So, I’ve ostensibly had plans to move to Seattle for a while now. It’s a romanticized idea that I’ve had since I was little, but now I’m an adult and I can see the more pragmatic aspects of what it means to move across the country to a big city where I don’t know anyone.
And honestly, it’s been freaking me out. The more I look into what it costs to live there, or how far away from the city I’d have to live to have affordable rent, or think about how I would have to fly out to go to my favorite conventions.. The more it freaks me out.
I love the idea of starting my life over, living in a new city with a rich culture and a beautiful climate. But my growing sense of anxiety tells me that there are flaws with this plan, so I’m trying to examine the reasons I want to move far away, and to Seattle specifically.
There’s a deep and wild desire to get far away from everything I knew growing up. I’ve had a lot of family-oriented trauma and nothing about living in Kansas City, KS holds good memories for me. Except for holidays with my good family, but even those memories are tinged by my mother coming to pick me up and me locking myself in a bathroom rather than leave with her. For example.
So, introspecting on this… The only really logical reasons I can come up with for wanting to move away amount to this being the Bible Belt and not wanting to live in a Red state surrounded by people who wouldn’t begin to understand my gender if I tried to explain it. Otherwise, it’s trauma, which is real, but maybe not enough to warrant a drastic cross-country move.
And as far as Seattle goes… Like I said earlier, it’s a romanticized concept. A solitary trans person in a new place, wandering the streets to stop in at the little coffee shops and book stores, visiting the parks, going to the grungy music shows, and returning to my studio apartment where I can love on my cat and work on my personal projects.
The totality of the solitary nature of such a move has been really striking me lately. Most of my friendships are over the internet, but even so, my best friend lives in Kansas City, the family I care for lives in Kansas City, and I’m developing new relationships with people here in Lawrence. I hate to put an expiration date on those friendships, or relegate them to Facebook-Friends status after enjoying close proximity for some remaining 7 months.
So today, I had to drive into KCMO to take the test for getting a job with the USPS. I was stressed and trying not to be late, but after I’d gotten to my destination and taken the test, I had a better opportunity to actually look around this city that I’d grown a prejudice for simply because people always asked me if I was from Missouri when I told them I was from KC. That, and going to school in Lawrence during my elementary years, hearing how Missouri was a pro-slavery state instilled some amount of distaste for it, notwithstanding that they’re slightly more progressive than Kansas these days.
I didn’t really know where I was going, and was relying heavily on my GPS to get me home. But there’s something beautiful about it. Something alluring to the high-rise buildings and dirty auto mechanic shops. I’ve also had the opportunity to recently go to Missy B’s, a gay bar in KCMO where I had a wonderful time and everyone was nice.
On short notice, I decided to drop in and visit my dad instead of just driving back to Lawrence and doing nothing with my day. I talked to him about some of these feelings, and we discussed what features KCMO has that I’ve fantasized about regarding Seattle. There are plenty of quirky coffee shops and neat bars where unheard-of bands play. There’s a strong LGBT community there. KC Oasis is there!
So…. this is something I’ll have to digest for a little while, but I think it might be the safer option for me to move to KCMO instead of Seattle. It would be way more affordable to live there, and I would still be near my family. I wouldn’t be giving up everything I know. I wouldn’t be getting away from the trauma of my childhood, per se, but it would be a decent place to start somewhat anew. I wouldn’t have to put an expiration date on my newfound friendships. I would live closer to my best friend. I could still go to Skepticon and CONvergence.
This is not to say that I’ll never move out of the midwest, but this is my first time trying to establish myself as an individual. I want to live alone. I want to manage my time as I think it should be managed, and watch my favorite TV shows by myself. I want the mess of my apartment to be my mess. None of that requires that I take the high-roll risk of moving away from everything I’ve ever known.
This is a big step. But it doesn’t have to be as big a step as I’ve been planning for it to be. When I was driving around the city, I thought to myself, “I could live here.” And I might.