Adventure, Personal
Comments 21

Things That I Don’t Instagram.

Yesterday I posted this picture on Instagram and Twitter (that’s a sly plug for you to follow me on both of those platforms AND the bridge to the story I’m about to tell you).

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 11.34.41 AM

The image was captioned, “Love your sass, New York.”



After posting the picture, I took a brief moment to reflect on this poster and how it speaks to why I love New York. I know I haven’t always felt this way; sometimes I’ve despised it here. I chuckle sometimes when people think that living in New York is synonymous with a glamorous lifestyle filled with swanky nights out and rooftop parties, where I casually make nice with diplomats and celebrities alike.

Please know that Instagram is not real life. I generally don’t Instagram the times I feel inadequate, terrified, or discouraged. In fact, here are the real life things that have or do happen that I don’t Instagram:

  • The ungodly check I cut my landlord every month
  • The time I cried myself to sleep at 5:00 in the morning because I was awake at 5:00 in the morning crying. I do not know why I was crying. I just felt like it needed to happen.
  • The cockroach in my apartment that made me cry when I was home alone
  • The weeks worth of takeout I order because I don’t have time to make dinner
  • The time I caught the construction workers outside my apartment peering into my kitchen while I was making coffee in my underwear. Privacy isn’t a realistic expectation in New York.
  • crying-under-desk

    The only thing that’s altered my life more than moving to New York has been choosing to stay. Careers have started here. Relationships have ended here. I’ve grown out of friendships here. I’ve grown into myself here. The velocity at which things have begun, ended, and come full circle, has caused the involuntary yet beautiful whiplash one needs to figure their lives out. On one hand, I seldom see my family, can’t remember my last good night of sleep, usually work through lunch AND dinner, and cancel personal plans more often than I keep them, because at the end of the day nothing is more exciting to me than watching New Girl on Netflix. Nothing.

    That being said – New York is the most electric and creative city there is, with a sick sense of humor to boot, and if you’re willing to work your ass off, sleep on a couch or two, and push through the 5am mental break downs and big insects, it’s so worth it.

    So – There I stood in a coffee shop Instagraming this accurate representation of New York to a newsfeed of friends, acquaintances, and blog followers, while reveling in the fact that I’ve adapted to New York’s attitude. Not my attitude about living here, but the attitude of the city itself. New York definitely has it’s own attitude, and for a brief moment, I thought I was a part of it.

    Coffee in hand, I placed my purse down on the table. Before sitting down I realized I forgot to ask for cream, so I walked back up to the counter to ask the barista for a splash of half and half. Upon returning to the table, my stomach sank.

    My purse was gone.

    As in, stolen. Somebody stole my purse in the thirty seconds it took for me to put cream in my coffee. Frantically, I ripped my backpack open, moved chairs out of the way, and searched the area like a bloodhound. But here’s the thing, I didn’t misplace it. In fact, I placed it out in the open, stupidly.

    And it sucked, because sometimes people are sucky, and sucky things happen, but you just have to be open to the idea that you can grow from these things. I’m not saying I had a grand epiphany from my purse being stolen. In fact, I was fuming. I left the coffee shop and charged down the street with more stomp in my step than Tyra Banks. What I am saying, is that I allowed myself the 10 minute walk to work to be angry, cancelled my cards, had my keys recut, and carried on business as usual. Sometimes shit happens, and you have to take it, deal with it like an adult, and move on, which is really one of the greatest lessons this city has taught me.

    Maybe that person needed the 25 dollars in my purse, my gum, and my impressive collection of business cards more than I did. Maybe they’re just an asshole. And maybe next time I get up to put cream in my coffee, I’ll bring my purse with me.

    Noted, New York.

    PS – I still love your sass.

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    21 Comments

    1. Girl. I should have been robbed a zillion & one times, leaving my purse & my computer on the table at Starbucks while I run to the bathroom – TO THE BATHROOM! – & ask strangers to keep an eye on it. And I haven’t yet, because suburbs. While I’m thrilled to live in a place where no one would dare rob you, even when you leave your purse out while you run to the bathroom, that’s not enough of a reason to love a place. You get New York – the good & the bad, & man, there is just so much good.

      • You know what’s funny, is that just when I think I “get” New York, (in the state of mental awareness where you think you understand someone or something) New York proves me wrong – a la my purse getting stolen five minutes after I posted about loving New York sass. BUT I GET NEW YORK!!! In the sense that I live here, and like you said, so much good. Love that you still read my blog even though I’ve been terrible at posting lately. Your insight always makes me so happy! xoxo

    2. Longtime lurker here. Love your description of growing into yourself through the city–my city for growing into myself was on the other side of the country, but the whole experience sounds remarkably similar! Happy to see you posting again. 🙂

      • Lurk away, my friend! Thanks for following along (and noticing my absence! That’s weirdly kind of cool, because sometimes I wonder if people notice!) Happy to hear your city was also part of your growing experience! xo

    3. thewondermya says

      Sorry for the loss of your purse, it sucks to have to go through the whole canceling
      , reissuing papers, keys etc. But really glad it inspired you even more to write this post and share this experience with us ! I enjoyed it ! What caught my attention is the line about Instagram is not real life. I post only real life there… you have made me think and I am still trying to figure out things about this sentence…

      • Thanks for reading! I can see how the not real life comment would be confusing, but I’m GLAD it made you think! What I meant by that was we only (generally) put the positive, fluffy things on Instagram, because that’s what Instagram is for! Since most of my followers/friends follow me on Instagram, most of them are super in tune to those aspects of my life, and less in tune to the vulnerable moments that I experience also! It was meant to humanize this blog a little, and let people know that I also go through difficult times. That life in New York is hard, harder than it ever was for me back home. (Plus – I don’t think people would be impressed if I was instagramming cockroaches, but that struggle is real. Those suckers are huge!)

        Hope this helped! xo

        • thewondermya says

          Thank you so much for the explanation ! I understand and relate to your comment now. You made me reflect on y own use of instagram. I am currently switching my lifestyle to a healthier one but coming from a background of very poor habits and ED, I decided to make my instagram a positive reinforcement of my determination by only posting what I was doing right and what helped me to switch completely. Each time I look at it I can ditch the negative feelings and feel empowered because it shows in one place all the goodness there is in what I am achieving. Even if my goal is healthy I could totally be in that group of people you describe : only putting the positive. I do believe though that by constantly reflecting more on my good days than on my bad ones I will retrain my brain and alter my behavior towards my new healthy goals more easily and also faster. Are we being dishonest by wanting to focus on the goods of our lives ? And about the cockroaches, I am with you 100 %. I love animals and don’t eat them or kill most of ten but with cockroaches I don’t know I turn into a witch and just can’t stand them walking on my kitchen bench or bathroom floor ! They are HUGE ! 😉 Fruity hugs and thanks again for the opportunity of growth you provided me with !

    4. New York ain’t got anything if she ain’t got sass. That’s really lame about your purse, but as you say, it could have been worse. At least you didn’t get mugged. It’s funny. Before I moved to the city, I would have been totally put out of sorts if my purse got stolen, but these days… I’d just sort of think par the course. It’d be annoying and inconvenient, but eh? Life goes on? I got a good story out of it?

      • My thoughts exactly! Just part of the package. Put your purse somewhere stupid, it’s bound to get stolen. Hard lesson learned, indeed! 🙂

    5. You are a fabulous writer and your story telling skill is totally captivating. Thanks for sharing. Though I have been to few places outside my own country, I have never been to US, and it is really pleasing to see it thorough your eyes. Thanks for sharing. Keep writing. 🙂

      • Why thank you! I’m so glad you think so, storytelling is my beat! Thanks so much for reading. Come visit the US some day, it’s not as bad as they say. xo

      • Alive and loving it indeed! Miss you too, lady! Going to check up on your blog tonight and see what you’ve been up to. Trying to make a dedicated effort to be a better blogger. xox

    6. Gerry says

      Carley, insightful as usual. After just coming back from NY, I have a hard time understanding how you love it. (I’m just a beach girl.) Couldn’t stand not having the sun touch me in the city (even when it’s out). Being a tourist, I hugged the hell out of my purse the whole time – think it was glued to my side.

    7. Having partied on a rooftop with celebrities and gone to a party at the United Nations, New York is sometimes exactly what people expect it to be, haha. I wasn’t aware that was what people expected it to be though… it’s always interesting to me when people tell me their preconceived notions of New York. I had known I wanted to move to New York ever since I saw Breakfast at Tifany’s. When she’s in the alley, crying in the rain, I was like, “That’s real life. I want that.” All the craziness she goes through, all the attempts at ignoring life, pretending to be something she’s not, having a white guy pretending to be an Asian upstairs, a weirdly close relationship with someone she can’t even call by the right name, ending up in an alley sobbing over a cat without a name… that was my dream.

      I probably need a psychiatrist. But the point is that my preconceived notions of NYC all came from a movie from the 60s…. And I think they held up well, haha. I could totally write an entry about this…. thank you for the inspiration.

      Also, your blog is fun and I’m totally adding you to my reader. Sorry about your purse. (Although, if I’m totally honest, I even love the thieves of NYC…)

    8. A management type buddy of mine and myself were once pondering about criminals in general. We spoke about our work routine and the effort we put into ensuring that the day runs along in a hopefully barely chaotic way. We thought of that effort and the effort it takes to not concentrate on being productive but instead to put your effort just to watch out for some opening to do something wrong.

      It really shows the mental mindset of these people and what they could probably do if they focused on something positive.

    9. Pingback: Why I Love New York/My Favorite Movie | Arrivals and Departures

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