Should I Stay or Should I Go?

| Jul 11, 2016
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Dry nothern California.

Dry northern California.

Should I stay or should I go? My life has become a popular song by The Clash. That is the burning question right now. Should I leave California, or should I stay? Beats the hell out of me. The decision seems to change like the wind. When I get anxious, scared or stressed. . . I want to go. When I have a good time and actually enjoy myself for once, like I did last night. . . I want to stay, for a while at least. I wish I knew what to do.

Sometimes, I think that fate will guide me. I am very in tune with things that are supposed to happen. They open up doors, which lead you to places that you never expected. When you look back, you think, Wow, I never would have met so and so, or did such and such if I didn’t make that decision or have that thing happen to me at that exact moment. It’s all so fascinating. I can think of many examples in my life in which this kind of thing plays out. So many things are interwoven. Perhaps, it’s like The Butterfly Effect. Perhaps it is fate, or God, or just pure chance. It seems too poetic sometimes to be chance.

The lush mountains of Pennsylvania.

The lush mountains of Pennsylvania.

People have been giving me a hard time about being negative about life and the Bay Area lately. I admit, when I don’t feel good physically, I get irritable, melancholy, and depressed. My postings on Facebook and my writings reflect my feelings. I tell it like it is. If I am seeing through anxiety-colored glasses at that point, it tends to skew my thoughts to the negative. In my defense, there are a lot of things about the Bay Area and California that are negative, dangerous, depressing and harsh. There are also things that are pretty cool, beautiful, fun, adventurous, and unique.

Scales of justice.

Scales of justice.

It’s like the scale that Lady Justice holds. In one bowl lies the bad of California. In the other lies the good. It comes down to which side tips the scale to a definitive decision. Does the good literally outweigh the bad? For me, some days it’s 50/50. Some days it’s 75% bad. Some days it’s 51% good. I will say, to me, California will never be 100% good or even 80%. But, it could get good enough to stay. Some days I want to just pack whatever shit will fit in my car and just take off into the mountains eastward. Some days, like yesterday, make me think there is hope for a life and enjoyment here.

Yesterday, I woke up with low anxiety, which is rare in the last 8 months. I had the day off of work. I was to attend a Bryan Adams concert and dinner before with a good friend. I actually got up before noon and accomplished some good things. I did have to rush a bit to meet my friend, but I actually made it on time. As the fates would have it, she happened to be renting a car that day and was asked if she would mind driving a certain sports car.

2017 Mustang

2017 Mustang

So, my friend pulls up in a shiny new 2017 Ford Mustang. My jaw dropped. I love cars and I was shocked to see this turn of good fortune. So, that’s a free dinner, free concert and a ride to and from in a Mustang. The Fates were smiling on me yesterday. The concert, the food and the company were great. It was a good day. I felt pretty calm and happy. I didn’t fret that my family is 3000 miles away. I didn’t fret that I would have a “spell” at the concert and have to run out of there. I didn’t fret about the violence, or gentrification, or homeless people, or money. I just lived in the moment. It seems so simple. But, that was one good day. I need to string together more than one good day to be happy.

I need to be able to not be nervous and anxious about getting a better job that pays better than $11 per hour. New jobs are very, very stressful to me. The paradox is, if I don’t get a better paying job and somehow push through the paralyzing, despair-inducing anxiety, I will only remain stressed about money and my life here. Money stress is a biggie to me. It weighs on me like a bowling ball necklace. I am never going to get ahead working for $11 per hour.

It will take everything that I have to overcome anxiety and apply for a better paying job. The return, though, could be so joyous. I could actually get my own little place all to myself. I could get a new car. I could save some real money. I may actually start to really build a life here. IF. . . I can overcome my fears. If not, then I may need to retreat back to friendlier and more familiar territory. I may need to be closer to family and old friends.

The Kennywood Carousel.

The Kennywood Carousel.

I am from Pittsburgh, Pa. I was born there and lived my life for 41 years there. I lived for a long time in the country suburbs of Irwin and Madison, Pa. east of the city of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County. It is quiet, peaceful, provincial, homogeneous, and safe. It is the polar opposite of the Bay Area.

Sometimes, in my darkest times, in the middle of a deep cry, I long for the simple life of my hometown. I imagine myself arriving triumphantly back in the 3 river city, Steeler Country, The Golden Triangle. I would breathe a sigh of relief as though I finally returned from a very long vacation. I would revel in the familiar sights and the colorful accent. I’d go right dahntahn and get myself a Primantis and ride The Incline up ‘ber on top of Maaant Washington. Ahhh…I can imagine a sunny summer day at Kennywood with the sound of the carousel and the smell of roller-coaster grease, funnel cakes and wood chips. Sniiiiiiifffffffff. Mmmmmm. Home.

I long for Westmoreland County, where the lush green rolling hills and mountains are a stark contrast to the brown, dry landscape of the Bay Area. I miss US Rt. 30, the Turnpike, and Rt. 22 and Rt. 119. I know these roads. I can see the geographic area in my head. I can see all of my old stomping grounds and houses, my schools and my neighborhoods. They comfort me. There’s no place like home, as Dorothy says.

Am I stuck in Oz right now? Do I need to see The Wizard? Well, as a trans woman I actually do need to see The Wizard. But that is a whole different reason to stay in the Bay Area. Maybe The Wizard can give courage to this Cowardly Lion. I already have a big heart and a good brain. It was actually suggested by a friend that my anxiety is being caused by dysphoria, something The Wizard can definitely help me with. In that case, it would then be prudent to stay here where The Wizard is close and operates virtually for free.

Should I click my heels three times and say, “There’s no place like home,” and return to the familiar and safe land of my childhood? Or, should I stay in the strange, scary and unfamiliar Land of Oz, hoping to get a chance to see The Wizard? Today, I don’t know the answer. Today, I am 50/50. I have huge decisions to make. Or, maybe I don’t. Maybe, the answers lie in The Fates. Maybe, something will happen that opens the door to some new incredible thing. Maybe, I WILL be happy in Oz. Right now, in this moment. . . I just don’t know.

If you want to visit Kennywood amusement park without going to suburban Pittsburgh, it is featured in the 2009 film Adventureland starring Jessie Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart.

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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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