POP THE CHAMPAGNE AND LET LOOSE THE BALLOONS! I JUST CELEBRATED MY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF MOVING TO NEW YORK!
And by celebrated I mean went to a couple of open mics sans champagne and balloons (we’ll save that for a more significant anniversary). In reality, one year in a new city isn’t cause for colossal celebration. However, 365 days into my New York career, I no longer feel like a freshman. Yet, I’m a sophomore who has learned the ropes; the ins and outs of public transit, the hours of my favorite food spots and most importantly, East coast escalator etiquette(shit is real out here).
My rookie season was as formative as a year could be. And while one short year in a new city is nothing to ride home about, it does offer time for reflection on my experiences and things that I’ve learned. Have I grown? Have I gotten better? Have I wasted time? Am I doing everything that I can do to be successful? These are all questions that I need to answer about my first year before moving on to my second. It’s a heat check.
“So what have you learned Dwight?”. Funny you should ask reader…
I guess I would start with:
- New Yorkers are proud to be “New York” – Ask anyone from New York where they are from and they will without hesitation yell out the borough complete with nickname and hand signal. “I’m from the Boogie Down Bronx son.” “I’m from Do or Die BedStuy Brooklyn! Who wants to know!?”. I wish I had the gall to yell out Indiana in this manner when people ask me where I’m from. NewYorkers take pride in everything in their city. Everything. From how terrible the weather is, to how theKnicks should be charged with crimes against humanity. “Well at least traffic is terrible!”, they’ll say. Most everyone has pride for the place they come from but few invest the emotional equity of ego as NewYorkers.
- Diversity leads to creativity – As you probably know, I’m from Indiana. So I’m many a white person’s “black friend”. I’m able to provide them insight into a culture they normally wouldn’t see up close. The same happens in New York but on a much larger scale. You have tons of different cultures all sharing a space with one another. I’ve long believed that diversity is a requisite of intelligence. Having direct insight into cultures outside of your own forces you to think about things in a different way. From a different angle. Just this year, I’ve been to a Puerto Rican Day Parade, LGBT Parade, Millions March(protest stemming from the death of Eric Garner), Haitian Celebration & Mermaid Festival(because mermaids are people too). Not to mention all of the different comics I see each night. White, Black, Asian, Indian…you name it. Creativity is fleeting. Concerted and daily effort will help plant creativity seeds, but ultimately you need new experiences in order for those seeds to grow. There’s no excuse to stay in your demo-graphical comfort zone in New York.
- It’s easy to feel small in the Big Apple – This point will be an elaborated blog post in the future. With so much going on 24/7, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You can go to a comedy show and see some of the best comics in the country and then on your way home see an insanely talented break dance troupe on the street and a group of world-class musicians playing in the Subway. The city has talent just bursting out of its seams. It’s easy for someone like me to get in my head. I’ve caught myself at times thinking, “What the hell am I doing here? I don’t deserve to be around these people.” These thoughts happen to any artist in any creative field, regardless of level. It’s easy to feel insignificant. The feeling always seems to be there but being cognizant of it means that you can turn it into fuel to improve and work harder. It’s important to not stay in the “I’m not good enough” mindset for too long. When that feeling hits me now, I acknowledge it being there, tell myself that “I’m a beast” and move on. The only person who can decide you don’t deserve something is yourself.
- I guess I like parks now – There’s something I wasn’t aware of. Upon moving, I instantly fell in love with Bryant Park and Central Park. I love to spend time writing and unwinding at these places. I often relied on the “Black people don’t fucks with nature” excuse…but parks are kind of cool. I spent a damn week exploring Central Park for God’s sake.
- Everything is going to be OK – I’m a comic. There are absolutely no promises or guarantees in this game. There are no list of steps or career arc to follow. Being a comic means living in uncertainty. It means sacrificing comfort and stableness to chase a dream. And I’m OK with that. I prefer it actually. It’s the whole living vs. existing thing. I’m lucky enough to have found what I’m most passionate about and have chosen to pursue it with reckless abandon. I’m not sure what lies in the future or where I will be but I know that right now, the best place for my growth is New York. Everything is going to be OK.
All in all, my first year in NYC has been pretty good. I’m looking forward to making some good strides in the next 365.
In other news, I’m working exhaustively on my putting together my first album which I will be recording on August 30th at Morty’s Comedy Joint in Indianapolis.POP THE CHAMPAGNE AND LET LOOSE THE BALLOONS! I’ve launched an Indiegogo to help with funding, so if you’d like to get involved or spread the word, just click here! I’d truly appreciate any way that you can help.
Once again, thanks for reading! That’s all I got for now.
Peace, Love and Hugs.