Jillian Anthony is a California girl in New York—writing, reading, seeing, eating, drinking, and obsessing about things.
My goal for the summer is to have sex with the same person twice.
— A dear friend who understands the hardships of dating in New York
It’s never occurred to me to leave New York City.
I couldn’t. Every weekend is somebody’s birthday, every weekday is a glass of wine with a friend, a finally getting around to the gym, a trip to the store to find something useless I’ve needed for months. I don’t have the time. Sometimes, many times, I want to. I dream of places with open space, leg room, sunlight, and forgiveness.
I do not look at New York like a love and I do not look at New York like the way you look at things you blindly love. I look at New York City like something that could never love me back and more often than not, I am resentful of that. Sometimes I am jealous of the people who hold it tenderly, who look at it as a vast jungle of pizza slices and opportunity. Those people believe more strongly in baseball, in coffee, in bagels than I ever could. The distaste I feel leaves me no closer to leaving than yesterday. I tick off the reasons why not and finally, settle on “cue that skyline at sunset” and a place nearby that serves decent Bloody Marys.
New York City makes you angrier than you were before, specifically at people. People who innocently grab the subway pole near you, or take your seat, or bob their head to headphoned music, or walk slow, or block your entryway to the bodega freezer. You become immune to real things on the way to whiskey bars, you wish you could scream your name and have a flicker of recognition somewhere, and you know that you cannot. You walk past police tape on the way to grab a sandwich. You rent an apartment in areas where your presence forces people out of it. You hear stories of people getting shot, and they are a cough swept under the rug. Your only thoughts: the quickest subway route, the money in the bank, when will I go on vacation. You become a planet slowly orbiting in the middle of nowhere: if you lose your keys your friends are oh, so far away to help you. If you cry, nobody notices. You are responsible for keeping yourself in orbit, and all too many times you forget how. A weekend out in the suburbs or Massachusetts reminds you only of how you are out of place and how you dress funny and it still keeps you dreaming of someplace different. This place, you feel, might not exist.
In New York City, the elements are soot, fire, tap water. You buy expensive face cream to imitate what the sun and open air do. You believe love is in dark corners, you believe 4am is a decent time, you cannot leave your phone anywhere or it will be gone forever.
Some days, like yesterday, I pulled out Google Maps and it wasn’t working and this made me feel so critically alone I thought my chest would burst. Where would I go, I thought, and I had no answer so I just kept walking. I found where I was because I kept going, and in that moment, I remembered why I liked New York City so damn much. It kicks you, I think, and almost pats you on the back while it is doing so.
And maybe, sometimes in the spring, I love baseball a little more. I use “smear” in instructions to the bagel man. I walk on cobblestone streets and feel the sun on me and try something like a dosa or a street taco. I meet a friend who has become a room to me in the house I am trying to build. I feel greater successes, I wipe my tears, I keep going until I find the place I am looking for. New York City is not my lover but it is my toughest love. I want to leave, often, but suspect I never will.
Then again, here I am on the subway ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan, and the city skyline still feels like a miserable, beautiful beast I’m not sure I’ll ever be allowed to claim.
New York, what have you done to me? Who is this curmudgeon?
An email from Janthony on my 26th birthday:
April 8, 1988-Jillian Margarita Anthony is born at 6:04 A.M.
Jillian weighs 6 lbs 5 oz and is 20” long
RONALD REAGAN was president.
The Last Emperor-Movie of the year
Alf-Popular TV show for the year 1988
April 10th, 1988-Jillian comes home.
April 29th, 1988-Jillian held her head up by herself for the first time
May 20th, 1988-Jillian turned her head to follow movement
May 23, 1988-Jillian slept all night 11:30pm-6:30am
**But didn’t continue to sleep all night.
May 8th, 1988-First Smile
June 6th, 1988-Laughed out loud for the first time
Aug 9th, 1988-Jillian discovers her feet and hands
Sept 12th, 1988-Jillian eats her first solid food, rice cereal, and she likes it!
Sept 13th, 1988-Jillian falls off our bed by schooching herself backwards of of our bed during naptime. (oops)
Oct 15th, 1988-Jillian sat up alone for the first time
Oct 27th, 1988-Jillian crawled for the first time
Nov 21, 1988-Jillian pulls herself up on the coffee
Nov 21st, 1988-Jillian is baptized today
Nov 24th, 1988-Jillian’s first Thanksgiving and eats her first egg yolk
December 9th, 1988-Jillian gets her first haircut
**First year travels-
First plane ride-Monterey, California
Hawaii 3 times in her first year!
March 3rd, 1989 Jillian took her first steps all by herself
July 6th, 1989-Jillian climbs out of her crib by herself
What an absolute joy you have been for Daddy and I! Happy baby and a happy child, always singing and laughing and joyous! We have enjoyed you so much Jillian.
I’ve been so loved in the last 25 years. Here’s to my 26th year, the year of Jillian Gets Weird.
Me on my 26th birthday
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
— T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land (via weaverofstars)
My Media Year 2014 - The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir. Wes Anderson)"You see, there are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity. Indeed, that’s what we provide in our own modest, humble, insignificant…oh, fuck it."
Saw The Grand Budapest Hotel tonight. I would honestly like to escape into one of Wes Anderson’s forgotten worlds and dedicated color patterns and stay there forever.
Today’s bartending outfit. Can you tell playing dress up is my favorite part of this job?