Growing up goes into overdrive when you make a big move. You are not only presented with endless opportunities and new experiences, but also uncertainty and self-doubt.
To date, I have traveled to 16 countries and lived in 4 different cities. The most challenging part was never the move itself but the adjustment to a new city where I had no established network personally or professionally.
When I first moved to New York for a summer internship I was completely thrown off by the cultural difference between the West Coast and East Coast. Sure, I fawned over shows like Friends, Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother, but nothing really prepares you for the unscripted real life move to a big city. I lived in an NYU dorm in Greenwich Village and honestly felt like all my dreams could come true every time I walked past an ivy covered Brownstone or walked around the bustling Madison Square Garden.
As amazing as my experience was, there was always a looming feeling of solitude because everyone, including myself, was immersed in their own hustle. One day, as I was walking in Central Park a local artist sang an original song which detailed how New York is one of the loneliest cities in the world. I found myself snapping my fingers in agreement because it is so easy to walk or travel in Manhattan and not speak to or connect with a single soul. Once, I was so immersed in my google maps (trying not to get lost again) that I didn’t realize I had been sitting in front of Tyler Perry on the subway!
The summer I moved to Manhattan my mom was terrified of me taking a taxi alone in a new city with all my belongings. In efforts to help me she recruited the friend of a friend of a friend who lived in New Jersey to pick me up from La Guardia airport. I conceded to give her piece of mind.
What neither of us knew was that this very distant acquaintance did not have a car. Instead, she asked her sister’s new boyfriend to pick me up and drive me to my summer dorm. Everything was fine until he stopped in a no parking zone and received a $150 fine. All of that happened 15 minutes before I found them which made for a very sour welcome and the longest car ride of my life of passive aggressive judgment. I’m sure it was the most expensive favor he had done for a stranger. While I was thankful for the favor, I did not keep in contact with them. However, this incident pushed me to learn all forms of transportation inside and out and by the end of the summer. I took the subway, bus and taxi enough times that I was giving directions to lost tourists!
In the final three episodes of the web series Crying in Public, we learn about how to maneuver our way through these new experiences. Panty Guy, The Artist and Birthday explore the uncomfortable parts of moving to a new city and how to overcome them with laughter, persistence and sometimes even #cryinginpublic.
When you move to a new city, the move is just the first step of pushing the boundaries your comfort zone and sometimes you have to do things that don’t feel so good. It is from these uncomfortable moments that we learn the most about our own strength.
It is important to remember that it’s okay to not be ready for everything, it’s okay not to know everything and it’s okay to learn as you go. Any and all of my uncomfortable stories have turned into great stories to tell. FYI, the story-line for Panty Guy was based off of a real life experience from director, actress and writer Courtney Case, ie Tobi.
As season one wraps up we are left inspired by our relatable character Tobi who faces her #reasonstocryinpublic just as any of us would. Sometimes we make mountains out of mole hills, but in the end we stand up for ourselves and take ownership of our journey to what we want to achieve. We learn that things are never as bad as they seem, not even peeing on your cute coworker’s floor. We wipe off the running mascara, blow our nose, take a deep breath and move on. Sometimes the biggest roadblocks are those that we create in our own heads.
As the CIP web series creator Denayja Reese says, “Ultimately, you can’t let anything stop you. You have to keep trying, ask for help when you need it and if you have to stop and cry on a park bench, do it. Just make sure you get up and keep going when you’re done.”
Denayja Reese is currently in pre-production for her new web series In Our Rooms that is being shot in Chicago in April.
Courtney Case has moved away from acting and is focusing on a career in animal care and rights.