You have to forgive me, this has been a strange occurance. I always thought the only thing that would make me leave this city was the lure of LA, or Italy, or some other absurd locale. Instead, after investing over 6,000 days (roughly 17 years give or take), I am departing not for the exotic, but Cincinnati.
Why there? Why indeed. Some seem upset, thinking maybe I’m just giving up. Some think I am running away, God knows I’ve made enough mistakes round here to fill up Fishtown- i do actually avoid a handful of blocks up there for this very reason. Many will jump for joy, some will wish me luck, and a few will be at a loss for words. Truth is I will miss this town. It is on the verge of something great, it truly is. I am proud of having seen it grow so much in the past decades. I am honored to have met the people that i have, they have been such a beacon of life for each neighborhood. Filling it with energy and creativity. You make Philly, so Philly.
It pained me so much to decide to leave, because of these wonderful relationships. In my search for something to direct my life, I always saw these relationships I’ve made as a landline, keeping me anchored, and on track. When that track faltered, or flat out disappeared, many of you picked me up, and were there for me. For that I am ever grateful. I will miss you all terribly, but I suppose, there’s always Facebook.
In 17 years there were 14 apartments, 13 roommates in 6 different ‘hoods with 2 cars stolen, along with 8 bikes. 5 years of teaching, 6 years of learning, 2 degrees, and 2 positions in 2 companies, $5635 in PPA fines -70% was while I HAD a permit (ah..fuck you guys). And of course, 1 arrest record.
Every relationship I seem to have had, every love affair, every fling, has come to an end. So it seems fitting, that Philly and I take a break for a while. She too, beat me, demeaned me, all the while making me think I was right for her. But the truth is, like many others in the world, I want a Ctrl+Z. I want a redo. I want to rediscover the person inside that I know I can be. The optimistic, enlightened, hopeful one. I want to release the east coast hate into the stratosphere, and be someone that my students can respect, that my peers can admire, and that my family -yes including my little sister- can be proud of. This includes myself.
Ah Philly, what hath ye done to me.
I liken it to sitting in church and watching your ex get married, thinking “ah, she’ll be back, she said so.” Then watching them have kids, a house, and grow old, all the while you grow old watching them, and never do anything for yourself.
So off I go, to a blank slate. A town with no history for me. With amazing sports teams. Sarcasm intact. And most importantly, optimism. I leave behind my greatest friends, the ones that still talk to me, and the ones that don’t. An amazing school with students that truly changed my life. As both a teacher, and a classmate, you have all been a source of inspiration, never stop learning, never stop questioning, and most importantly, never say, “I don’t think that’s possible.”
Ah boy. This is rough, but..Cincitunnity. Let’s do this.