On Anxiety + One World Trade

Two weeks ago I started a new role at Conde Nast as assistant to the Editor in Chief of BRIDES. In a short amount of time I have learned the fundamental ins and outs of the leading wedding magazine and the editorial world – a realm that I always admired but did not think I could enter as I spent the bulk of my post-graduate life in the music industry. Though still new in this space I feel very much at home – with a boss that is inspiring and supportive and surrounded by women who create as easily as they breathe. Conde Nast is an international media powerhouse and BRIDES is the ultimate women’s magazine. Every day I wake up grateful to be involved in this space of endless creativity, and that is feeling is priceless.

Conde Nast is located at One World Trade – the main building of the former World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan. The building, also known as the “Freedom Tower,” was completed in 2013 and has become a symbol for the resilience of Americans and particularly New Yorkers in the wake of 9/11. While it has been 16 years since the tragedy, I know that the pain still lives with most New Yorkers regardless of their individual closeness to the attacks. The memory holds us together, and One World Trade – which at 1776 feet can be seen from anywhere as far as New Jersey and out to Long Island – stands as a reminder of our resiliency.

While I was anxious about starting a new career path, I did not anticipate the anxiety of working at One World Trade. I was nine on September 11, 2001 and living an hour from Manhattan. While I heard stories and saw video footage of the attacks, I did not lose any acquaintances, friends or family members.  From childhood through college I was notoriously laid back and rarely anxious about anything. This changed after moving to the city, though I never thought I was any different than other New Yorker – taking my regularly heightened sense of worry and paranoia that comes from living in post-9/11 America as normal. While I am not in a constant state of panic I have always kept my eyes and ears open for suspicious behavior, as I am constantly reminded to do by NYPD’s “if you see something, do something” campaign.

Until the recent attacks abroad in London, Paris and Germany I was not fearful for my life. Perhaps I have been coddled by a safe childhood, the privilege of living in a nice (re: painfully gentrified) Manhattan neighborhood and eight years of Obama (if you’re reading this – I miss you very much!) Now more than ever I feel on edge, with news outlets constantly churning out reports of extremely volatile international relations and the election of the reckless and dangerous new President man-child in the White House. There are police throughout the subways in full-body armor and machine guns. Military personnel line the surrounding area of One World Trade, consistently on high alert and ready for attack. All of this, combined with working in a building that was once targeted for representing our nation’s strength, is truly eating away at my own.

I have been working on combating these fears, mainly through seeking the highs of exercise-induced endorphins and detoxification of hot yoga. I practice conscious breathing daily and diligently take my adaptogens. I make sure to call my parents every day and visit my grandparents at least once a week. While I value my alone time and need solitude for at least an hour every day, I actively make time for friends and things I love, including writing and margaritas. Conversely, I have tried to remove toxic people from my orbit. I try to complain less, which is incredibly difficult because I like to talk shit.  All of this helps, though it takes determination to stick to such practices. I may seek out a group of people who are equally worried about the state of the world, but for now I am determined not to let fear take control of my life. I have found that it helps to give thanks daily, carving out a few minutes every morning before social media and starting my day to express gratitude for the life I have been given. And for being able to live in the greatest damn city in the world, which is not up for debate so don’t @ me. To anyone struggling with any type of anxiety in this day and age, I urge you to try and do the same because its one of the few things keeping me sane.

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