So, we circle around a few times since my dad isn’t used to the pesky, tight, one-way road system in Cambridge. I truly thought my apartment was the nicely painted white townhouse across the street. Nope, Google Maps, you fail me; my apartment is the sketchy dark red door, tagged with graffiti, that leads to an even sketchier, dark inner corridor. Home sweet home.

My mom still tells me to look away during kissing scenes. However, when a couple was making out a few feet from my apartment, she was the one to look away. I wonder if I am cut out for an independent life already. Hell, tons start their independence way earlier; it can’t be that bad. I’m just not used to it. I think it will definitely take a while. I am constantly on edge, but then I promised my parents that I would be fine; what else could I do?

I realize now how easy it is to be blinded by the shelter of school and home in the suburbs. Even though I wasn’t the most fortunate wealth-wise or family-wise growing up, I have never been confronted by an aggressive homeless man, seen a person inject himself with heroin (it definitely is not as dramatized as it is in Trainspotting), nor have I had my roommate bring her boyfriend to the apartment and wake me up in the middle of the night with their explicit noises. My innocence is dwindling away, but I don’t feel contaminated.

It has occurred to me that all of these things are just innate in real life. It is a horrible thing to be blind to it all. I often say “Ignorance is bliss,” jokingly, but it is not. That Humans of New York project always seemed intriguing, but I have never felt the impact until now. I mean, I’ve been to New York, but… I have never truly paid attention to all the people in a hustle bustle city when on vacation. I just disregard them. Now, I hop on the train and just see all of the different people. Some are studying, some are praying or sleeping or resting their eyes, and some just stare off. It’s like the recurring theme of Samurai Champloo, in real life, you don’t get to see everything behind what you actually see. You barely even graze the surface, and when you can see that singular sentence from a person, it seemingly defines them, but you know there is so much more to it than meets the eye. Who knows, maybe that person is a brilliant artist but stuck in a suit and tie job. Maybe the lady huddled in the back corner of the train car manages a hedge fund. You never know, and you probably never will.

I have only been in my company for a week and been pretty shy at that. However, everybody is so real. One girl is brewing her own beverages at home. Another teaches yoga on the side. One just likes to explore. I would never talk to any of these people on the train. It’s not that they don’t look attractive or anything like that; I just would never approach anybody unless I already had some sort of connection.

This whole real life thing is scary but beautiful. There is so much to see, and so many people to meet. You can’t go into the real world with this inner facade you place on the world saying that “all of this bad looking stuff has to be bad, so I won’t touch it.” Some of my friends will only talk to people who they think are already or going to be successful. I know a guy who is completely condescending to anybody who didn’t or will not study at a top tier school or is already materialistically successful. Why would you judge somebody like that?

“Everybody’s somebody’s everything.” - Chance the Rapper

An “innocent,” or sheltered person, shields themselves from the world. They won’t accept others for who they are because, in a way, they find themselves superior. Now I will pay attention to the people around me. People are not enigmas; they are people. So many still judge books by their covers.


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