We gathered in a second floor Long Island City apartment. It was a couple blocks from the waterfront and the first subway stop in Queens outside of Manhattan. We maneuvered the table into the living room so we could sit comfortably, but it was a tight squeeze nonetheless. That’s the way in New York City, you make room even in small quarters.
Women arrived bundled from the bitter cold. Sarah came from the Upper West Side. Amanda from Upper Manhattan, Katie from Park Slope, Brooklyn, Christi happened to live right up the street. We mixed pomegranate juice with sparkling water, and added lemon, mint and a maraschino cherry because tasty beverages spark conversation.
We found out everyone had transplanted themselves in New York City, trading vehicle transport for subway lines. Some found the transition more enjoyable than others.
As with all Brave Collectives, we started by sharing the bravest things we’d ever done. There’s something about hearing a piece of someone’s story that knits people together. Many of those stories included cross-country moves to a big city, one included ending an engagement. All were inspiring. Conversation with this group was easy, maybe it was the close quarters being squeezed around a table with a few extra chairs.
Jessica wanted to host this chapter of The Brave Collective, because she believes there’s something special about doing brave things together, that people’s bravery grows when shared. When the moment came where each person committed to their one brave thing, she committed to making her apartment a safe place to try, fail and celebrate. Then she shared first.
Amanda: I am not always very good about communicating what I need — in my MOPS group, with friends, with my husband. I am pregnant and due with my second this spring, and I know I will need extra help. I am going to be honest about what I need.
Jessica: When I do something, even if it’s as insignificant as calling someone or sending a thank you card, I have to plan the whole thing out to perfection. And if there isn’t a perfect plan in place, it doesn’t get done. I am going to let go of doing everything perfectly, so I can be more productive.
Christi: I’ve been in NYC for about two years, and I’ve come to the point that the hard things about staying here are … hard. I’ve been in a season where my job was the most important, but I am pregnant with my first and I need to find a way to make family work here, as well as my career. I am committing every day to make life flourish in New York.
Katie: I have always had built-in friends. I was on a dance team in college, and I had teacher friends from the high school where I worked in Texas. But we moved to NYC two weeks ago, and I’m committing to being a better friend and to being proactive to find healthy relationships.
Sarah: I became a yoga instructor a handful of years ago, but I have only taught one yoga lesson. I feel a little intimidated by all the instructors who teach classes all the time. This year, I am going to teach some yoga lessons.
Design inspiration and receipes for our meal in New York can be found on the Brave Collective: NYC Pinterest board.
An assortment of store-bought items, served on a series of cutting boards. (It was quick and easy.)
Club soda, pomegranate juice and ice, with fresh mint, lemon slices and maraschino cherries
Sliced bread rounds, assorted olives, grape tomatoes, pesto
Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies
Cannolis (freshly filled, it was NYC after all)
Photography by Cole Sletten
The Photo Album
When you join a Brave Collective you’re joining women everywhere in living into our fullest. There are many ways to get involved – you could host your own Collective, join a local group or follow along as we help launch other Collectives in Denver, NYC, Nashville and Los Angeles.
We hope you’ll join us.