I Love You, California

I Love You, California

A row of San Francisco Victorian homes on a cloudy day

Without SF, I wouldn't be the person I've become.

Sure, one could say the city is filled with tech douchebags and fucked up homeless people. Others might comment on the high levels of human shit on the sidewalk – they might even point you to the live SF Shit Map. And everyone will agree that it's too expensive to the point of being criminal.

A green Victorian home shrouded by a large tree

But it has a buried artistic spirit. An everyday acceptance of weirdness. A compact infrastructure that gets you in a new neighborhood every half mile. And, it changed my life. It was there for me at a time when I needed something new and different, and while it was impossibly hard at times, it was an open canvas at others.

A close up view of a white Victorian home

View of the SF Bay Bridge from the top of a hill on a clear day

SF is the place where:

• I went to my very first therapy session

• I was (really) single in for the first time in years

• I downsized to a studio apartment and found the joys of living with less

• I got to know my friends & family in a one-on-one setting

• I learned how to cry

• I discovered loneliness

• I discovered that if I push through loneliness, I will grow personally

• I started blogging – expressing myself through words and publishing for all to see

• I heard my intuition for the first time and actually listened to it

• I found that I don't have to be who I used to be

• I took control of my life

Straight on view of a blue SF Victorian home

I was recently asked if moving here was a mistake, to which I responded "hell no."

Gosh, if I'd never left, I'd still be the lost soul I was before. The person who used bravado to hide the fact that I took shit from literally everyone. The person who never stood up for herself. The person who marched head first into family drama without ever thinking objectively about if it was fucked up. I was the person who never thought much about anything and instead, chose to hide behind anger and lack of emotion. I didn't know how to take the first step to change in Chicago – there was too much shit in my stratosphere to see clearly.

A San Francisco alley on a cloudy day

Leaving was a fresh start. A 4 hour plane ride separated me from my family, friends and relationship. Because I was left to my own devices, I had only myself to focus on. I often had no plans on the weekend, which was really hard (and still is). Being alone with myself made me turn inward, especially once I started going to therapy. Therapy led to yoga which led to acupuncture which led to reiki and all the weird things. Which led to me being okay with solo weekend excursions. And solo painting sessions. And crazy vintage clothes. And writing. And an unplanned future that I'm happy to step into, instead of terrified.

The Golden Gate Bridge at dusk

Now that my time is winding down, I've been walking the streets a little slower, trying to savor the everyday moments that are my current city. The cute Victorian row houses. The sharp chill of the fog as it rolls in and touches your skin. The huge succulents that grow naturally and wildly in the near perfect weather. The brutality of the steep hills. There's so much more that I'm not thinking of that I'm certain I'll miss once I'm gone.

SF is not my home, nor will it ever be, but it will always be the city that changed me for the better.

(In closing, check out a map I made of my favorite SF places)


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