I moved to New York on May 26th, 2014, it’s been almost a year, and while I’m sitting on this 10 hour flight with no WiFi on my way back home for a visit, I thought I’d reflect on the absurd amount of things I’ve learned in this past year.
As cliché as it is, it’s true when they say, “If you can make there, you can make it anywhere.” I never quite understood what that meant until I moved to New York, and while it’s a positive spin on the truth, in reality, this cliché means, “it’s f*cking impossible to make it in New York.”
Now, I don’t know if it’s just my naturally high-strung and occasionally pessimistic attitude, but New York City has a way of tearing you apart to a level of absolute nothingness. Like a small Midwestern town that has been hit by a twister, New York City leaves you feeling striped of things that once mattered, left in a dizzy haze, you almost have no time to process what is actually happening, and no padlocked bombshelter to protect you. Spitting you out naked and completely vulnerable to insecurity and fear, New York doesn’t care who comes in its way or who is there to stay. It’s not New Yorkers who are rude, it’s New York itself, which is terrifying on one level, but New York also has a way of teaching you who you actually are underneath it all and beating you down of any ego you thought you had…Rude, I know.
Moving here, I got a complete reality check about things I thought I knew. I don’t know if I would call myself naïve or simply pompous (it depends how nice I’m being to myself that day), but I used to think I had the answers for everything.
I used to think my anxiety and sad days lied within the fact that I lived on a tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I used to blame it on school, and my lack of a social life and I was dead certain that when I moved to a big city like New York, everything would be different. I literally want to die when I think about the time when I was 13 and I called my 18-year-old sister a “freeloader” because she moved back home after her first year in college. In my past opinion, moving out was easy and anyone who didn’t want to or couldn’t was lazy and didn’t have a dream like mine. Boy, was I wrong.
Learning that maybe I don’t always have the right answers, maybe I’m not always correct and maybe I don’t know what’s best for everyone was a groundbreaking revelation for me. I thought to myself, “but, I am Caelan Hughes, I’ve had a career path since I was in elementary school, I’ve turned my nose up to other people because, ‘that’s not what I would’ve done.’” I genuinely used to think “making it happen” was a simple formula and that happiness would be achieved if you do all the right things and eventually hit a happiness plateau. But moving away, my personal problems came to surface, and just like the bastards they are, didn’t stay behind in my old teenage bedroom with my Britney Spears poster. Life often feels totally out of my control, and I’ve learned now that I have to give into the overwhelming tidal wave and just let it suck me under because fuck it, I don’t know any better!
I learned that fashion isn’t a main priority for me anymore. Call it depression or an empty wallet, but as you know from the direction of this blog, my interests have turned from fashion and clothing, to my insane emotions and sad feels. Winter really broke my heart when it came to fashion; I had no clue what I was wearing, (should I have bought mittens?) and what I was doing. The only thing I knew was that I needed to stay warm and get from the subway station to my home as quickly as possible and occasionally stopping at McDonalds to eat my sad cold feelings (they taste great with sweet and sour sauce, girl).
That being said, I feel the same sort of way about having an “internet presence,” I used to so badly want to be well known and well received on the internet and make money off my blog some day, but I kind of just don’t care anymore.
A lot of this had to do with the fact that it came to my attention that maybe I’m not the best writer. Someone very close to me said that my work was “good” but wasn’t “great.” He wasn’t the only one who noticed, I constantly boggle my own mind with how many technical errors I catch myself making at one of my jobs. That paired with no major fishes biting at my resume or previously published work, all resulting in more feeling-consumption and tear-production.
Now, I’m not trying to tell you that everything is gloomy days with a double scoop of Elliott Smith, however, I can honestly admit that in addition to my busy schedule, I avoided writing on this blog because I just couldn’t force myself to be the happy and bubbly girl I once was. While I was naïve about how hard getting a writing job is, the difficulty of doing online school while working and trying to have an internship, what to do when your rent check bounces and what living through a long, bitter winter does to your brain, I used to have this attitude where it didn’t matter because I used to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hate to be corny, but on more days than not, the light seems like it’s dimming.
There are days I look around my surroundings stunned and delighted, and I whisper to myself, “wait, I’m actually here,” waltzing down the streets of a city that used to be a dream. Watching B-roll scenes on TV shows of my work neighborhood and places I ate lunch I’m reminded that if I’m going to make it happen anywhere, here is the place to do it. Then there are days where a shell of myself floats through my monotonous days, not caring enough to wash my hair or pick out a cute outfit, relying solely on my daily three cups of coffee and the 10-minutes-long bathroom breaks where I cry.
Returning to Hawaii for a little break is important to me because I want to reset everything. Thinking about the girl who so eagerly was ready to leave her past behind her, with tangerine colored hair, an unpaid internship, and as corny as it sounds “a dream,” is both humorous and sad for me. Compared to the often-miserable, overworked girl with grown-out roots, who has gained both knowledge about the harsh cruel real world, and 15 pounds after her first brutal winter, it’s like night and day.
I can never promise you that I will every write daily on this blog again. But I know that getting out all these feelings right here on this long-ass flight, has made me feel a million times better. I feel like one of those ducks that survive an oil spill and need to be cleaned up by scientists using Dawn and orange rubber gloves. The tiny shell of my soul will soon be floating into my moms arms to soak up all the love, TLC and Aloha spirit that my family and this beautiful place I call home has to offer.
Let me know what you'd like to see from me and this blog, I look forward to writing more and a more positive outlook.