Well, I'm in Texas for the summer... but I'm still Little Bitty in a city! Just not the city. I'm in Austin, y'all! The capitol of this glorious state! I'm here for about a month doing an internship with an amazing nonprofit called Badgerdog. They build literary communities in Austin, from writing workshops with senior citizens to writing summer camps for kids, which is what I'm helping out with. I love Austin so far, and I love Badgerdog even more. But, I have to say, I really miss New York!
So at Badgerdog summer camp, they have the coolest teachers who give them really creative and fun prompts, and often, I write along with them. I wanted to share something that I wrote at camp a couple of days ago. I was in the upper elementary class (5th/6th grade), and the teacher, Claire, played a segment of This American Life called This I Used to Believe (I would explain it here, but it's kinda sorta lengthy, so just click the link if you're intrigued). Essentially, the prompt was to write about what we believe or what we used to believe (I picked the latter). Here's what I wrote. It's about how I got to NYU and my subsequent first year living in New York (which is why I thought it was appropriate to share on this here blog!).
Once upon a time, I believed that New York City was the greatest place on this earth. Of course, I had only been there once, the summer after sixth grade, but after that trip to the concrete jungle, I absolutely knew that New York was the greatest place in the world, and nothing could stop me from getting there and staying there. Then, I saw a movie--I don't remember what it was called, but I think it starred Scarlett Johansson and I remember her character telling her father, "I want to go to NYU. They have a great creative writing program there." That was my lightbulb moment. I didn't even question whether or not NYU actually had a great creative writing program. From that moment on, my whole life was determined: I would go to NYU, study English and creative writing, and leave Texas behind forever. Everything I did in school was geared toward my goal. If I did badly on a chemistry test, it would instigate an emotional breakdown. My logic went as follows: now that I got a bad grade, I will make a "B" in my class, my GPA will be shattered, and I will not get into NYU. There was no consoling me.
Fast forward a few years. The happiest day of my life, the day I found out that NYU wanted me for the class of 2013, had come and gone, and I was smack-dab in the middle of my freshman year. And I was miserable. New York was desperately lonely. It seemed everyone at NYU was too cool for the girl from a tiny town in Texas. The friends I did manage to make, I didn't like all that much. The city was so lonely--everyone always on their own trajectories, without time to involve themselves in someone else's. I missed being asked how I was doing, I missed the word "y'all," I missed queso, I missed driving, I missed being able to see for miles, and I desperately missed my family.
I missed Texas. I wanted to return to the glorious land that I had always taken for granted. I knew I would stick it out until I loved New York, but one day I would return to the place where my heart always stayed.