How New York Validated Me

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How New York Validated Me,
I Own Me.

As a “fresh out of college” art student, I believe we all go through the same questions and hypotheticals in our head. “Jobs, Money, Life, Home, Family.” It had come to a point where some nights I’d be up tossing and turning about the thought of finding a high paying job. I’d make myself physically ill and would feel guilty about going out on a Friday night. Living on a minimum wage job and paying rent via my savings account, I came to the realization, “am I worth it? Am I doing this right?”

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I graduated with my degree in commercial photography. But where would that get me? Photo jobs are becoming very limited in todays 2015 market. With the power of social media, anyone could be a photographer. I had done photo internships, a small stunt at HP, and an even smaller stunt at Apple working in corporate retouching.
The amount of dislike I felt for myself was phenomonal, I had also done a ton of freelance photography shooting lookbooks, events, portraits. With no real job experience and a wider connection to the internet and its challenges, I felt defeated all the time. But lets not make it a sob story about me, we’ve all faced it. “What am I going to do after college?” Right? In early October, I fell to an existential crisis that felt far worse then ones before. My face had broken out immensely to a point where I didn’t want to leave my apartment, I didn’t… couldn’t comprehend how I had gotten to this point in my life. 23 (at the time), mainly freelancing and living paycheck to paycheck. So with a click of a button, I had drowned my most recent freelance paycheck into a trip to New York. My mom was pissed.

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Fast forward to the night of me leaving. Bags roughly packed, heart so full of joy, and no plan whatsoever. Just go and be immersed I told myself over and over again. In the back of my head the same phrase played countlessly, “Am I worth it?” – I stayed in a quiet neighborhood in Queens on the cusp of Elmshurst and traveled to Manhatten every single day just to walk around; letting my eyes do the reading. I got to meet amazing people in the field I was creating for myself. I ate food that I never thought I could experience, and I got to see old friends who were not in an artistic field but gave me advice from a business standpoint. The end of my New York trip came to aclose.

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When I had finally gotten back to SF and had gotten back into my everyday life, I was completely open to the fact that uncertainty is ok. But how? How did a 3 day trip completely change my viewpoint on my life. People say that “traveling opens your mind - lets you be creative, gives you a spectrum that you aren’t accustomed too.” For me, traveling to the big apple validated the fact that I made the money that I used to go on said trip, I had a swell time on my terms, and that I’m now well into adulthood. New York answered questions about my life that I didn’t think it did. Options are a beautiful thing and being able to do, buy, or execute plans on your terms is acceptable. “Am I worth it” turned to “I’ve earned it.”

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