defying gravity

As of January 6, I’ve been a proud New Yorker for 15 years. Carrie Bradshaw said that you’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve lived here for at least 10 years. But in my heart, I always knew this magical place was my true home. I moved here in the Blizzard of 1996 from Philadelphia, which had just gotten over two feet of snow. But nothing could stop me. Actually, nothing could stop my friend Tim from helping me move. He was the one who shoveled the snow and drove the U-Haul. And now he lives here, too, which is awesome.

I was going through this crazy stomach churning thing at the time. For weeks before the move, my stomach was perpetually upset. I couldn’t eat anything without feeling sick. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the stomach churning was caused by severe stress. Even though I was beyond excited to finally start my life in New York City, it was really scary. I had like 73 cents in my bank account. I didn’t know anyone here. I didn’t even have a job lined up. All I knew was that I’d be starting grad school and that I had a tiny studio waiting for me in Chelsea. But I guess that was enough. Because as soon as I saw the Twin Towers in the distance, my stomach instantly felt better. For reals. And I never had that weird stomach churning again.

You’d think that I was planning to live here all along. New York City has had an intense pull on me since I discovered Late Night with David Letterman when I was 12. But I never made a definite plan to live here because it felt like a fantasy world. Like this unattainable dream that would always be impossible for me to achieve. That felt especially true back in high school. Back then, it felt like forever until my real life would start. Books and shows and music saved me. But what saved me even more was the hope that I would one day be living my ideal life. I held on to that hope and refused to let go, even when it felt like I wouldn’t survive.

One song that helped me hold on was “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty. I still listen to it (and this other song of his called “Right Down the Line”) often when I’m writing. These lyrics helped me keep hope alive, like if I could just keep holding on things would get better:

Another year and then you’ll be happy
Just one more year and then you’ll be happy
But you’re crying
You’re crying now

Two days before my New Yorkiversary, I was folding laundry and listening to NPR when “Baker Street” came on. They said something like, “You probably recognize this song, but might not remember the artist behind it.” And I was like, “Gerry Rafferty!” Then they said that Gerry Rafferty had died. One of the people who helped me survive and would never know it was gone forever. And I was folding socks.

Let’s just say I was relieved to have season one of Glee.

Rachel and Kurt diva-offing "Defying Gravity" on Glee

I’m not finished with season one yet, but do I really need to tell you I’m a proud new Gleek? Not just because I’m crushing on Mr. Schuester (as if I really need another crush). Not just because another one of my Hold On songs back in the day was “Don’t Stop Believin'” (along with several other Journey classics). But that “Defying Gravity” diva-off between Rachel and Kurt? Has been on repeat mode in my brain for days. Seriously, I’ll be at the gym doing a mash-up of whatever’s playing in class and “Defying Gravity” in my head. Their voices are incredible. I mean, everyone is super talented, but that song just got me. Of course Kurt is my fave character. But you already knew that.

So yay for Glee! Yay for everything in this world that makes us happy and keeps us moving forward. Yay for today being 1.11.11, a major wishing day. Not that you need a magical day to get your wishing on. Every day I’m here is another day that proves you can turn your dreams into reality. Trust me. If I can do it, you totally can. The fact that I live here is my way of defying gravity. Just as I defied gravity on January 6, 1996 by taking a huge leap of faith. Or, as Gerry Rafferty put it:

When you wake up it’s a new morning
The sun is shining it’s a new morning
You’re going
You’re going home