Concrete Chronicles: My 1st year in NYC!

 

5 Things I’ve learned since living in New York City!

It’s very hard to believe that one year ago today on July 16th I moved from my hometown of Philly to New York City! I could go on and on about the journey to get myself here, or about all of the crazy things I’ve seen since I’ve moved here. I’ll save that for another blog post. 🙂 For the most part things are chill. But what I will say is this place isn’t called “The city that never sleeps” for nothin’! I can only be grateful for the blessings and stay as positive as I can. I started a new job, I live in a cool Brooklyn neighborhood, I’ve met new people, reconnected with friends, partied, turned 30! So much greatness has happened and I’m excited for more.

This isn’t to say I haven’t faced any challenges, because I have, MANY in fact. As a new teacher in NYC I had to adjust to lots, and of course outside of work. Being an independent woman can be rough, but mostly it’s just apart of me growing up.

Here are 5 things I have learned thus far. Trust me, this list could’ve been a lot longer. I mean how could I limit myself, this IS New York City. There’s always plenty to learn and discover. But for me, this is what I have figured out!

1. Wallet? Check. MetroCard? Check? Headphones? Check.

Living on the 4th floor of my apartment building isn’t the easiest task. Specifically when climbing UP the stairs with laundry, or groceries, or just dragging my tired self up the stairs after a long day at work. It ain’t easy! So, a key takeaway before I leave out of the door for any period of time I make sure I have what I need before I leave out the door. I live in Brooklyn and most times I’m going into the city of Manhattan so I definitely like to make sure I have what I need. I admit there were some days during the last year of living here that I forgot SOMETHING.

One day after leaving for work at 5am I got all the way to the train platform to realize I didn’t have my bank card OR my ID! I remembered in the moment that I had taken the cards out of my wallet the day before and clearly forgot to put them back. After taking the 6 minute walk to the station, in my head I’m like, “Damn!” I didn’t even go back home. The thought of going back and climbing those stairs made me cringe. Just yesterday once again going to the train station, I realized I had forgotten my headphones, which is a like a train rider’s nightmare! Especially for me, they come in handy to tune out the New York noise. Word of advice for the NEW New Yorker, before leaving out the door make sure you have yo’ stuff!

2. Buy in bulk, for real.

It’s no surprise that New York is a very expensive city. So I have learned to buy in bulk when it comes to buying things I need like toiletries, sometimes food (depends), and hair supplies. Also, hand soaps, paper towels. I sometimes buy two of those items or buy it in a pack if it comes that way. More so I do this with my toiletries so instead of one toothpaste or body wash I’ll buy two, or a food item that I know I use a lot. This keeps me from always having to go to the store and it helps to have a back up of something you use frequently.

Also, I must add that utilizing small spaces is essential. Most New York apartments are small and you have to learn to adjust to smaller rooms, closets, kitchens, etc. I fortunately have a nice sized apartment but my room isn’t exactly huge. However, I have done my best to utilize and work with what I got! A year later I would like to change some thing’s around, possibly get some shelves on the wall, I have lots of wall space.

Here’s a photo of when I first moved in and decorated. The last photo was taken a few days ago this July of 2017.

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July 16, 2016- Move in day

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July 16, 2016- Move in day

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July 16, 2017- A year later!

3. “Sit down, be humble.”

I have done my best thus far to stay true to myself since moving here and be humble. For someone like me who has dreamt of living here since I was a kid, and worked so hard to get here, I don’t take it for granted. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to have a great job, and have a home to live in. Nothing in this experience should warrant me the attitude to feel I am above anybody. I am proud, but not arrogant. I think you have to stay true to yourself but also don’t get too caught up in the bright lights and fast paced atmosphere of NYC. If you moved to a new city recently or began a new journey, being humble I think is the best way to be. I get up, go to work, mind my business, have fun, and learn. So be grateful for what you have and like Kendrick Lamar said, “Sit down, be humble.”

4. Be vigilant

This piece of advice may be a no-brainer but as a commuter on the MTA, you really need to be vigiliant. Too often I see people whether they are native New Yorkers are not, they are too “unbothered.” I can be on the train and notice things and people are either on their phones or not giving a damn what’s happening around them. I am not saying I’m all stealth and commando on the trains or walking the streets, BUT I really try to be aware of my surroundings. One morning on the train platform a guy clearly on drugs tried to steal from another man and they began to fight. In this moment I was looking at my phone! Once I realized what was happening I put my phone away, and steered clear from the altercation. I mean you can’t see it all, but what I know for certain in living here, pay attention.

5. Take it all in

As quickly as I moved in last July of 2016 I quickly started work after 2 weeks. With that being said a lot of my everyday life as a teacher was spent inside a classroom, and the days were long. I would say exploring the city is something I have learned to do since moving here. Now that I am on my summer break from work it’s an even better time to see the city! From theater shows, bar hopping, going to museums, or simply taking a stroll in Central Park. It has been imperative that I branch out and see this great city in all of it’s dirt, craziness, history, and never a dull moment that it offers. I don’t have a checklist of “things to see,” I just go with the flow most times and explore. Some days I have to remind myself, “You live here now.” 🙂 So I realize that I don’t always have to rush and see things all at once. I mean how can you? New York City has so many gems and things to discover, and that’s what’s so great about this city, at least for me. Every new day is just that, something new.

Here’s to many more memories, and new beginnings in the craziest, sometimes loudest, weirdest, never sleeping, most awesome city that I know! Cheers.

From my heart to yours,

-Elishia

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New York, New York!


Wow, so it was two months ago that I made my journey to New York City official! Between ending two jobs in late June to performing in FOUR shows of ‘For Colored Girls’ as the “Lady in Orange” at local theaters in Philadelphia, the past few months were just busy for me. But all of these things were truly blessings after how my year of 2015 ended. (Read here if you’re interested).

Moving to New York City has turned into a reality and no longer a dream. A dream I should mention came about when I was in the 7th grade and a college recruiter came to my school to talk about the importance of higher education. I remember the man showing us a bunch of brochures, one of them being for NYU and I read one word: Journalism. I remember feeling like, “Ah, ha! This is where I want to be!” It just felt right. Of course when it came time to apply for colleges and hear back from them, NYU told me a flat out NO. I was devastated, my poor 17 year old self had this dream since middle school but God had other plans for me. My college experience at Arcadia University was more than I could ask for, filled with trips abroad and I was involved on my campus, it was just right for me at the time. But back to New York.

The past two months has piled on more busy work and me feeling unbalanced, exhausted, and confused about my own to do list! As a new kindergarten teacher I am paired with an experienced teacher who has embraced me fully. The trouble is organizing my plans as my role requires more than just teaching, there are lots of other items on “the list.” I try VERY hard to not complain because moving to New York is what I’ve prayed for the last 3 years since being laid off from my first job out of college. I’ve worked jobs I didn’t want to work following that, I went without much money and health insurance, I sacrificed a lot.

So the past 3 years of praying for a new beginning, a good paying job WITH benefits, and in New York City? He answered my prayers because I trust in God that it is the right time. I just want to tap further into my purpose and really utilize and share my talents.

I’m back in action with this blog and my plan is to post at least twice a week. Coming tomorrow check out the ‘Labels’ section for a poll on the reemergence of the “Dashiki.” Plus on Thursday, head over to the ‘Love’ section on my experience of finding love in New York. For today, explore the ‘Living‘ page as I share my opinion on women receiving some “PTO” when it’s that “time of the month.” Y’all know what I mean! Hey, a girl can dream, right? 🙂

Glad to be back. From my heart to yours.

Elishia

#BlackGirlMagic

In case you missed it – Black girls are winning right now! I mean let’s just start with the most recent news of Army Reserve officer Deshauna Barber winning the Miss USA 2016 title! Though I didn’t watch the show (I generally don’t), I was still very excited when I saw the news that a poised and intelligent black woman had won the competition. Hailing from the District of Columbia (D.C.) the 26-year-old IT analyst briefly took off her military uniform for a different one, beautiful gowns and now a sparkling crown to match.  I tuned into some footage from the show and I immediately knew why she won. I didn’t play the race card or think, “Oh they picked her because it was the competition’s time to pick a black girl,” the way it generally happens every few years. But I felt in the few minutes of listening to Deshauna Barber answer questions and tell her story of coming from a military family but blazing her own trail for honor and respect, that she deserved to win.

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Her response to a question on political correctness and women in the military, Deshauna responded:

“As a woman in the United States Army, I think it was an amazing job by our government to allow women to integrate into every branch of the military. We are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I’m powerful, I am dedicated and it is important that we recognize that gender does not limit us in the United States.”

In my opinion it was refreshing to not only see a woman of color earn the crown but I honestly was surprised at what her career is, I thought it was cool. I didn’t expect such a young woman to be making positive waves in the military the way she is. I am not saying the other contestants didn’t have “cool” careers or that if Deshauna did something different it wouldn’t be as interesting, but I hardly ever hear of any WOMAN for that matter in the military that exuded such a positive aura.

The #BlackGirlMagic trendy hashtag is not just a fun social media ploy for likes, but it really is becoming a virtual movement of sharing positive images and videos of the good stuff. As a black girl, I love it. Celebrating the good increases more to follow. This world we live in is crazy, it can be sad even painful. However, we as consumers and viewers of what happens around us have the capabilities to share power, not problems.

I believe in the magic of black girls. Because I can!

-Elishia

Compete or Empower?

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Do you feel the need to compete with others or do you aim to empower? The question pops into my mind as I embark on new journey’s of my own and observe others reactions. I am the type where I will see something a person has accomplished, or has done something simple like went on a vacation and an inkling of me will envy it. Yeah, being envious isn’t the best trait but I am being honest. Most times it isn’t that I want what they have specifically but I may want something I’ve always aspired to receive.

But I’m done with that!

I know deep down that I have achieved lots and some things are on the way, because I believe in the possibilities. No need to be competitive or “one-up” the next person. I mean, for what? Personally, I wouldn’t gain anything from it.

So I say, EMPOWER! The competition should be with yourself, crossing things off of your to-do list, finishing that task you’ve put off for months or a year. There is no race for success. One should think of their desires and wants as a continued bond, where the finish line is more of a stepping stone to the next task.

From social media “likes” and “follows” there’s too much competition out in this virtual world we live in. I mean at least be different, try something no one else is doing, or put your own original spin on whatever you’re passionate about. Honestly, some people have the nerve to compete with others for selfish reasons, not because they want to uplift others. Of course there’s the saying, “Every man for himself.” But on the real, share the wisdom, spread around sense not shade.

Think of yourself, do you compete or empower?

-Elishia

 

Detox and Diamonds

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It’s the beginning of May, a new month, and I am not more organized than I was last month! Honestly, where has the time gone? I find it hard to embrace and take in each day because it feels like when I blink – it’s over. Though I can say many blessings have come my way even when it seemed doubtful. This year of 2016 so far is a mix of rough patches and new experiences, but also allowing me to find my niche and what works for me.

 

Everyday a new challenge arises even if it appears to be something small, but I am doing a better job with not letting every little thing get to me. Instead I work towards incorporating things that matter and benefit me.

This week ahead I am thinking a lot about the need to detox and wanting myself and other women around me to be treated like diamonds. Let me explain the diamonds part a little further. Sometimes I feel like someone very close to me has not been treated in a the way I believe they deserve to be treated. In my eyes they should be treated like diamonds. This woman that is very dear to me, I think of her like a diamond. To me she shines, and her journey to where she is now is much like the process of how diamonds are made. But too often she is left unpolished, and undervalued.

These thoughts just had me thinking, why can’t women feel like diamonds? Check out the “Love” section tomorrow as I poll other women on their thoughts.

Check out the “Living” section here for a brief video on a new “challenge” I am trying out!

Happy May to you all, here’s to more progress!

Love,

-Elishia

Am I too nice?

Am I too nice?

As I “March” into this new month I have to say first, I am thankful. I am not just thankful for the positive but also the ways that I have handled situations that could’ve brought me down. I am thankful that I have a relatively “can-do” attitude about where I am in my life right now. Nothing is ever perfect, and I have done my very best to not complain or be bitter, even when some days can get harder than others.

I am actively working towards improving who I am, and it can be a struggle. I like to think of myself as a person who can get along with anyone and be consistent no matter who it is. But as I often think about my growth over maybe the last 15 some odd years, I think about if I am a little too giving. Since elementary to high school I was dubbed either the quiet, shy, or nice girl. There isn’t anything wrong with those adjectives but it makes me think about who I am today. Have I changed? Do those descriptions still fit who I am? I don’t mind being called quiet or nice but I wonder if it really means anything to those I encounter.

Sometimes I’ll catch myself doing a gesture for someone else, and then I don’t always feel like I get the same in return. Most times I think it’s just me being kind, while other times I’m not sure if I am being overly nice. I am not desperate for anyone to like me. However, there’s apart of me that does contemplate if I am seeking some sort of gratification or gold star for my own self. My niceness happens often with family, friends, and more and more at work. I don’t aim to be the ‘yes man’ or er, woman but it does happen.

There are occasions where I really want to say “No” but I may not want to disappoint or upset someone. There are also moments where I feel like a family member or friend just assumes I’ll say yes anyway. When did I become so predictable? It would certainly be a change of pace to be known as someone who’s a rebel, party girl, or the cool friend that’s down for whatever without morality kicking in, which is typically how I operate.

But I know I’ll never really be known as something like a rebel. Though going out of my way to be so friendly has become scripted, making me want to say,”Hell no” or not extending olive branches to those who don’t reach for it. Far from a pushover, but neck and neck as an easy mark. Which begs the question, “Am I too nice?

-Elishia

The nice girl