The adjustment to the Bay area has been rocky. I miss my friends. I miss being able to travel seven miles in less than half an hour. What I miss most are the familiar rhythms of regular events, the familiar methods of clear communication (when, where, how, cost, parking and transit solutions), and if not common knowledge than a common approach to gaining knowledge. Here’s what I miss about Minnesota: it’s grounded. It’s far, far more grounded than what I’m coming across in the Bay Area. While I’m delighted that there are other people who practice magic to the degree and frequency that I do – those folks were astonishingly rare back home – the other half of practice, the ability to sort out “when/why/where,” and to temporarily rate getting stable as an important first step to pursuing ideals seems to be gone. It’s not just the Pagan community with this problem. There’s also a deep disconnect when it comes to balancing the fundamental need for modernization with preserving what’s good in San Francisco. Often people are so overinvested in their political ideals here that they are harming the very people they claim to want to help.
I am also fighting some serious resentment and anger towards people I have been friends with for years. I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE AND TELLING ME TO HAVE YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS PLACE IS ONLY ANGERING ME MORE. Yeah, I know, there’s snow where I call home. Last winter almost killed me. The winter before that was also painful. But I had my city, and all the secrets, and I could get around in it without bleeding money. There is no not bleeding money in the Bay area. Many are calmly expecting me to love this place, and that offends me. Not only does it minimize and dismiss my feelings about my designated home, Minneapolis, it’s like putting George Clooney in front of me and telling me it’s expected I fall in love with him, because George Clooney.
It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just love something or someone or somewhere because everyone else does. In junior high and high school, I was the girl that wrote writing nerdy boys’ names in the back of my notebooks. My girlfriends might go on about how “dreamy” the popular guy in my English class was, but even if I could acknowledge his comely symmetrical features, I was too repulsed by his behavior to ever feel any attraction to him at all. Once, one of those so-called handsome boys developed a crush on me out of the blue – in his case at least it prompted him to leave me the fuck alone for the rest of high school since he knew I viewed the way he treated people outside of his social class with contempt. It’s the same thing, on a city level. San Francisco has pride, it has attention, and it has absolutely none of the depth I require to feel something for it.
My partner, on the other hand, adores it – and while it may not seem to outsiders like I care that much about his experiences, I really would do anything to see him happy and engaged. I can’t always access those feelings – PTSD tends to do that – but I do have them. He is happy and engaged, and so I live with this and I will keep living with it until he’s no longer happy with it, or until something profound happens to call me away. This will, however, be the last time I put his feelings before my own when there’s not a family crisis involved. There never is a reward to being self-sacrificing – which is very obvious when I look around at where it’s gotten me … fucking California. The UK would be better, and every time I try that it tends to go bad with the first time someone calls me “luv.” But women are expected to be self-sacrificing, and I have lived up to that bullshit expectation for the last time. I’m getting punished because I did what women are expected to do, and I’d get punished if I did what I really wanted to do. I’m exhausted with all the no-wins presented me.
But this no-win, the one where I smile and pretend I love something I really don’t – that I’m opting out of right now.
Quit asking me to assuage your feelings by acting like I love it here. I already know you love it and I don’t need to hear about it.
San Francisco Bay Area… it’s pretty. A lot of people find it sexy. But it’s gone from being a stoner – something I outgrew after my romp with a very cute stoner in spring of 1996 – to being kind of a jerk. I’d rather be spiritually connected to a city that’s not a jerk, thank you. I’d rather people expect me to have honest reactions instead of cooing about how “cute” that boy is. I have never been one of those women that hook up with a man or with a city thinking “I can change him into who I want him to be.” I work hard not to be an asshole, so I don’t think like that. I’ve always been disgusted by the men that come to me hoping I’ll fix them – it’s always a waste of time and energy, since that’s work you have to do on yourself. It’s also a form of objectification, expecting me to take on some Florence Nightingale role instead of taking the time to figure out who I am and what I’m inclined to do. I am the person that accepts you as you are. I may not like you, I may not have the feelings you want me to feel, but I will accept you. I will accept any changes you make, even point to tools you can use for that transition. That’s your journey, not mine.
I really wish someone out there would do that for me.
I’d rather people respect that I’ve been separated from something – SOMEONE I love deeply, and asking me to only say nice things and put on a happy face or just try to see it how you see it is a shit thing to do right now.