I never felt like I belonged in the Texas Panhandle. Where I grew up, I wasn’t what you’d call… popular. Not only were my personal views different than most of the people I knew, but my political and social views were vastly different. There were kind people who loved on me and encouraged me to care about the things I did have, things like intelligence and a kind heart. Those are the people who instilled in me the importance of inner beauty. Thank you for loving me.
When I stepped into college, I knew that I did not have the same life that others had previously. The beautiful and scary thing about college is the amount of differences you encounter, how you’re forced to face your biases and your truth. In my undergrad career, I found my place. I loved my undergrad life. It was when I (well, when I THOUGHT) really grew into myself. It’s a bit like a kid growing into their ears, you know? I learned so much – academically, of course, but also, how lovely some people are. I met people from the Panhandle, but I also met people from around the states and the globe who loved me.. just because they wanted to?? I’m so confused, sometimes. I don’t understand why people love the real me, but that’s for another blog.
I talk about college a lot, I know. It was the first time I felt whole. I wasn’t bombarded with who my mom is and how she conducted her life; I wasn’t harbored with thoughts of being stuck in a box, suffocating. Do you know how freeing that is? I hope you do.
The next few years I would work in fashion, advertising, and housing, three industries vastly different but strangely similar. I met more people who loved me (maybe it was because I was their landlord, but I digress).
Fashion was my first love, always will be. There’s a feeling – a fire – that I get whenever I put together an outfit, slip the silk over my frizzed hair, and paint expression on to my freckles.. that’s a feeling I can’t replace. I want to start another boutique… maybe I will.
Advertising is another fire, but a different one. I love presentations and data, but more than that, I love copywriting. I love writing for brands and making people smile. It’s a unique gift that I love. Interaction makes me feel like a small voice can ripple. I’ve done marketing and advertising for a long time and I want to do it until I can’t anymore.
Housing is people. I love people. They make my heart sing… 80% of the time. I never thought I’d love it as much as I did. Getting to know residents and ask about their families, watch them light up when they see you, their kindness. I loved my job.
I started graduate school, finally. I asked people about it prooooobably 300 times, always doubting myself. I had to convince myself over the next two years that I wasn’t an imposter. It’s the daily pep talk that we graddies have (yes, I made up that word). I loved grad school, even though it was hard, even though I was lost, even though I had to deal with my truths. I came out in graduate school and finally felt like I knew who I was, but… something still felt missing.
I got a job doing, well.. CRM management. It’s as boring as it sounds. Soon, I was promoted to the marketing department and I got to share the beautiful things about Amarillo and the Panhandle with visitor and residents. I got to make goofy cow graphics and Instagram stories, but more importantly, I got to create content to inform those people about the COVID-19 pandemic and how to protect themselves. It seems small, but it was one thing I could do. I hate that this virus took away my favorite job with people who loved me, but time has a funny way of being a dick.
I guess we’re at the end, aren’t we? If you’ve noticed, I put “love” or “loved” in bold and italic. Those of you who know me know that I do not love Texas. I do not love the homophobia, racism, transphobia, toxic religion, and honestly all the damn dirt.
But.. those who loved/love me, they made all the pain, the hurt, the confusion, the doubt.. they made it all worth it. And if you’re reading this and you love me/loved me, you made it worth it, I want you to know that.
I’m moving to New York to pursue new opportunities and the person that I love. I know that there are many of you that think I’ve lost my mind – if this is the thing that makes you think that, you’re a little behind.
In the end, this is my choice. Yes, I’m scared. Yes, I know that I’m moving in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, I will miss all of you with my whole heart. But, I have felt suffocated here my whole life. I need to leave to take a deep, deep breath. I have to start my life. I know that you’re worried about me, but I need you to have faith in me. I am strong, smart, breathtaking, and so fucking ready for the next adventure.
Amarillo, parts of you infuriate me, but others really warm my heart. Stay country and find more compassion for those who are different than you.