I am having a sad about leaving San Francisco
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I am having a sad about leaving San Francisco. Tonight I was thinking about how difficult it’s been for me to find community. I’m a weird person. In middle school my church youth group was having a lock-in at a laser tag place. I didn’t want to go, because I didn’t feel included. My former cheerleader stepmom, in frustration, literally scribbled out a “written invitation.”
I went, begrudgingly, and spent a lot of the time alone. I tried talking to the other kids. But it was so awkward and strained. I didn’t know how to take an interest in a person, just topics. I still don’t know what was more off-putting, my chosen topics of conversation or mannerisms. And maybe I wasn’t off-putting at all (doubtful). But I felt off-putting. I felt rejected constantly.
As an adult, I spent a whole-ass year attending Ladies Club of Forest Lakes meetings trying to make friends with a woman in my neighborhood. It was a huge subdivision, and I hated driving. I figured there had to be someone I could befriend within walking distance. I did find someone, eventually. But somehow it never occurred to me that perhaps a club devoted to topics like childcare and decorating for the holidays was not a target-rich environment for me.
My first two years in San Francisco were unspeakably lonely. It’s not like I was totally isolated. I had a few good friends and an awesome partner. But my “nesting partner” didn’t really like me that much, as we both slowly came to realize as we tried cohabitating after years of long-distance. I worked from home. And I certainly didn’t have a community.
I’m afraid of facing that loneliness again. I’ll have my family. But I don’t have community there. I’ve felt comfortable showing up as my whole self more in San Francisco than any other place. As a result, to the extent I’ve been embraced by any community it’s felt more full than ever before.
I want to record this sadness and fear. Not because I think it’s permanent or important, but because I think it’s neither. I think it’ll be easy to forget it as I start making this new life.
Moving to SF wasn’t easy. It was hard in ways I didn’t anticipate. But it was more than worth the trouble. Moving to Alabama is sad and scary. But I’m pretty confident it’ll be worth the trouble. But I don’t want to forget or downplay how much trouble it is.
Humans, I believe, tend to be too risk-averse. I think our fear chains us. I’m trying to remind myself that SF wasn’t worth it because it was easy. It was worth it because I grew. It was worth it because it was interesting. It was worth it because I couldn’t figure out how to have these experiences anyplace else.
I’m writing this to remind myself that I’ve tried to do what I can to make this move reasonably easy and safe. But it’s never going to be easier or safer than staying put. I’m doing it scared. I’m doing it knowing it’ll be awful in ways I don’t anticipate. I’m writing this to remind myself that it being hard isn’t a failure on my part. It’s just part of the process.