better yet, how do you handle this fear? Let me know!

Nervous Child in the City

I am born and raised in New York, the borough of Queens to be exact. While Queens was not as chaotic as Manhattan, I still consider my upbringing to be Urban. We played Manhunt in the street, we ran through sprinklers on the concrete, and backyards were foreign lands. As kids, we lived off the main avenue so we saw all types of things we probably shouldn’t have. Everything felt normal to me as a child because I was protected. I had an active father and a cousin living with us who would rid us of any bad thing or person if needed. I felt untouchable. However, as I got older things started to happen that made me a lot more self-aware.

The big turning point for me was September 11, 2001. I was in the 7th grade and thankfully home from school that day. I remember sleeping in and being woken by my father to let me know that the world was changed as we knew it. Two planes had driven into the Twin Towers and the entire United States watched as New York City burned. For the first time in my life, I felt fear in my home. Regardless of how big and strong the men in my family were, no one was going to fight this. We were officially overpowered and processing that at 12 years old felt impossible. We all slept in my parents’ bedroom that night, I laid awake staring at the ceiling because there was no distraction available that was going to change that day. Fast forward to present day and I’ve traveled the same path so many did that day for almost ten years now. Each day I’ve worked in Manhattan, I’ve always carried that in the back of my mind.

Living in a big city with popular landmarks, overcrowding, and some of the best tourist cultures will always make you susceptible to danger and it’s a fact that I’ve come to terms with. Traveling in this city can sometimes feel like you’re navigating the most dangerous of places but it can also feel like the biggest playhouse. It’s all about point of view. A lot of times I find myself wrapped up in the negative. It’s easy to feel that with the news and social media on a nonstop loop. It produces a case of the ‘what ifs’ and keeps me trapped in my mind with worry. The solution isn’t consistent enough for me to really produce one for anyone. Some days I’m above the worry and other days, I feel consumed by it making traveling on the trains and busses feel like a weight on me.

Does anyone else feel this in a major city? Or even smaller suburb areas? I hate to downplay New York because it gets a bad rap already but the truth is inevitable. As someone who suffers from anxiety living in a city like mine can be very scary and nerve-wracking. I’d love to hear some feedback on other cities and how people deal with their fears.