Human. A piece, humbly inspired.
"You must keep writing." An old friend slides in to the seat next to me. "I know, but... Oh, you've read my pieces?" "Every single one. You've gotta keep writing."
I've always found it curiously strange how life delivers you messages precisely when you need them. My friend was right, but how could he know that in that moment, I was faltering. I started this blog as a travel writing space, and now, well, I'm not traveling. I'm anchored, for the foreseeable future, in this ginormous city, and struggling, in more ways than one, to sustain the small following I've humbly gathered this past year. Feeling utterly human, I've asked myself, who am I in this vast city? Who am I, and what am I here for? What am I after? What have I done?
If you can make it here, in this city of bright lights, sleepless nights, shining hopes, and scattered dreams, you can make it anywhere. I didn't get it before, but I think I'm starting to now. This city, with its brutal and harsh and lonely times, is the epitome of life. It will break you because it can. It will not apologize that it's made life harder than you imagined, less affordable than you planned for, and made you question what you signed up for. The struggle is real, my friends. And it’s not the city's fault really. It wasn't built on forfeited dreams. It was built by those who dared to keep dreaming big, while quietly drowning out the inevitable fears inside. Those who have asked "who am I to do this?" and have answered, "who am I not to?!". So, if you can muster the courage to fight through the hard times, not succumb to the loneliness, hang on to those dreams you arrived with, and chase them, just keep chasing them… you’ll make it. You will make it. Every circumstance is temporary. Everything good and everything bad is fleeting and cyclical. When you're down, remember, a change may be just around the corner. And when you're up? Absorb that moment of happiness because I'm willing to bet, you've worked hard to earn that smile on your face.
Enter Brandon Stanton. A kid with a dream. Fresh off a departure from the corporate life in Chicago, Brandon came to NYC with only the goal to put his new passion of photography to work. Just four short years later, I'm in the audience at a literary conference listening to him speak about his second book, Little Humans; the follow up to the wickedly popular book and blog, Humans of New York. I'm not sure what I expected from Brandon's panel, but what I came away with was pure inspiration. He came to NYC as I, and countless others, had: a questioning-the-conventional dreamer, with a passion and - more importantly - a vision, still blurry but focusing, with every step taken towards pursuing that dream.
"Create consistency," Brandon advised. "Create consistency if you want people to find what they're not looking for. Nobody is out there Googling, guy taking pictures of New Yorkers... No, I committed to taking pictures and telling stories everyday. And that's why I'm here today." Inspiring words for the aspiring. So here I am, with my own commitment - I will write. (It's why I came to New York, isn't it?) I will write, with a heart full of hope that I can create consistency and be my own human of NY. A solemn vow to create my art. Spin the stories that are held in my heart. The stories I must tell have already chosen me. This is my dream. This is my passion. And now, I intend to use every inch of this city to swirl that passion into my reality.
Remember, this is your dream, kid. And you've never been closer to it than you are right now.