*Here is the second part of a three part short story/reflection on my first year in New York. I didn’t have the normal transition to this city that most transplants have but I’m glad I took the road less traveled to get to where I am today.
Read part 1: HERE
After giving myself 10 seconds to break down, I called two friends to vent about what happened that morning while processing how quickly my life turned into a dumpster fire. While their voices were comforting, they weren’t in New York and no one would be able to get me out of this situation but myself. I was ready to deal with whatever came next. Before the city Marshall left he asked me what my plans were. Since my simple game plan was a bust I told him I had no idea. He gave me the number to an emergency housing service that could potentially help me with my dilemma.
L the fucking Scammer left a few minutes before the Marshall and told me that this was all a big misunderstanding and we should be back in the place by the end of the day. Honestly he could’ve just laughed and slapped me in the face because that would’ve been the equivalent to the bullshit he was trying to sell me. With three bags in hand, a slightly charged phone and demolished spirit, I called the emergency housing number thinking I’d be put into a temporary room somewhere in the city so I could figure out my next steps.
My idea of the housing service was very off. I remember my stomach dropping when the lady on the phone told me that they could place me in a men’s shelter until I could get back on my feet with no emotion in her voice. A few months back I was graduating college with the possibilities of my future feeling endless. Now I’m being told my next chapter was going to a place I never imagined I’d end up at. I was crushed.
Now I bet you’re thinking “Marcel it sounds like it’s time you use that Plan B, consider this move a “learning experience” and move forward by moving back to Michigan.” Trust me I considered it multiple times during those next three months but I had to ask myself what was I coming back to? For the past four years I was supporting myself for the most part. Grants, loans and jobs made it possible for me to live on my own and enjoy my time in college. While my family gave me a lot of emotional support, I knew financially I was on my own and I wasn’t ready to leave this city yet.
So my millennial, scammed, more naive than I thought ass called an uber to take me to the men’s shelter. A fucking uber. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve gladly took a train if I could but after lugging those bags across town via subway a couple days before, I knew it would be less stressful to let a car take me to my destination.
Now if you want to know a way to truly humble yourself at what some consider to be the prime of your life… Graduate college and then end up in a homeless shelter. I’m half joking when I say that but when I put both worlds into perspective it made me realize how determined I am to achieve goals, find my purpose and when I’m on my deathbed know that I lived a fully realized life. Whether you have the privilege of having a college education and solid support system, or you’re trying to find your way through the shelter system, your mindset and actions determine your fate. No one can make you successful or change your life for the better but you. I can admit most people would have saved up an emergency fund in case of scenarios like this or held off on moving to the most expensive city in America until they were financially prepared… but let’s continue this honesty train.
I don’t come from money or financial stability and with my fresh loan debt approaching, I won’t be in the green anytime soon. Why not live in a place that motivates you to work as hard as physically and mentally possibly to survive while giving you access to work hard, play even harder and constantly be inspired? Or more importantly why not achieve a goal you’ve had since childhood when the opportunity presents itself?
Every day in NYC leaves me with many emotions, moments that you’d have to witness to believe and people that just want to live the best life possible. My time in various shelters during those three months was brief compared to your average person that has to repair their life from square one but the moments I experienced forever changed me.
Life when I got my official start in New York was a whole new challenge. I signed a (legitimate) lease on September 30, 2016 and so many adventures came from the rest of that year to now…
TO BE CONTINUED