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Welcome to my website. I'll be writing about my travels, the books and authors I love, and mental health.

Happy anniversary to me...and New York

I'VE BEEN IN NEW YORK CITY FOR A YEAR NOW. OK, I know you're not supposed to start blog posts by yelling at readers, but I'M SO EXCITED and the volume in my brain is really loud right now (picture: lots of shrieking, some excited clapping and an incessant, high-pitched "OMG") and I had to translate that to you.

Wait, it's happening again:

THIS IS MY ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY WITH NEW YORK.

There are so many, so very, very many, emotions and thoughts and things I want to share with you guys in this moment. Because this year — it has been one heck of a wild ride.

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When I moved up a year ago and settled into my bedroom in Queens, I had no idea I would move two more times in less than 12 months.

Like, just look at that picture. Is that the face of a girl who knows her "first apartment" is going to last a mere six months? LOL, no. I thought I was going to be there permanently, or at least for a full year.

But life doesn't turn out the way you expect. Life is weird, wild and wondrous (alliteration!), and it takes a lot of unexpected turns.

I'm still staring at this picture that was taken exactly one year ago, and...I might look the same, and dress the same, and talk the same as I did in the moments leading up to and right after my mom snapped this photo, but I'm so different. And my NYC adventure did not take me where I thought it would.

Within two months of my arrival, I was in a hospital. I've written about that experience a ton so I won't rehash it, other than to say — that's not what I thought would happen. I thought moving to New York would magically eradicate all of my depressive thoughts, would make me gloriously happy and 100 percent healthy.

It wasn't to be; instead, I bottomed out. And not just the once.

After the hospital, I kept cutting for three months. Then, more than 100 days later, I did it again. I kept hitting rock bottom only to realize it wasn't really the end, there was more room to fall. Image

At the same time, I've been deliriously happy. I've made friends who blow my mind (only a very small handful of whom are in the collage). I've met awesome people doing awesome things and had really cool opportunities. I've traveled to Baltimore and West Point. I've had the opportunity to see my work on Seventeen.com and Bustle.

I've become a braver person — there are no links to prove that, but I've applied to jobs I have no right to expect and faced down interviews at New York publications; I've reached out to strangers on the internet and made life-long writing friends; I've literally emailed internationally best-selling authors and asked for interviews, as though I have some New Yorker-type thing going on with the profiles I do; I've stopped expecting that the answer for me is "no" and instead learned to ask for what I want because sometimes, just sometimes, the answer will be "yes."

Does that make sense? I'm not as timid as I was. I don't walk around with my head down and my shoulders slumped expecting the rain to fall on me. I demand sunshine and favor. And sometimes, I get it.

That's the thing about my New York year. It's been weird. I moved up here to go to grad school and work as a journalist, and now I'm working in a pizzeria and taking time off from grad school. So I guess you could say my plans didn't exactly pan out like I planned.

But through it all — I've grown. I've strengthened. I've matured. I'm not where I expected to be, but I'm somewhere good.

I love New York. I love the fact that it's a hard city, a city that toughens you. I love that sometimes strangers will yell at me in a panic to let me know my MetroCard is falling out of my pocket, and that other times they ignore me while I dance through Midtown (yes, that's a thing that has happened/happens). I love that I don't care if you see me crying on a sidewalk, in the subway, or in a park, and that every once in a while a kind stranger will stop to make sure I'm OK. I love that I can get any kind of food I want, any time. I love that I can walk or take the subway and don't have to worry about driving through rush hour or parallel parking. I love that there are so many opportunities here, that every day there's a new job I can apply for that could be my dream job. I love that there are so many people here, and they're all so cool and exciting and different and worthwhile.

I love this city. A year in and I'm ready to celebrate our anniversary and gear up for the next year...and hopefully the next, and the next, and the next...

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Writing with big dreams: Elri

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