Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve been here… *blows dust off the blog*
*spends 15 minutes coughing*
…Ahem. Trying again.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new post in this blog. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and written much of anything, really. I’ve let the daily grind of repetition and boredom stifle my desire and passion for writing, and then eventually even squish my will to write despite my desire. I’ve let a lot of stuff suffer because of my life being so unsatisfying, which of course perpetuated the unsatisfying nature of my life. But more about that later. What I’ve decided to do is finally do something about it.
I’m leaving Tuscaloosa for Los Angeles. Today.
So, I’m using this blog post, the first in a long time, to say goodbye to my old home, hello to my new home and try to kick start some changes for me and this blog. There are three cities to talk about.
It was the best of times.
Tuscaloosa, you’ve been my home for 9 years of my life, basically. I came to Tuscaloosa at age 18, year 2006. I attended the University of Alabama for five years, from 2006 to 2011, with at least one summer’s worth of classes to make up for my being a bad student. After graduating in August 2011, I went back to my original home of Huntsville… for about 5 months. I came straight back to Tuscaloosa in January 2012 and have been living there even since. I turned 27 on the 28th of July… so I’ve basically spent one third of my life in Tuscaloosa. It’s where I decided, for sure, what I want to do with my life. It’s where I met most of my friends. It’s where I met my best friend. It’s where I learned I had skills I did not previously know about, especially as a writer. Some of my best memories come from this town. There are connections I’ve made in this town I hope never die or fade. For that, I will be eternally grateful. For that, I will miss this place.
Not only that, but Tuscaloosa is where I got to be a teacher, a director and a PAID actor for the first time. The connections I’ve made here, professionally, will hopefully carry me through the rest of my life. Without Tuscaloosa, I would never have had the chance to play my dream role, Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Without Tuscaloosa, I may never have discovered some of my talents, some of the songs I sing… and I probably wouldn’t be moving to LA to try my hand in the film industry because I never would have had the successes with film I’ve enjoyed over the past several years. I’ve met so many beautiful people, beautiful in mind, spirit and body, that I like and often care about very much. Tuscaloosa has been wonderful for enriching my life in these ways.
It was the worst of times.
You would think, in a tale of three cities, I would pick a different city, like Huntsville, my first home. But, no. Tuscaloosa has been my own personal Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for so long. Legitimately, my absolute worst memories, the things that will haunt me for years to come, were born in Tuscaloosa. Some of them, several people know about. Some things are easy to get over and are part of the toughening process, especially with the years and years of rejection I face as a writer and actor. Some, however, were far worse. For example, the pseudo-romantic fallout I caused with my best friend, reverberations of which are still felt today and may never heal, something I hope she and I can both get over. And then there’s something that happened I still struggle to talk about, something I wouldn’t want to happen to even the (very few) people I truly abhor. Beyond the specific terrible events I’ve had happen, there’s also the fact that Tuscaloosa made me feel so alone. Granted, I think that’s mostly my fault… I never learned how to socialize very well. And it certainly doesn’t help that Tuscaloosa, by and large, is a transient city. Unlike some cities, like Huntsville or Birmingham, that have colleges in them, Tuscaloosa is a college that has a city around it. Every year, new people come in, old people leave. Many stay, but the landscape changes constantly, especially for people in their early to mid-20s.
All in all, Tuscaloosa has broken my heart many times. It’s been rough. I’ve talked about my struggles with life and being a social outcast before, all while hoping desperately I’m not actually depressed. Having friendships that only last until the end of college, and many good close friendships disappear for reasons I’ve never been told about, certainly doesn’t help that struggle. It can be quite the lonely town, especially for someone whose largest regret is not going out to talk to and/or meet people more often. Lots of people I like that live or have lived in that town that I’ve talked to maybe twice in a non-Facebook capacity.
That said… Earlier this week, I hosted my last night of trivia at Black Warrior Brewing. It was my birthday. One of the owners bought me a cheesecake. The next night, my last night of Pub Poll (it’s Family Feud… sorta. Don’t ask.), the bar cheered my name and the owner gave me a $100 Visa card. And then, just last night, I hosted my last night of trivia in Tuscaloosa at the Druid City Brewing Company. I was given ANOTHER cake by a trivia team, a heartfelt farewell, and a card. Apparently, they had passed the hat to give me some cash for the road… and wrote their goodbyes inside.
This city has been joy. This city has been cruel. This city has my ecstasies and my nightmares wrapped inside… It has been my home. And while part of me knows I won’t be missed or even remembered by many, it is a comfort and a joy to be missed by some.
Allow for me to borrow from a song…
He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before. He left yesterday behind him. You might say he was born again. You might say he found a key for every door.
I just turned 27. This summer, I’m embarking on my riskiest move: A move to a city I’ve never been to to do something I’ve never really tried to do as a profession… but something I’ve always wanted to do.
18 years, give or take, living in Huntsville. 9 years in Tuscaloosa. I hope to last longer than the 4.5 in Los Angeles the pattern suggests, but I’d be okay with 4.5 years of working my craft as an actor and writer there.
I’ll have a new blog to document my life in LA, adjusting to this city further west than I’ve ever been in my life, more alone and unsure than I’ve ever been before… I’ll let you know when that gets up and running. I will still use this blog for my think pieces, though. I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things.
It’s a new life. A new adventure. A manifest destiny. Here’s hoping to a bright horizon.