The City of Freedom…

There comes a day in our lives where we meet that special something that holds a place in our hearts, and with every meeting it never fails to warm it; That special something that influences our souls to flourish, to express itself in its most natural, unique state. That is the epitome of New York City.

Standing on Fashion Ave, after getting off my bus and arriving into the city, I’m standing waiting for a friend. Not a person doesn’t go by that my eyes don’t wander to. A woman with thick chunky platform shoes and hair cut to her jawline, the face of Vogue. A few friends walking the streets, dresses and skirts swinging so casually, yet anywhere other than the city that would be style for a special occasion. Headphones and leather biker jackets with literally just about everything. Even the athletic jocks and gym-goers look stylish in the city.

The embodiment of NYC street style is being oddly strange in the most normal way. Whatever it is that makes you your quirkiest and most offbeat self is suitable for NYC lifestyle. Not being average is the norm. I’m walking through the streets of Soho and strut past a shop with sunglasses displayed in the window, a pair with kaleidoscope lenses is shining in the sun, front and center, calling my name. Suddenly, I seriously consider buying them. They’re incredibly awesome and so unique! And then I remembered last Spring I was in New York, when I bought large, square framed pastel-pink sunglasses that were chic and acceptable in the city but could never be worn again in Virginia. Or the hippie, ripped, patched vintage jeans I bought in the city a year before that and only wore nearly a handful of times… The city brings out the inner extraordinary, unique parts of your soul and accentuate them.

For my first night out in the city I realized how true Sex in the City really is… Everyone’s single or pretends to be. Everyone is out clubbing till four in the morning. And while this may not be the typical weekend lifestyle for everyone, it’s beautiful in a most extraordinary way. No one cares if you’re out every weekend or you’re not. No ones cares about the standard rules and regulations of life; go to college, get married, get a job, have kids.They just live and don’t judge. Not a single New Yorker asked me if I had a degree, if I had my own place, they simply ask, “what do you do? Where are you from?” And talk about life and love and experiences.

Not everyone loves the city like I do. I’ve come to find there’s a true love-hate relationship for it, and most people I know hate it. But no matter your love, or lack thereof, for the smells of the subways or the business of the streets, there’s something to take from the city, and it’s a sense of freedom. The freedom to be completely yourself and not be judged, to wear what you want when you want to, to take whatever life path you want and not be judged. I met many adults who were writers, stylists, nannies. A New Yorker friend said to me, “No one I know has a proper job anymore. It’s so weird now. You can be Blac Chyna and make a bank… I know many people who don’t use their degree, myself included. Waste of money.” I even met transgender Mono, who was his born male, and was male by week, and a ‘drag’ female on the weekends. No matter their sexual orientation, outfit, or career path, New Yorkers didn’t care. I find that outside of the city, in many other states around the U.S., that that’s not the case. Here in Northern Virginia, and other places I’ve lived in, everyone has the same basic life map; college, marriage, kids, a perfect house and a 9-5 job. That is what’s expected. That’s what is strived for, nor is that wrong, but if it’s not what you strive for or where you’re heading, a filter of judgment is passed over you. That’s everything that’s wrong with a lot of society, everything that’s right about the city and exactly my point. New York City is the city of dreams, whether you like it, don’t, or have never been, everything you can take from it, and this, should be applied to your daily life whether you’re in the country, city, or a suburban town. Be the quirkiest you, embrace your personality, your opinions, your taste. Who cares what anyone thinks, if it’s what everyone else is doing or it isn’t, it’s what you want, what makes you happy, so embrace it and live every day like this life is yours to take.

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