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“Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” -Tom Robbins.

Every day I sit on the bus to New York City from my house in North bergen, NJ. I ride along the skyline looking a the mysteries of this city I say to myself, “I will never take this for guaranteed because I worked to get myself here. And I did it all by myself”. These city lights shine on my face like a light at the end of the dark tunnel. The streets smell like trash and the subway smells like pee yet this is where dreams can come true. I walked down the street taking in all the opportunities that this city got to offer. How many before me had made the same move? Some were successful and their stories inspiring. Others, well, couldn’t hold up to their potentials and goes back to where they came from with empty pockets.

Every day I still miss him more than ever. In everything, I do I miss him. Every day I struggle with getting around the city and not get lost. Of course, there is a bad romance story behind this all. There always is. Have you seen the movies?  There is still always more. What are you willing to sacrifice to make your dreams come true? What are you trying to let go? What are you trying to forget that only the physical distance restraints you? What are you trying to achieve, to hope?

How did this get started? Why did I move from my comfortable South Philly condo, with a big kitchen, dining room, living room and a king size bedroom? Why did I quit working a good paying real estate job to move into a city that smells like trash to live in a small studio apartment inside my friend’s house? Am I crazy about moving into a new city with no new job opportunity or a plan? It is actually funny how I came into the situation of finally going after what I what. Maybe it is not so spontaneous after all. What I want is not to have got a “job” in New York City. What I want is to find who I can become in New York City.

I have mentioned before that I am bipolar and I struggle every day to just breath. I have always leaned my whole life’s happiness on relationships. I have been in relationships since I was 13-years-old. I believe it is a combination of my “daddy problems”, my mother’s lack of understanding and parenting skills, to my family’s constant babying me even when I am a grown adult. In middle school, I always snuck out of the house to meet up with boys and smoking cigarettes or drinking beer that we stole from our houses. In high school, I went to underage parties, gotten into fights, almost expelled, smoked weed in the bathroom and had sex with older boys in the back seat of my car. In college, I still partied too hard, get myself into bad relationships, experimented with too many drugs that had me addicted. As you can see, I was never a good girl. But I believe that to my family, I was always their pretty baby girl. I can see how I am different from my siblings and my cousins. Even as a kid, I did not have a father. My biological father left my mother and I when I was at a young age. There were stories of how he and his family would try to harm me because they did not want me. Everyone pitied me because I had no father. I was made fun of by all the other kids because I got more attention. At that time, in China, it was very uncommon for a kid to be abandoned by the father and a mother half way across the world. So my mom took me and escaped to America. I guess she couldn’t be tamed either. There, she met her next husband who became my next demon. Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, I was someone’s little princess.

I was never a good girl. I was never good at following the rules. Even now, I am still bad at following directions. My family worries too much and I understand it is their way of loving and protecting me, yet at the same time, they can’t just lock me behind closed door.

One day I just got tired of everything. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was dragging myself to work every day. I was tired. I was depressed. I was fighting with my family day in and day out because they were being overly protective. I was crying every night over some guy who doesn’t even deserve my tears. I was not allowed to be on the dance team that I loved the most. I went on a downward spiral towards self-destructions. My work became jeopardized and I no longer wanted to live my life.

I cried. I struggled. I had restless nights of sleep. I fought every night not put that blade against my wrists. One night I bought a bag of oxy off of those guys standing at the corner of my block. I cried more. I struggled. I sent crazy text messages to the one guy I can not have. I flushed that bag of oxy down the toilet at 5 am in the morning. I was in a desperate need to escape from the pain. While still heart broken from one guy, I started having sex with another. My story is a typical girl with daddy problems kind of story. Sad girl, no father, mother don’t care, family problems, sex, drugs, parties, depression, cutting, suicide. Somehow, I came out of a bloody war. Literally, blood, there was blood. Somehow, I managed to get up every day, paint on a smile and do my things. At the end of the day, I would do it all over again. I needed something to keep my mind busy. I started driving for Uber even though I hate driving. I made money. I saved money and that money was put into good use. At the same time, my friend had an opening at his house. I said to myself, “fuck it. I am doing this.” It is funny how we just stumble into the things we were supposed to do. I was fucking tired of the same old story.

Even though I am in New York city, where dreams come true, the struggle did not disappear. I probably even have more struggles of trying to make a living and being able to live at the same time. The only difference is I am stronger and happier. I get to dance anywhere I want, do the work that I love, be far away from the guy that broke my heart and out of reach from my family.

Being motivated doesn’t mean reaching for that one goal. Being motivated means you are enjoying every step getting to that goal. Believe it or not, I enjoyed my battles. I take pride in my scars. I am grateful for my tears. I thank everyone who broke my heart. I am finally stronger. Sometimes you need to be broken before you can be repaired. People give themselves too many damn excuses why they can’t live the life that they want. What is yours?


Bridget Zhang is a dancer. performer. choreographer. teacher. writer. photographer. lover. daughter. granddaughter. niece. family. friend.

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