Q:Where were you planning on moving to, again? What makes you want to leave where you are?
I want to move north and east generally. I’m looking specifically at the Chicago and New York metro areas (I know more people in New York, but Chicago’s cheaper), but I’m open to anywhere I can a) find a job, b) not be dependent on a car, and c) dress like a grownup.
It’s that last part that’s the main reason I want to get out of Phoenix. The oppressive heat is only part of it; there’s a specific culture to the Sun Belt metropolitan cities that I’ve felt alienated from most of my adult life, and increasingly so over the last few years. There’s the political element, sure (God it would be nice to live in a blue state), but there’s also the psychological toll of endless sprawl, the poisonous class and racial warfare (which, to be clear, is a war of the rich and white against the poor and people of color) that makes it increasingly difficult to attempt any sustainable life outside of a narrowly-defined pursuit of success at the literal physical and legal expense of the disenfranchised, the comprehensive religious conservatism which has made me feel unwelcome in a faith I’m no longer certain I recognize as mine, and the relative cultural paucity that is probably more figurative than actual — if I really want to see obscure movies/find rare books/crate-dig for little-known records, there’s always the Internet — but which again exacts a psychological toll, a feeling of alienation that only grows more pronounced if I do try to engage in the limited scenes available to me: emo shows, Hot Topic art festivals, etc. Good for the suburban kids for building their own culture, I guess; but I’m too old, and my angst is too inward, too hedged and undemonstrative, to participate.
Except for my immediate family, I have no social circle here; and while my track record suggests that I would fail to build one anywhere else I went, I cling to the idea that if I could just get into a place where people walk and read and make things (the absurd cultural-hub fantasies of the perpetual outsider), then I could fall into the sort of friendship circle I haven’t known since high school and (if I’m being honest) was largely imaginary then too. If I walk everywhere, I reason with myself, I can lose weight, and if I’m in an environment that doesn’t require stocking up on food supplies for weeks at a time I can eat healthier, and if I don’t have to spend so much time driving I can get more accomplished, I can sleep better and get rid of distractions and focus on writing and criticism and ——— I know this is all a pipe dream, that a change in environment isn’t going to transform anything without a corresponding change in desire, will, and behavior, but there’s a whole lot of nebulous self-improvement bound up in my campaign to #GetOutOfAZOrDieTrying2012 — maybe I can even land a job that will let me not have to worry about money! as long as I’m dreaming, I mean — and the tiny baby steps of doing some writing I’m proud of and wearing suits and selling my crap (still plenty available, btw) and relocation and the rest of it are just that, baby steps toward being the whole person I want to be.
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- o-song likes this
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- imathers said: “the absurd cultural-hub fantasies of the perpetual outsider” < nailed it, as usual. I think the move will have more of an effect than you might think it will, though (in a good way). Good luck!
- imathers likes this
- isabelthespy likes this
- lemonscribbles said: Sad, southwestern planned suburban city cultural dearth.
- thisis likes this
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- anythingcouldhappen said: Let me know if you decide to move to Chicago!
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- jonathanbogart posted this