Why Do I Visit New York So Often?
Most people don't understand why I go and visit New York City so often. "Why not go somewhere new?" - my answer is always no. You see, my heart belongs in New York. I really feel like I was meant to live there. I get this indescribable feeling as soon as I land or cross over one of the 21 bridges that connect to Manhattan. It's the closest I've felt to pure happiness.
My love for New York City is rooted in the story of my eating disorder. I started the Columbia University Eating Disorders Program in Manhattan (for the first time) in the spring of 2014. Before then, I had sought treatment for my anorexia before, but was never able to complete a program in its entirety. The illness always found a way to creep back into my head, and I would discharge myself before getting to the target weight set for me by my doctors.
In 2014, in New York City, I completed the program. I was able to reach my target weight for the first time in the history of my illness. Whether it was the team of professionals I was working with, or the girls I had met along the way, or even due to my own strength and resilience, I did something that I had never done before. Going out on pass in New York was my personal reward for my perseverance. Ever since then, the city has felt magical. It inspires me and gives me hope; it quietly whispers to me that I can truly overcome my eating disorder and more importantly, live the life that I have imagined for myself.
THE FASHION. THE ART. THE CULTURE. THE FOOD. THE NIGHTLIFE. THE HISTORY. It really is a global power city.
New York can feel lonely, and I understand why. There are so many people living in the city, and without a purpose, or a family, or a close group of friends, you may literally feel like you are being swallowed whole by the cityscape. But it's all about finding yourself, really. When I first arrived, I was so naive as to what the city could offer. But being there slowly brought me from near-death to full of life, and I began to understand how relevant and meaningful New York City was going to become for me.
I go back for a variety of reasons. I always make a stop at the treatment centre where I collectively spent over a year of my life. Speaking with my doctor and my treatment team allows me to refocus and get that little boost of confidence that I need every once and awhile. It also gives me the chance to thank them, again, for saving my life multiple times. Never forget to thank the ones who brought you to where you need to be.
I go back to visit the girls I have met in treatment who live in New York or its surroundings. We have been through hell and back and it's always nice to spend time with them in "the real world"; eating and laughing and shopping and playing and LIVING. The bond that I have created with my treatment friends is unlike any other friendship. I have other friends in the city, too; friends that I know from back home. I always try to pay them a visit. They show me that it's possible to be my age and live a life free from the grips and hold of anorexia, and that is so incredibly motivating for me.
And I go back because quite honestly, I feel so inspired when I'm there. New York is a city of dreamers, and I am one of them. Sometimes I get a little lost along the way, but being in New York reminds me of why I'm fighting for my health and also inspires me to set new goals and accomplish big things. Sure, the hustle and bustle of a big metropolitan city can be overwhelming. But I CRAVE the passion and work ethic and desire of the people I see around me when I'm there.
That's why I go back. To become a better version of myself. To get inspired. To make the most out of my life.