Broadway boogie woogie

(JERSEY CITY, N.J.) — Why am I treating New York City like an attractive ex-boyfriend? I can’t really figure this out. Here I am in one of the most interesting places in America, and something is holding me back from really digging in and loving it. The city is full of pungent smells and bright lights and a lot of people being pretty damn creative. It’s like nowhere else in the US (I mean, I had Malaysian food last night). But instead of gleefully applauding all of the city’s attributes and advances, I feel like I’m giving it props only begrudgingly. Like an ex might, New York makes me feel insecure about myself, and its successes only make me question my own choices. I’m surrounded by people who are here to “make it” — as a writer, a photographer, an actor, whatever. Their drive and ambition makes me question my own. Like I did crossing the border into Canada a few months back, I am forced to ask myself some big questions.

What am I doing with my life? What is my passion? Who am I?

It is at this point that I feel like ducking into one of New York’s hip eateries, one that serves only cupcakes or crepes or designer donuts and drowning these questions in something sweet. I don’t want to complain. I don’t feel bitter. I simply feel challenged by this city. It keeps asking me why I don’t live here, and I can’t think of an answer that’s not touched by defensiveness. And, like any slightly painful breakup scenario, I don’t want to be defensive, nor do I want to be judgmental. I just want to be myself.

All this said, I am awed by this city. My surroundings are so rich that I have had no idea where to start, and I’ve spent most of my days just walking and observing people. I could watch people all day here and be happy doing just that. I love the cozy, multicolored leaf canopy of Central Park and the quaint, tree-lined streets of the West Village. Times Square’s neon tangle of tourists and cameras and huge, animated advertisements is both exciting and exhausting. I still want to see Harlem. I have yet to check out Brooklyn. I am surrounded by an infinite amount of coolness and possibility, and I know it. I simply want to enjoy it.

And then get back to my trip.

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