Last week I had to shift gears from my formative Seattle home, to my childhood hometown of Kansas City, and then back to Oakland adult-land. It was a crazy whirlwind. It was hard. It dried me out.
This was partly because lot of unusual stuff went down while I was bouncing around those three cities. In Seattle, the night before I left, I decided to party the hardest I had all winter break, which led to a drunk/unintentional hookup with a friend whom I previously considered to be brother/buddy status (it was weird). I got home from his place at 6 AM, packed, showered, and headed out to the airport, then, after a four-hour flight, unslept and hung over, I reunited with my extended family back in Kansas City. The funeral for my Papa was the next day. I didn’t drop a tear until the moment I went up to the podium, gazed at a couple hundred people gathered to pay their respects, and cracked and choked my way through my reading (a piece my mom found from this daily spiritual thing she reads). The day after that, as it snowed in Kansas City, I finally headed back to Oakland, the place I’d been pining for throughout my break. I reunited with my crush boy that night, but I was drained. Not feeling like myself. When we met up the next day I was still zapped, and felt bad on top of it for being so out of it while finally getting to see him again. I was just blank for a few days, overwhelmed…but I couldn’t figure out exactly why.
I get a lot of my personal confidence from feeling comfortable in my surroundings. I love Oakland, my new place, because it’s all potential. There are no dashed hopes there, and no disappointments. But there are also no roots, those anchors that take time to grow. Seattle is where my social roots are, Kansas City, my family ones. I can return to any of those places on my own time and feel like I’m home. In Seattle, I know the lay of the land. I know what neighborhoods to go to, what bands are around, the people in those bands, and other necessary data that make me feel like part of the place. All of this took my whole teen years to cultivate. It trips me up that I’ll have to go through that whole process again in Oakland. I’ve been here almost a year now, but I still feel like I’m starting from scratch in this town. It sometimes feels uncomfortable, because I’m literally out of my comfort zone. But when I get that temptation to go back to the comfort of Seattle, I remind myself that “comfortable” isn’t synonymous with “happy.” I know that this is where I’m supposed to be right now, and soon it will feel right. ♦