08 / a new season

People demand to know why I’m leaving NYC to take 4 months off in Asia and then a year in New Zealand. Not always, but sometimes they asked in a way that made me feel defensive and I realized my reaction has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. I gave people dismissive, palatable answers because the real answer is a much longer, much more vulnerable discussion I didn’t feel ready to have. I don’t owe anyone disclosure about my life, but I want to share with you why I’m leaving:

First, within the past year, I stopped feeling self-motivated to make personal work. There are parts of NYC I love like the high-quality people, access to art and resources, and diversity of foods, but the aggressive sounds, smells, and sights of NYC were overstimulating for me. Besides the environment, between the toxic 24/7 hustle mentality, contradicting self-care movement, and pressure to socialize, I felt completely depleted. I don’t entirely blame NYC. Part of why I feel exhausted is my lack of boundaries. Regardless, for me, the positives no longer outweigh the negatives.

Second, I think everyone in my life is more excited about my adventure abroad than I am. Why? Because I do not believe I deserve this even though it’s been my dream to go to Japan, I paid off my student loans, and I still have some savings. I realized no matter how much money I have, it will never give me the security I expect to gain. My money story is inherited from my parents.

In middle school, I watched my parents financially lose everything when they opened a restaurant and it shut down. On the surface, we pretended everything was ok (and eventually it was), but there was a constant emotional and financial strain on our family. We did not speak about what happened so I learned to absorb and carry their shame.

From my parents, I learned how to work hard, value money, and be responsible. I also learned how to live in a scarcity mindset, feel anxiety/guilt whenever I spend money on “non-necessities”, and to never talk about money. Now don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my parents. They worked three times harder than anyone I know so that my sister and I could go to college (I even studied abroad), despite their struggles with money. They always found a way and truly taught me the definition of grit.

But their trauma is still with me. Not only do I fear I am making the most expensive mistake of my life, I fear genuine “unproductive” carefree joy.

The decision to leave NYC is my rebellion against the stories engrained into my brain. For the first time, I am declaring my full-time pursuit of art. Instead of having a job and creating art on the side, I am going to create art and have a job on the side. I was taught to be safe, responsible, and follow a known path. I’m deciding to risk everything, fuck around for at least 6 months, and carve my own path.

I have no idea what is going to happen, but I’ve never felt so sure and terrified about a decision. I know I need to do this for personal growth and frankly, for my own sanity. I don’t want to carry my family trauma. I want to live in an abundance mindset and become the person I know I can be. By leaving, I’m prioritizing my artistic pursuit and my personal joy.

p.s. I wrote this before I left for Asia, but was overwhelmed with travel plans and didn’t get a chance to send this. Finally, I found downtime on this rainy day so better late than never, right?! These thoughts still hold value and truth for me. As I begin the next season of my life, I will continue this newsletter with authenticity and consistency (hopefully once a month).