10 years

10 years ago today, I was just north of the World Trade Center.  That morning I was not watching from my television, but working in Soho, on the corner of West Broadway & Broome Street.  Fresh out of college, naive but eager for opportunity and the beginning of a career in the arts.  After witnessing first hand what we thought must have been a tragic accident, I stood with my fellow Anthropologie co-workers huddled around a radio: "The Pentagon has been hit".  My heart sank, this was no accident.  We returned outside to see what was transpiring;  a complete war zone.  People were pouring up the streets covered in ashes from the financial district; hysteria, fear and panic.  When the first tower suddenly fell, the sun was on the south side of the building, and West Broadway became illuminated with its rays.  It was surreal, it was unimaginable, but it was happening; and in those moments I could have never imagined the impact it would have on me.

2001 had already felt like one big terrorist attack on my life.  I will remember it as my darkest year, and it has taken 10 years to heal all of the wounds.  10 years to fill the hole in my heart, and 10 years to start rebuilding the life that I wanted to build for myself.  My sense of security was robbed from me, my family was in shambles, my trust in the ones who were close was gone, and I grew angry and bitter.  "We shall never forget"?  I couldn't if I tried.   

I knew artists, actors, and dancers who left for LA or other cities during the following weeks and months.  There were no gigs, no auditions, no opportunities - but this was my town, I couldn't leave.  NYC was my dream, and this wasn't the first time that year that someone tried to take that away from me - not even the second.  The rubble, the fire, the fumes, and the rotting corpses that lay at the bottom of the island were also what was going on inside my soul.

In the Spring of 2002, "Office Girl Erica" was born.  I found a secure 9-5 job with excellent benefits, 401K, and an opportunity to advance - all the things that started to sound appealing to me after that day.  I stopped dancing, even though it was all I knew and studied since the age of 5.  I gave up to put it bluntly.  I had no support system, and alot of negative influences around me.  After all of the time that has passed, I mourned the many losses of 2001, and the ambitions I gave up in order to survive. 

But today is the end of that era.  10 years later this blog is my first creative outlet, and the beginning of a new chapter.  This is the first anniversary of that fateful day, that feels hopeful.  I have learned hard lessons, and accepted the reality of hatred that exhists worldwide.  But it will never get me down again.
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