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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New York, I Love You.

Walking nearly 50 blocks up 5th Avenue in rainy 30-degree weather might, on some occasions, be miserable. However, there are those rare instances when all that which is seemingly miserable is wholly the opposite. It becomes liberating, makes you laugh at your soaked boots, moves you to sing out loud on the street and walk with an extra bounce in your step. In those times, on those occasions, I am reminded of and refreshed by my own independence, self-reliance, and ability to embrace change.

Fresh off a much-needed break up, I jumped on a plane to spend my final Spring Break in the chilly East Coast world of New York City. A first-time visitor, I couldn’t think of a better way to rebuild my independence and refresh my creativity than to jet off to a new, somewhat intimidating but infinitely intriguing, week-long life in NYC. What I found there was much more than a pair of killer boots and a denim jacket from an A-plus second-hand store; what I found was indeed second-hand but instead of bargained off of someone else it was a renewal of myself. New York City restored that which had been deteriorating in myself since the beginning of the year; like a tailor it patched my break-up blues with sturdy material made up of creativity, independence, freshness, and excitement.

The thing about New York is that you can feel both isolated and integrated at the same time. In walking across giant intersections amidst the throngs of rushing people, standing cramped in a subway car at rush hour, and chatting with the cab driver, you are a part of something. You are a part of that bright city life, the vibrant and unique culture that is New York. You are a part of that but you are simultaneously isolated. You are self-dependent in each instant and the level of actual interaction between you and your fellow New Yorkers and/or tourists is slim. You are among each other but not necessarily with each other. Perhaps best stated by E.B. White in his must-read essay “Here is New York,” the city manages to blend “the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation.”

It’s incredibly unique, this sense of solitude and togetherness, and it is beautiful. It allows you to grab lunch by yourself with only your book in a small café and not have people feel sorry for you; it lets you go to MoMA and the Met alone and appreciate creativity at its best; it might even draw you into a dark lower east side bar where you flirt with an interesting single stranger and find yourself buzzed and laughing against a brick wall around the corner with him hours later.

New York has the strange ability to amplify all emotion. If you’re sad you might find yourself even sadder and more alone among the relentless rush of the city; if you’re a stressed NYU student trying to finish your thesis you might suddenly be moving at the speed of light and forgetting to sleep let alone breathe each day; if you’re feeling crazy you might find yourself dyeing part of your hair purple because it’s one of your favorite colors.

The point is that when you’re in that post-break-up funk there seems no better option than to fly off to New York City and experience the wonder. OR the point might alternatively be this: embrace independence, rely on yourself to make your own sunshine, build creativity, and continue to be inspired by the surrounding world wherever that may be for you. While it is easy to focus on personal flaws and the evils of the world, the more difficult road is sometimes recognizing the beauty and healing powers that exist in the most seemingly ordinary things around us. Whether you’re in a relationship or as single as a New Yorker, the senses of curiosity, wonder, and independence should never be lost. Embrace them. If you can’t find them, fly to your “NYC” and go get ‘em. Say hello to the single life.

Mallory Massie


Anonymous Colleen said...

This was really enjoyable to read. New York has always been high on my list of places I want to travel but this makes me want to go there even more.

March 10, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

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