The first time I ever visited New York City was when I was fourteen years old. I was nominated by one of my teachers for a women's leadership summit and had the opportunity to spend a week in Manhattan. Little did I know, this city was waiting to steal my heart away. Fast-forward three years, and I'm packing my things and getting ready to move downstate to Westchester County, where I would attend college (and have easy access to the city 24/7).
By the end of my college career, I was taking the Metro North into the city nearly every weekend. It was my escape from the mental health issues and inner turmoil that I couldn't seem to shake while at school. When I was on the edge of a breakdown, I'd go to the city and wander up and down the streets until my feet became sore. I'd sit in front of the New York Public Library and watch people mill about. Nothing mattered in Manhattan; I was anonymous, I was invisible, and I could be my authentic self and have to answer to no one for it. I think New York will always be special to me in that way.
In mid-April, my mom and I took an impromptu road trip to the city; she had a meeting for work and I never pass up a road trip, even if a short one. As always, my heart was a bit fuller when I left than when I arrived. Mid-April in the western part of the state tends to be characterized by gloomy, turbulent weather. But in the city, it was warm, sunny, and the flowers were already beginning to bloom. It finally felt like spring was on its way.