New York City, after the Fact

New York City.

The word, the concept, immediately brings a kind of curl to my lips that slowly and inevitably spreads up to my eyes, my cheeks, my hairline. I'm subconsciously infused with happiness; a product of time and understanding and the brand of magic that arrives when you start to become okay with who you are.

I never used to feel this way about New York. I used to harden when the name flitted through my consciousness, used to lower my brows and steel my gaze, preparing for battle, tightening my grip, emptying my stomach, shrinking my aura to protect it from pain. I never used to look up at the buildings in the way I do now - no more adjusting my chin just in case someone is looking, no more caring if my hair has been mussed from the wind. I get to live, guys. I get to laugh on the street; baring every white square of my teeth and not have to worry about looking doughy or silly or naive to onlookers I might have met at a casting once. I get to let my heart expand like a balloon that's fleetingly full of butterflies – but the good kind, you see – Not the ones that make you sick and nervous, a reminder you're spinning out of control.

I’m not sure exactly where I want to be in twenty years, in two weeks, at the end of this sentence.

I have no idea what is going to happen next. I'm not sure exactly where I want to be in twenty years, in two weeks, at the end of this sentence. I don't have bucketfuls of money, I don't like networking, I don't like promoting myself or going to parties and giving people "my card." What I do like, though, are connections. I love coffee shops where the ingredients are me, a well-worn couch and a tangle of human beings being open and vulnerable and laughing at things that make us feel weird. I like ideas and I, I really do, come alive for concepts; taking chances, feeling the sweet flame of fear burning in my ribcage as I realize I'm making something that never existed before this very moment.

That's cool to me. That's really, really cool.

I'm not sure if this article will be the river that keeps change afloat, I'm not sure if it was the kick in the pants we needed, but if the emails, texts, messages and letters you've sent me are any indication, I know something has just happened. It definitely wasn't thanks to me, either. Timing was just on our side with this one.

In the city that never sleeps with my dear friend, williamsburg roommate, and Peace Collective genius, John Molina. He's a good egg.

Moving forward, I'm going to work really hard on this movement. I don't even like calling it a movement; I like calling it a life. The thing we're steering away from, the idea that we had to become something to feel worthy of anything, wasn't natural at all. This is the cool part of life, guys - You don't have to follow any formula, because each of us are born with our own little compass to our own little world. The problems arise when we assume we're all seeing the same things, feeling the same feelings, reading the same books, magazines, faces on the subway. We are all different; each of us experiencing this world in our own bubble.

Don't look at someone and say, "whoa, I have to be like them," or "hey, they should be more like me," or even "why don't they just do what I want them to? Don't they care about me?" Embrace that discrepancy. That's the human in us. That, you guys – the second you start embracing the stuff that makes you angry and confused and frustrated – is the tickle of real, raw, life coming in. Do that. Do your life. Not anybody else's.

You get to be striking, you get to be BEAUTIFUL, because nobody has ever seen anything like you before. You, the second you're born, are given this vehicle to be different and shocking and radical and radiant. Pardon my french, but why the fuck do we, for a second, deny getting inside that and riding it for as long as we possibly can?

Take chances. Speak your truth. Love what you love. Don't doubt it. We'll be here to catch you.

industry, personalmadison schill