I came here in May 2011 begrudgingly, because I honestly had no better choice. I probably shouldn’t admit that to you, but it’s the truth. I needed out of DC for a variety of reasons and you were the only option that presented itself to me.
I grew up in you, Dallas. I know you. I thought I knew you. I confess I dogged on you relentlessly after I graduated from high school and “escaped” to “better” places… Maine, Tennessee, France, New York City, DC.
So, sure, I knew I could come back and be fine. I’d survive here. Because I’d had 7+ years experience living in you before, Dallas.
I came back to you broken.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I came back to you aching to be sewed back together.
See, when you spend eight years of your life dating one person, especially when you’re so young… you kinda grow together. And then, when all of the sudden you are no longer together, it’s like a part of you is gone. You’re not just missing your partner; you’re missing part of who you knew you were. A piece of you– poof – disappears. So you have to figure out how to repair it, how to grow on your own without that person.
That’s what my past year has been consumed with: desperately trying to cobble back together that missing piece of myself. Learning how to be me on my own.
And as much as I hate saying it, Dallas, you were there to help rebuild me.
It’s funny that the city I’ve most persecuted is the one that turned out to be my safe haven. I readily admit that it’s not the most beautiful or cultural or historic city there is (sorry, Dallas, but it’s true). But I stand here open armed, admitting you’ve given me some of the best friends I have. Friends who are family. Friends who I know will be there, at the ready, should I ever need them. You gave me these same friends in high school. And again, now.
Frankly, I’m embarrassed. You’d think after making these kinds of friends when I lived here as a teenager…you’d think I’d realize you have some special people, Dallas. You’d think I’d realize that. But until I moved back, I didn’t.
I don’t deserve them. After all the negative things I’ve said. After all the “this city is the most plastic, vapid place I know” comments I’ve made. You truly didn’t have to present me with these people now, Dallas. People who are my kindred spirits.
I keep thinking: how is it a city that I have said nothing but shit about can turn around and give me all this?
Fuck what you think you want. Fuck what you think you “should” do. Fuck that. In 26 years, I’ve already discovered that seemingly never turns out. Just go. And give it all. And be. Be authentically you, even when you aren’t totally sure what that means. And you’ll be amazed at what you get back.
At least I was.
Really makes you stand back and think “Well what the fuck do I know?”
So thank you, Dallas. Thank you a million times over. A city I thought I hated turned around and stitched me back together.
Dallas, the joke’s on me. Love you forever, no matter how far I go. Promise.