I know this much to be true. The world is not coming to end, the earth will continue to rotate, the sun will continue to rise, and life in Austin will continue to move on. Just not with me in it. To hear my friends speak though, you’d think the above is all incorrect. It’s flattering. But truth be told, I’m starting to grow a little weary of it. Not because they love me and will miss me, oh no, never because of that. I’ll miss them. But because of where I’m going and where I’ve been and where I need to be and how it’s not going to happen here no matter how much they might want to hold on tight.
If you had told me a year ago what my life would be like today; what I would have seen and done in the past year, I would not have believed you. I would have laughed and said “OKAY” but never would have I thought any of it was true. It’s been a whole lot of fucking fun. I got a lot of things out of my system. But none of it was moving me forward.
What tends to happen in Austin is people come here for school and never leave. Sometimes it’s because they land the dream job and it just happens to be here. Sometimes it’s because they just fall in love with the place and can’t bear the thought of leaving. Mostly though it’s because you just fall in to something, or with someone, and then boom – suddenly it’s 13 years later and you’re still here and there’s really no specific reason; you just are. I would fall into that last category. Mind you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I’d say it makes up a majority of the population in this town. For me though, while I’ve always been charmed by Austin and wooed by it’s “weirdness”, we never were a perfect match. You see I’m really a big city girl at heart. It’s how I was raised; brought up on museums and theater and sports arenas and mega rock shows. I used to always say “You can take the girl out of Houston, but you can’t take the Houston out of the girl.” I meant it in reference to why I was always looking over my shoulder in a dark parking lot. Its got a new meaning now.
Austin has changed considerably over the last two years. Condos sprouting up all over downtown; huge high-rises that leave one wondering where exactly the people are coming from to fill them, new bars replacing the standard “dive-chic” with a more urban, trendy, and hip vibe. If you’re old school “Keep Austin Weird”, you fucking hate it. Me, I’m just at home in the dive bars as I am in the new ones, but the new ones; well, a lot of people complain they’re too much like L.A. or Houston. I don’t know if you know this about me but I kinda like L.A. and as for Houston…
When I left, I swore I wasn’t coming back. Hated everything about it. It was too dirty, too big, too noisy, just too… too. But Houston has been changing also. The part of town that I used to go to every weekend for punk rock shows has changed apparently from one of the worst to now one of the most desirable neighborhoods to live in. [Something I still cannot wrap my head around, and quite frankly am going to need to actually SEE in person before I fully accept. And probably won’t even then.] But more than the city; it’s me that has changed. What I want is different. I want to live on my own again, in some awesome loft where I can walk to the ballpark. I want a city with a ballpark. I want season tickets. I want a change. I want a different life than the one I’ve been living. It will be nearly impossible to come by if I stay here, because nothing will change. I don’t pretend that it is going to be all lighthearted and easy. I am leaving behind the lifestyle I’ve been living for a while now and there will be times it’ll hurt. But I know it’s for the best.
As for my people – I am so lucky to have a handful of very good friends. Two of them live in California. One in Chicago. Two in Austin. Of those, one is moving to Korea in two months. Of the remaining one, her family lives in Houston so I know I’ll be seeing her often. For my other friends here, the ones who worry I’ll never see them again and wrinkle up their noses when I say I’m moving to Houston; well, again, it’s so nice to be so loved. They don’t believe I’m coming back. I assure them I’m here in January for the Spin Alley release. Maybe I don’t come back in February. But March is SXSW and the hotels are long since booked, so yes, not only will I be back but which one of you is putting me up for a week? I have family in Austin. I never see them. My parents still live in the suburbs of Houston, in the same house I grew up in. I’ll be seeing them often. Probably start drinking more too.
I will miss you Austin. It’s going to be weird not crawling your streets every Friday and Saturday night. [and often Thursday, and Wednesday, sometimes Tuesday… maybe Monday] But it’ll be a good weird. And I’ll have work to keep me busy. Maybe start playing that online poker all the kids are talking about… And you’ll be just up the road; we will see each other often. I promise.
For now, I have to finish my packing. My father informed me last night as I was on my way to a party that my mother has a meeting at UT Saturday and as such he was planning to move everything that day. I had just one little problem. Saturday night. I still need to be in Austin. But as my things will already be moved; I’ll be on my own with finding a place to sleep that night and primp the next day. There are a number of routes I could take; some I’m tempted to just for the havoc they’d wreck.
A fitting end.