The year before had been less than forgiving to me. My dad died in September. For the rest of the year, I was walking on uneven emotional terrain. I questioned what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I pulled away from friends. Denounced the “live it up” college lifestyle. People are so reckless with their lives. It was sickening to me. I was probably depressed, but I felt like I was entitled to be. I focused on nothing but an impending career. All I wanted to do was escape.
With the new year, I took a leap of faith and applied for internships in New York City. It had always been my dream to live there. Find myself. However, due to my natural cynicism, I felt like I wasn’t qualified enough. When I didn’t hear back immediately, I started applying for some in my hometown. I accepted a radio internship in Charlotte and became content with spending the summer with family. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. The pain I’d experienced in the past year had numbed me. I found it hard to have hope.
Then, I got a call. A website specializing in entertainment reporting, HollywoodLife.com, called me up and asked for an interview. A week later, they offered me an internship. I immediately retracted my radio internship and accepted.
It was like a light clicked back on inside me. After a year of nothing but suffering, I was finally happy about something. Yet, I was scared. What if wasn’t good enough? Also, I’d never stayed outside North Carolina longer than a week. I’ve watched one too many “Law and Order: SVU’s” and my mom always reminds me that the world is not a nice place.
I was now at a crossroads of emotions. I was excited about all the possibilities ahead of me. But I was also sad about leaving my family behind. What if something happened to me? What if something happened to mom, Katy or Will and I couldn’t get back immediately? I’m irrationally paranoid, but we lost dad so unexpectedly, it’s hard not to be.
When the departure date drew nearer, I became nervous. It all hit me as my mom drove me from my home to Charlotte Douglas Airport. I cried. A lot. First, it was bratty tears because I had to leave clothes I thought I needed behind. Then, when my mom left me in the security line I just started ugly crying. My mom is my best friend. Like peas and carrots, she says. We’re incredibly close and were even closer after this year. I didn’t want to leave her.
But I knew that if I didn’t go now, I’d never go.
The summer in New York City healed me. I worked red carpets. I attended movie premieres. Talked to celebrities I’d only ever dreamed of talking to. I wrote about the movies and television shows that I’d only wrote for myself in a blog. Everything I could possibly want actually happened.
I finally found people who saw me. The HollywoodLife office became the only place I wanted to be. When I became Andy’s, the entertainment director’s first intern, and cemented myself a place right next to him and Eleanore, a fellow entertainment reporter with an extra Irish spunk, I was elated. Emily, an editorial assistant at the time, became one of my best friends complete with “The O.C.” marathons and a mutual love for Richard Gere.
They understood my passion and they mentored me. Andy, Emily, and Eleanore…they became the older siblings I never had. I was able to find my niche and cultivate it over three months. I am indebted to them for guiding me.
Leaving was like ripping stitches. Just like when I left North Carolina, I sobbed in the airport. Yet, I came to one realization: Those stitches can be sewn back and the next time, they’ll be completely healed.
I’ve put my life back together and I’m ready for what lies ahead. I’m no longer a battleground of emotions. I’ve repaired myself and experienced living in a way I didn’t know was possible.
I no longer question my destiny. I know exactly what I want. North Carolina is my past. New York is my future.
As I returned home, my mom was there waiting. She held my hand so tightly as she drove from the airport. She told me how proud she was of me. She said I am fulfilling my dream, one she always wanted for herself. No one deserved it more than me, she said.
My senior year has been about nothing but finding a way to get back to New York. It’s my future. It’s where I belong. I will find a way back. New York just keeps calling me home.