Amanda and the Cali Dream

| Mar 19, 2018
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It was summer of 2014. South Carolina summers can get hot and sticky. I was on my own after a breakup with my partner in late 2013. We were still friends. We still are. I felt stagnant living in South Carolina. I had been brought there partially of my own accord. If I wanted to stay with my partner, I had to move with her. I had nowhere else to go. Such began a string of events that that finds me, still to this day, with no place to go. I am feeling trapped by circumstance and lack of money.

I dreamed of something greater and better in the summer of 2014. I was 3 years into my transition. The honeymoon was over. The Pink Cloud had dissipated. I was staying with a friend in a suburban home north of Columbia, SC. I worked at my retail store in Columbia and struggled to pay the $300 rent and ungodly $300 utility bill, due to an old and porous AC system.

I was very unhappy and tired of being stuck in South Carolina, where I felt nothing exciting or remotely fun was happening. I had a few friends who I would hang out with. I did have a decent support group to go to, at least until I was banned for a stupid reason. Someone handed me some Spiro in a bag while we were filing out of the meeting. Some uptight person reported it. There was some kind of power struggle going on.  Things were stagnating. I wanted out.

What was I expecting when I arrived here in The San Francisco Bay Area? What did I picture it being like? Why did I want to come? What I expected was what everyone always said it was, an LGBT panacea and a super-cool place. There were so many movies and TV shows that glamorized this area as THE place to be, especially if you are trans. There was supposed to be peace, love, hippies, flower power, cool surfer dudes, laid-back people, cable cars, Rice-a-Roni, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Starfleet, whales that talked with space monoliths, Grateful Dead, Green Day, Metallica, punk rock, wine and Napa, Alcatraz, Robin Williams, Homeward Bound: Lost in San Francisco, and on and on and on.

Journey glamorized the area in songs, Train sang “Save Me San Francisco”, Star Wars was made here, ILM and George Lucas made their home here. California Car Culture was born here with American Graffitti. Monk, Full House, Too Close for Comfort, The Rock, Superman, X-Men, Terminator all made my desire to come to The Bay Area reach a fever pitch.

The Golden Gate Bridge, a symbol as iconically American as the Statue of Liberty, is supposed to welcome weary travelers with open arms who were seeking a new life. There were supposed to be gay people EVERYWHERE and trans people living openly and free of disdain and hate. The gleaming streets of San Francisco were supposed to be as glorious and clean as they were in the movies. People were supposed to be happy, friendly, peaceful and loving after the explosion of the hippie counterculture of the late ’60s.

Beaches, beauty, love, peace, The Bay, the gleaming and cool City of SF, great attitudes, positive vibes, can-do spirit, adventures, tolerance, openness and lots of fun things to do, THAT is what I expected when I came here to live.


That…is nowhere near the reality and the disappointment that is The Bay Area, and probably, California at large. That is some panacea version of The Bay Area that they want you to think of when you come here. That is the tourism draw. That is the stuff that the Chamber of Commerce feeds people. It is NOT the real Bay Area.

There is no peace. There is no love. There is even no more Robin Williams, sadly. He died from depression. There are no hippies, no laid-back surfers, no flowers in your hair. The San Francisco streets are chock full of screaming homeless and human piss and feces. The cost of living is so high, people have to work themselves to the bone to pay the rent. The pace is NOT laid-back. It is the opposite. There are gay people everywhere, but it’s a Sausage-fest. Gay, techie dude-bros rule the roost. The area is so saturated with tech that I am surprised that we all don’t have brain cancer here from all of the shit flying around in the air.

Sure, there are trans people. But, I have found zero camaraderie with them. It’s just trans people walking around not wanting anything to do with each other. It’s very disheartening. That is not what I experienced when I first came out back East. I found so many people who were welcoming and who loved to get together. I don’t feel the warmth from anyone here like I did back in the East, even South Carolina. We all have something so intimate in common. We are all targets of hate and discrimination. We need to stick together and circle the wagons sometimes. We need to be a community. Even with modern societal acceptance, we need each other. We need to connect, share, give hugs, cry, love each other and enjoy each other’s company.

I don’t feel that here. I feel a very cold, hard, unfeeling vibe. It disturbs me and is not healthy for me. This is no panacea. There are no gleaming streets with hippies and surfers. There is no love or peace. I was duped, hoodwinked and snookered by the “Chamber of Commerce Bay Area” The dream has died, flooded and destroyed by a wave of ones and zeros. The beauty remains, or at least the beauty that is not ruined by man. If there is a piece of beautiful land here, someone will build a house on it by golly. I think there is an app for that. Tech, people, money and assholes, have turned the San Francisco dream into a nightmare. It remains a cold, gray loveless shell of what it once was. Dear friends, stay where you are. Do not venture to The Land of Empty Promise. This intrepid reporter will be back with you someday soon. Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. . . .

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

I am a transwoman originally from Pittsburgh, PA. I have been living full time for 5 years. I work in retail but am an artist/Graphic Designer and aspiring writer. I tend to address the controversial in my writing. I would love to change the world one article at a time. I moved to The San Francisco Bay Area to start over, again. But recently moved back to the East Coast. The adventure continues...

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