New York City Pride Weekend. A time full of love, respect, acceptance…and super dope parties!
Last year was my first pride weekend in New York. I’d been to several pride celebrations in my hometown of Houston, Texas, but never quite experienced it the way I did last summer in the Big Apple. It was the perfect time for it to be my first time. The supreme court ruled same-sex marriage a nationwide right that weekend, so the energy was very…GAY! So much joy and happiness…and free drinks and awesome parties! I drank and danced my life away while dragging my sister and friends along for the ride.
This year, I’d been grindin’ so hard trying to find my footing in New York, that I planned to keep it low-key and possibly only attend the parade that Sunday. Unsurprisingly, my friend, Chris, demanded that I do at least two gay things with him during the celebration. Expecting such, I saved a text from Braylon, another friend of mine, who invited me to a swanky rooftop party in Harlem. I forwarded the invite to Chris and he proclaimed the idea to be perfection. Immediately, I began to consume loads of water, in preparation for the obscene amount of social drinking I would be doing during the upcoming weekend.
The party was Braylon’s usual fare, a diverse array of beautiful successful people from actors to doctors. One person I hit it off immediately with was Jennifer, a 40 something boss bitch, who had been living in NYC for over 20 years. During our small talk, I told her I had just moved to the city three months ago. She followed by telling me that I had a long way to go before becoming a “New Yorker”.
I expected her to tell me about the standard ten year mark, but she surprised me by stating, “you’re not a New Yorker until you’ve been hit by a car.” I replied, “Girl, what?!” She continued, “Yeah, I got hit by a car some years ago and at that moment, that’s when I really felt like I’d earned my stripes. It was like a scene out of a movie. I flew on the hood of the car and then flew to the ground in a busy intersection and all!”
I thought about what she said. It was crazy. If that was the mark of a New Yorker, I started to reevaluate how badly I wanted to be one. Then, images flew through my mind of all the people I’ve seen almost get hit by cars on a daily…no, hourly, basis. She might be right…
Although, I don’t want to get hit by a car, or any moving object any time soon (honestly, never), I love the idea of entering a new space and earning your stripes. I’m writing a musical and entering the theatre world. There are so many new things I’m learning, and like a Lego tower being built sky high by a 2-year-old, brick by brick, day by day, I feel myself growing and becoming part of this thing. I love experiencing the ups and downs and ins and outs of a new arena. I love how it toughens my skin, makes me smarter, and keeps me dreaming.
I haven’t gotten toppled over by a smart car on Fifth Avenue yet, but I’ve experienced being crushed in train doors, dashing four avenues to make it to a meeting, and being forced to eat dollar pizza slices for a week because bills devoured most of my last paycheck. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.