I have lived in Seattle for 9 years. Almost to the nose. Only now, a day away from my road trip down to CA to drop off my stuff before embarking to Hamburg, does it hit me like a lead balloon. My stomach is writhing. How can I experience such a profound sense of certainty that I’m making the right decision for my well-being and then simultaneously feel the walls crumbling around me?
The wall started crumbling when I gave away my pet turtle of 8 years, Mr. Fuji. The longest standing roommate I’ve ever had, Fuji showed no affection what so ever, enjoyed blueberries and dark corners, and was older than me by at least 6 years. He let me put him on my belly to watch him rise and fall. He survived a dog attack. He survived the unnecessary amount of affection and long ramblings late into the night.
Fuji, I will miss you. I love you, buddy.
7 out of the 9 years I spent in Seattle, my affections were also shared with a human male. Our relationship wasn’t perfect. But when you spend that much time with a person, you’re bound to miss the little things. The sound and warmth of someone sleeping next to you, the nervous habits they have. Though the relationship was ultimately not a healthy situation for either party, and escaping this city means finally not associating places with old memories, there’s a profound sadness that giving up Seattle finally means giving up this giant part of my past. Today I threw away all of his old letters and gifts.
This city gave me my first and second roommates, a chance to live alone and establish independence, a greeting card business, heartbreak, grief of losing a parent, reconnecting with my brother, horrible OKcupid dating anecdotes, my first real addiction to coffee, a chance to live in a 280 square foot living space and a chance to create a children’s book.
This city gave me so many interesting, beautiful friendships. All ebbing and flowing, some growing and maturing with me, others fading away with each passing year. It gave me a chance to work in retail, a way to get my bachelors degree in an obscure subject. Hiking adventures, mastering peeing in the woods and building a fire, introductions to banana slugs and blackberry picking, “the Seattle Freeze”, and a series of many crappy short hair cuts.
But most of all, Seattle gave me my first taste of completeness. This feeling of contentment in a sea of discomfort accumulated from years of feeling unworthy and grief and living in a body with chemicals and life circumstances that are against me. I spent my entire 20’s here growing and expanding outward. Seattle helped me understand that although I couldn’t follow the “norms” of what a person is supposed to do with their lives, the chapters have yet to unfold in any consecutive order, Seattle unveiled a little corner for me to adapt and flourish.
Seattle, I’m so grateful for you taking me in and showing me the ropes. Thank you for letting me explore as an artist and as a person. My time is up here, but how can I forget you? Your fresh air and green foresty hills are a part of me forever.