The Chronicles of a Fashion Woman: How It Happened
On April 9 at 5:45 a.m., I boarded a plane with a one-way ticket and a suitcase. I was headed to JFK Airport and I was never coming back, at least not to live. I was never going to live in Orange County again. It felt strange.
But maybe I should start this from the very beginning.
I had been working in Irvine at a job that barely paid the bills and did not make me happy. I didn't feel fulfilled or like I belonged. Every day felt like a struggle, and at the end of it, all I could think about was New York. In my darkest times I cried out to the City, promising it I'd be back. I didn't know how, but I knew I would have to. It was killing me to live anywhere else.
New York City has always felt like a soulmate to me. Ever since I first visited at age 12, I knew. It's a dream I've talked about for years. I know some people have thought I was just a too-ambitious, naive kid with a ridiculous notion. My dreams have always been impossibly large, but I knew that nothing else would fit for me. It was going to have to be New York.
After I graduated college, I felt stuck. I was in a job I wasn't that passionate about and living in a town I hated. Although I had so many loved ones that I will cherish forever and always keep in my life, I was miserable in Orange County. It wasn't for me - it never has been and it never will be.
In December, although I was struggling financially and having an emotional breakdown almost daily about how scary it was, I made the irrational promise to myself to at least visit the City sometime in 2018. Even if I couldn't move just yet, I could at least get a little taste to sate me until I was ready. Luckily, my best friend Adam was one step ahead of me.
We planned our trip for mid-March--my birthday (on the 17th, mark it down in your calendars people. This is a national holiday as far as I'm concerned). It was such a beautiful experience. I got to be in the City, MY city, with my best friend. Although it wasn't permanent, it was a full four days of New York living.
I decided if I was going to take the time to travel across the country, I might as well make it worth it. I began reaching out to editors and writers in the City, hoping to get at least one response for a coffee meet and chat about their career. I was desperate for advice and direction--desperate to begin setting a path to my future.
As luck would have it, I lined up two meetings: one with a writer at New York Magazine's The Cut and another with a feminist author who inspired me to learn more about and pursue feminism back in college. Meeting with these two women felt like more than enough, until I got the email.
One day before I was ready to board the plane, I got an email from someone at Harper's Bazaar, the esteemed (and the United States' oldest) fashion magazine I had interned at that glorious summer in 2016. I had submitted my resume to them after graduation, letting them know I was interested in any and all open positions and I would love to be kept in mind.
I had interviewed at Harper's Bazaar back in March and did not hear back, presumably because it was over the phone and I was out of state. It's rare that someone in New York will hire someone out of state for an entry-level position, which made my permanent move feel even more unreachable. How can I move 3000 miles away when I don't have a secure job?
This email came from a different department at the magazine. The woman writing to me wanted to know if I could come in for an interview that Thursday. I was flying there on a Wednesday--I was incredulous in my genuine response of, "Yes, I can."
It felt surreal to be in the Hearst building again after all that time. I was about 60 pounds heavier, two years older, and an entirely different woman. I rode the elevator up to the 25th floor, a move that immediately felt routine to me. I was ushered into a conference room and instructed to wait for my interviewer. I sat there, feeling right. Hoping to God this was it. Knowing deep down...it was.
One week after the interview, I got the call. I was on my way home from the gym. The editor had told me she'd call me, but I wasn't sure what that meant. The possibilities raced through my mind, but a second interview seemed most likely.
The phone began to ring as I was turning left onto Chapman, about five minutes from my apartment.
"Hi Taylor, this is ______," the voice on the other end said. It was the editor who had interviewed me.
"Hi!" I said, too anxious to say much more without bursting into laughter or tears.
"So, I wanted to wait until _______ had a chance to jump on the call with us, because I really wanted her to meet you. But she trusts my judgment and the fact that you've worked here before is a huge plus," she must have said. It was something along those lines. Meanwhile, my mind was sprinting laps. I felt it coming. Sayitsayitsayitsayitsayitsayit, my brain was screaming.
"When is the soonest you'd be able to start?" she said, interrupting my thoughts. I almost dropped the phone.
"As soon as possible," I said instinctively, refusing to give up this once-in-a-lifetime chance. The rest I'd figure out later.
"I know you're still in California and need to figure things out. Moving is a big deal; I don't want you to race out here and not even have a place to stay. However, we do need someone as soon as possible. If you could make it here before May, that would be great."
I told her I'd be there in one week.
With this deadline set, I knew I had to hustle. No more being a Californian; I was going to be a New Yorker, and no one was going to make this happen but me.
That week was perhaps one of the most stressful of my life. I didn't stop moving, not even for one second. I put in the one week's notice at work (which my boss was completely gracious and supportive about. Thank you forever, Carl Fillichio) and began frantically looking for someone to take my room over at my apartment before rent was due (which was in three days), someone to buy my car (which was crucial as I had to use that money to put down the deposit on my New York apartment), and a place to live in New York.
I bought a plane ticket for the following Monday, cementing my decision. Not finding a renter and a buyer wasn't an option--I HAD to get this done.
After showing my car and room to countless inquirers, I was able to sell my car to a former coworker and lifelong friend and rent my room to someone I went to high school with. I found an apartment in Brooklyn with a few roommates, one of whom has two cats (which is very exciting for me). I'm still not sure how, but I did it. Everything worked out perfectly.
I said goodbye to as many people as I could. I was thrilled to leave California and to start my life, but quite heartbroken to leave certain people. However, I knew it was time to do this.
An emotional car ride with the best friends I have ever had brought me to LAX with my one-way ticket and my big red suitcase. I said goodbye, and I don't know if I will ever get the image of Millie's face right before I turned away out of my mind, but I had to go.
I boarded the plane with a giant coat Millie had given me and an edible to ensure I wouldn't be conscious. Six hours later, I awoke to my future.
More on my first week as a RESIDENT of New York later. Until next time...