A Letter to NYC

A Letter to NYC
 
 On the Staten Island Ferry in 1998

On the Staten Island Ferry in 1998

 

Dear New York,

When I stepped out of the grungy, dirty, Port Authority Bus Terminal a mere nine-year-old Texas boy surrounded by his Texas family in awe of you and the energy you created, I knew I wanted to live inside you. The first thing you did was hit me with a taxi (true story) and yet I still wanted to live inside you.  When I returned to Texas everyday from that point on was a day I knew would draw me closer to you. I would watch your movies and TV shows and think “one day I'm going to live there.” You drew me like a butterfly to a trashcan-fire. When I moved to you, first to Staten Island to finish my college program, the culture shock was unreal. This Texas boy only knew how to make others happy, what it was like to be surrounded by people who looked and thought just like him, but this Texas boy quickly learned that you would have none of that. You taught me that to survive in NYC, you have to be ready to fight. You have to take late night subway rides and wait in early morning audition lines. You have to spend a large amount of money for a small amount of space in order to get a piece of you.  New York, thank you for the resources you gave me because I have been able to be the person I always dreamed of being. I worked non-stop from the day I arrived booking theatre jobs all over the country, finding survival work, creating my own businesses, and even dating for the first time ever. I got my Equity card at a theater that I only dreamed of working, met my best friends that are still in my life to this day because of you. I even saw the towers fall and learned what true fear, true mourning, and true love is. You helped me discover my addiction (maybe even perpetuated it) but you helped me perpetuate my solution. Through the rooms I found in New York City  more people taught me about unconditional love, persistence and generosity then I experienced ever in my life. There's a 1 in 300 chance of being a fraternal twin and I’m one. There is a 1.5% chance of having a brother who's autistic and I have one. There's a 2.3% chance of being gay and I am. There is a 5%-10% chance of a NYC actor booking a Broadway show in one person's lifetime and I’ve booked 5! I don’t know how much luckier I can get, and I never realized my luck until you. New York I have given so much of myself to you and you require a lot!  At some point fighting has become counterproductive to the person I want to be. I see a lot of fight in friends, people I respect, people I love, and I am a champion to their fight, but I want to take myself out of the ring. So I'm leaving you New York, not because I feel defeated or angry, but because my 9 year old dreams came true thanks to you and now I have new dreams. I dream of being a dad, living comfortably not bombarded by traffic (human or otherwise) on a daily basis. I dream of allowing my creative self to be valued and not a threat. I dream of helping others in this country learn through me the tolerance I learned through you. I want to teach others the open-mindedness, the open-arms, the people and cultures that you so generously allowed me to witness. I dream of bursting the bubbles that are keeping our country divided. I dream of waking up everyday and knowing that who I am is enough and I can help others feel the same. Thank you for all you've given and I’ll be sure to visit and write as often as I can. You will always be with me, until I return to you again.

Love,

Bret