A little over a week ago Nick and I arrived in Issaquah, Wa., a small town outside of Seattle nestled between three mountains. Like all transitions, this is filled with excitement with undertones of fear.
The night before arriving we decided to rent a cute cabin in the mountains about 2 hours outside of the city. Although I had a 30-hour solo car ride from Chicago to reflect on this point, it wasn’t until that morning that it hit me: We moved across the country. Shit.
As we were navigating through the mountain, Modest Mouse was playing in the background, my windows were down, and began to cry.
Suddenly, in that moment it became so evident that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
In 2014 I moved from Louisiana to Chicago, leaving my family, friends, and life as I knew it. To date, that was the hardest decision I ever made. This move was a necessity for several reasons. For starters, I was born and raised in the Baton Rouge area, and I was always interested in moving. Growing up in the south as a gay person presents its own challenges, and I needed to be in a place where I didn’t get looks for holding hands with my boyfriend, or feeling the pressure to hide my sexual orientation every time I started a new job… Chicago did this for me. On a hot summer day, I pulled out of my parent’s driveway to make that drive, and I also began to cry.
My Seattle cry was different, though. Part maturity, part being more secure, this cry made me proud. Real fucking proud.
Circa 2009 I sold my ex-wife’s wedding ring and bought a pair of gold-framed aviator Ray-Ban’s and a couple of plane tickets. First stop: Seattle.
This city, that trip, helped me realize that I could be the person I wanted to be. I could move, I could be gay, I could be single. It didn’t matter whatever I wanted. The only lesson was I could.
A lot of years, lessons, and relationships later, I did.
Before leaving Chicago my therapist asked me what Seattle represented for Nick and I. To which I responded quickly and concisely: balance and peace. Ironically, both of which are terms I use to describe Nick…. Not ironically, I we found it.
Issaquah is peaceful, less crowded and again, surrounded by mountains. No lie, we have gone hiking almost every day since being here.
While we miss our friends in Chicago, and our family across the country, we feel ‘at home.’ It’s our thing we created–an extension of our relationship.
Its odd, but this city reminds me of my childhood. This past week I have reminisced of what it is like to hear a baseball bat ring as it strikes a ball, or the excitement of an approaching weekend. On our hikes, the smells remind me of running until you can run any further and trying your hardest to squeeze out every bit of sunlight out of the day like a sponge. Sunburns and milkshakes. Treating yourself to eating at a restaurant, and appreciating hard work…Being so mindful of one second that your entire life flashes before you…
Almost 7 years ago I was on a plane listening to “The World At Large,” by Modest Mouse with a pair of new aviators, and a broken heart. Today, as I sit at our new apartment, in our new city, listening to the same song, this lyric has never felt truer: “Life doesn’t always feel like I’m caught in an undertow.”