I had to get out of Salt Lake City. Everything about it was making me sick. The urge to leave had crept in again.

(besides nature)

Everywhere I turned echoed every sin I'd committed.

Every time I went out, I dread the thought of seeing someone asking, "How are you?" I'm horrible. Are you prepared for that answer?

I was high on pharmaceutical pills high all the time going on "spontaneous adventures", starting fires, and burning bridges. My parents ridiculed my behavior, and their critiques only fueled my burning train wreck.

I was dating a 19 Year Old Mormon that wanted to go on a mission. My ex-boyfriend was all of a sudden interested in me. My family hated me, and I couldn't deal with it all in my face everyday. My way of dealing with it was pharmaceutical drugs and getting in a high headspace: If I could just distance myself from it all, then I could look at it from a different perspective and see what I need to do.

I was miserable and I just wanted to live my dreams. I had always dreamed on living in New York City. I loved the art, architecture and the distinct style of human beings found in every crevice at any hour of the day. The sights, the sounds, I had to be one with this life force!

It was a long shot, but I was determined. I had 2 incredible friends who were supportive and inspiring, and by grace of God they let me stay in their home. Their couch became a cute little Valerie nook and the timing couldn't have been more perfect as both were leaving town to spend the holiday with their families.

I arrived the day before Christmas Eve with a touch of guilt in my heart for not being around family or friends. Not too much though. My friends relished in getting shit-faced and Christmas with the family would be a predictable nightmare. Is it about Jesus? No, it's about consumerism. My mom gives us presents, my dad's a scrooge and ridicules the "crinkly packages". My parents argue. The spirit leaves our home. My dad and brother watch football. I go to my room. They guilt trip me for not wanting to spend time them. The energy is gross and I don't want it.

No thank you, Trite American Christmas.

I wasn't in that shit anymore. I was here, and all I had to do was focus on the now. It was healing and inspiring to be around this specific set of friends. They were artists who took a risk to live in Manhattan and cultivate their time and talents to create.


I absorbed every aspect of the experience.

We lived off the Halsey J Train in Brooklyn.

I'd wake up at dawn to catch the train into Manhattan.

The weather was freezing, but my heart burned with the desire to make it in the city. My friends were kind enough to let me stay on the couch, but that couldn't last forever.

I was on a mission to make it happen.

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