I came to win ...

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Rachael O'Bryan
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Rachael's New York

I'm not really a Nicki Minaj fan, however as I was walking through the city the other day the song "Fly" came on Pandora and the words to the chorus moved me: "I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive, I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise, to fly." I feel like these words fit my life right now because my life I feel like everything I want is within reach. This is a feeling and mindset far removed from where I was about a year ago. Back then I was heart broken, defeated, and struggling. And then I made what has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life - I moved to New York.
It's hard to believe that Monday will mark one year since I loaded up a cargo van with the help of my friends and drove from Silver Spring, Maryland to New York City. I came here with some definite goals in mind and I feel like I'm finally about to achieve them.
First I came here to pursue writing. This blog is almost a year old and although at times I wish I could dedicate more time to it, I'm happy that I haven't strayed from it. I also love that the number of views go up and that some of my posts have received positive feed back. I'm also glad that I took the time to document my life in New York. When I travel I take lots of pictures, afraid that I may forget what I traveled so far to see. However, in New York I don't always stop to take pictures. Rather at home I write about my daily events or in some cases feelings. I'm so glad I took the time and will continue to take the time to write about my life in brief posts because I can pull from this information for other writing projects like my magazine or future books. I will go further into my magazine progress in a little bit, as for future books I have so many ideas in my mind. It's hard to decide which one to start with. I've started handwriting a collection of personal essays/short memoirs. And I briefly started a fiction book. Which one I focus on usually depends on whether I'm in the mood to type or hand write. I generally save the handwriting for when I'm away from home, so I don't have to carry my computer around if I want to write somewhere else than my apartment. Also, this weekend I came up with another short book idea where I want to possibly use this self-publishing program at McNally Jackson bookstore. I love bookstores and want to support them and this seems like a good way to do so since I just gave in and bought an e-reader. I was trying to avoid this, but with little time to spend at the library and little space to store books in my apartment it seems like the best option right now. Also, I started a sports blog that I write in occasionally. I feel like sports writing is something I would love to do freelance, but it is more removed from my immediate goals so this is more of a hobby right now.
As for the online magazine, I can't believe how close it is to becoming a reality. I have been working on this idea for a year now and have collected articles for almost 8 months. I have written some of my own articles too. And thanks to twitter I was able to connect with a web designer and his company to make an affordable website for me, as well as create a logo for the magazine. I think once the contract and down payment is finalized the website will be ready in about two or three weeks, so I'm looking towards the end of April/Beginning of May to launch. I still want to have a launch party, but that might be pushed back.
Besides coming here to pursue writing, I came here to step out of my comfort zone and to really put myself out there and find things that I love to do. In order to achieve this goal I've looked into taking classes and joining different groups. I joined some meet up groups and those are going well. I've been to a few events so far and have meet some nice people. On my original list of things to do when was taking a dance class, but dancing in front of people is more horrifying then my karaoke attempts so I haven't been able to bring myself to try that out. Also, I still want to finally try yoga out and I did get this deal from Gilt City to try these core workout classes. As mentioned in a previous blog I took my first cooking class, and plan on taking more. And I joined a gym that I regularly attend. Also, I'm getting back into running. It's been a while since I took running seriously - I have a love/hate relationship with it, but with the warmer weather I've decided to rededicate myself to it. To stay committed to running on a regular basis I signed up for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon. I know a lot of people do a 5-K race to get started, but don't be alarmed. I've done two half-marathons, the most recent a year ago, so it's not that out of reach. And even more impressive is that despite all the tempting restaurants in this city I've managed to lose 16 pounds and am sure to reach my goal in that area this summer.
But my overall goal in moving was to improve my life and be happier. And it just happened. People say you find love when you aren't looking and I'm not going to write much about that subject anymore - I believe some things should just be private - but I think the same can be said for happiness. It just kind of happened. I realize I smile more now. I feel like I'm more alive.
People also say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. So far I've made it a lot further than people thought. When I went away to college at 18 years old people thought because I was quiet and shy I would return home for school after my first year. And as much as I love cheering on my Cardinals, I never wanted to go to school there (I had to briefly during law school because of Hurricane Katrina though). I wanted a far bigger test in life than the academic side of school. I needed a social challenge - I needed to break out. And I longed for that same challenge when life in DC got too complacent for me. Most of my friends were supportive of my desire to move to New York, but one had serious doubts. Those doubts only made my desire to move stronger. I love it here. I came to make something of my life. And maybe, not to harp on it too much, I came here to find someone to share all of my possible success with.
With that said, I'm so glad that I followed my heart and continue to do so. Sometimes I think I need to move away from making decisions based on leaps of faiths and my heart, but honestly I think it works for me. I mean I'm an intelligent, independent woman who makes good decisions for the most part - I see nothing wrong with going after what I want as long as I'm not hurting myself or anyone else.
So here's to New York where dreams are made and people rise above it all. I came here to win and I feel like anything and everything is possible.