I Found My Heart in San Francisco

I miss home.

I keep asking myself, Where is home, exactly?  I don’t truly have one.  One of the things about moving around so much is that you lose the right to have roots somewhere.  This has never bothered me before, but it’s been bothering me since I moved to California.  We are often told that home is where the heart is, but I cannot agree to this.  There’s a Rascal Flatts song that has the lyric in it, I never dreamed home would end up where I don’t belong, and it’s been circulating around in my head for several months now–since I moved to California, to be precise.

And I’ll be honest: I love California.  It’s a wonderful state in a lot of respects.  I know a lot of people back east who pick on this state and have never been here, but here in the Central Valley is a kick-ass place to reside.  Within two hours of me is anything I could possibly want to do, whether it includes peace and quiet, adventures, people, fine arts–anything.  Everything I love is here.  But I hate living here.  California isn’t home to me because I’m not the kind of person who is content to be with herself and no one else.

Look, I’m not knocking the whole I-am-an-island crap that goes around in society here these days–wait, yes I am, but that’s my next blog post, so I’m not going to touch on it just now–but my point is, I’m okay with the fact that I like my need to be part of a duo.  I’m rather attached to myself, and that includes all pieces of me, not just the socially acceptable ones.  I know that my heart is really going to be wherever the people I love the most are, and that is where home will always be for me.  Unfortunately, I can’t build a home with any of those people right now, so that line about home being where the heart is doesn’t apply to me.

That said, I went into San Francisco today.  It’s not my first time.  I’ve tasted the city (not literally, unless you count the food) three times since I moved here just under four months ago.  I fell in love with the place practically on sight.  I like the variety the city offers; it has everything you could possibly need outside of quietude and reasonable traffic.  Today I went because I’d happened on a website advertising free swing lessons inside Golden Gate Park every Sunday.  I’ve been wanting to go for a while, but I never made the time.  This weekend I needed to get some wanderlust out of my system, and I hadn’t really explored the park to any real degree before–I’d been in once the first time I visited, but only on the west end and not for very long.  So since I’d had swing lessons before nine years ago in Charleston, and because I already knew I loved swing, I decided to go dancing.  It was a blast.  I had a lot of fun trying to dance a dance I no longer remembered how to do, and I was thrilled that there were enough men in attendance that I was able to dance every song.

When it was over I walked the park in search of other fun things.  I found the de Young Art Museum, where I met a new friend, then checked out the Japanese tea garden, which was beautiful.  I people-watched and took pictures.  I talked with a number of people about a hundred topics (but everyone I talked to today asked if I go to Duke, since I was wearing my Duke sweater–I had that conversation probably a dozen times), and everyone I talked to was amazingly cordial and personable.  Cordiality isn’t something I take for granted anymore.  The only thing I didn’t do was find a geocache or two, but only because I ran out of sunlight.

That’s okay.  It gives me a good excuse to go back.

I love San Francisco.  I like that I never know what language I’m going to hear as I pass people on the streets; I like that I am going to run into street performers out trying to make a buck on their own quirky talents; I like that if I decide I want to do something I can just plug it into a GPS and it’ll find it within the city;  I like that I can walk the streets and find something new around almost every corner.

I like that it’s a city of distractions.

And I love that it holds no negative memories for me.

San Francisco allows me to focus on just me for a while, to make me forget that I’m struggling to overcome a broken heart and a feeling of aimlessness.  San Francisco may not exactly be home, but it’s a place where I can heal my heart a little bit, at least for the time that I’m there.

In a quasi-related topic, I have a California To-Do list, which is like a bucket list of sorts but is strictly a list of things I want to do and see while I’m here in California and has nothing to do with death. That is, unless you happen to consider moving away from California a kind of death.  And believe me, a lot of people who live here consider it that way.

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7 thoughts on “I Found My Heart in San Francisco

  1. This was really a fabulous post … It definitely resonates with me. The “being part of a duo,” and the bit about living somewhere that holds no negative memories but plenty of distractions. Well, heck–there’s a whole lot of it I just found myself nodding about. I feel the same way about St. Louis, myself.

    I love how you mentioned the “I-am-an-island” thing, and its prevalence in society. I understand it and to an extent I guess it’s healthy, but I’m like you–I don’t buy it. I think a lot of things that people seem to tout as their virtues are false virtues. I doubt as many people really feel as though they ARE islands. I suspect that more people feel like you and I do, but they know it isn’t fashionable and perhaps they’re jaded. It’s easy to be jaded. As much as I guard myself against it, I find myself being jaded even now that I’m much wiser. I think a lot of the “_____ power” movements are about being jaded, really.

    What annoys me is that people seem to think that just because you don’t adhere to the “I-am-an-island” mentality means that you have absolutely no self-esteem and a poor self image. I don’t think that’s true, honestly. I don’t think that sort of mentality necessarily lends itself to confidence, either. I believe that a lot of people with those sorts of mentalities are, as I’ve mentioned above, jaded but also cowardly. Not all of them, of course. Some people truly are better off by themselves and are happier by themselves. I’m not one of them.

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear that you’re out enjoying yourself in the meantime. It’s a beautiful life and we must live it.

    I eagerly await your new post!

  2. I have no complaints about California itself. it has beautiful mountains, beautiful desert, beautiful farmland, beautiful coasts, and beautiful people. It has an eclectic element that I like. I can hang with cowboys one night and computer engineers the next. Most of my experience with the cities is with LA which is dirty and crime ridden so I’m not as impressed as some. Don’t get me wrong, it has it cool parts too but I’ve seen a lot of it’s underbelly.

    I made a vow a long time ago that if a state didn’t respect my right to protect myself that I’d avoid it until it saw the error of it’s ways. California is going that way, whether is likes it or not, so maybe I’ll be heading back sometime in the future..

    I don’t know if the two part comment thing will become a habit. I’ll try and keep it too a minimum.

    And I think I understood what you were saying. I am a lot like you. I don’t mind being alone so much, but there is a very specific type of loneliness. I often find myself longing for ‘one person in particular,’ unfortunately I don’t have a clue who they might be.

    I look forward to your more clearly thought out thoughts on the whole things, though.

    • I was teasing about the comments–if you hit the reply button then think of something else, feel free to post again. And again. And again if need be. I don’t actually care. 😉

      I haven’t seen LA and really have no desire to either. Actually, there isn’t any of SoCal I’m interested in seeing until someone can give me a good reason. The Central Valley is where it’s at. And YES, the eclectic element you were talking about is a big part of what makes this place so great. Eclecticism, diversity, variety, and also it comes across to me as a spontaneous place, if you can really call a place spontaneous. All things I enjoy, and the last a quality I admire. I can understand your reasoning behind not coming to California. Once again, you make sense. ::sigh::

    • Here you were complaining about California not a month ago and refused to visit. Hmph.

      As to your first comment (is this two-part comment thing going to become habit?), it isn’t just loneliness. I have several very good friends, and whenever I need one, I can usually get in touch. I thrive on being alone most of the time. I’m a bit of an introvert, and I’m a thinker. I think my problem mostly lies in that I’m longing for one person in particular. I have a whole spiel on this being alone thing, but I’m getting my thoughts in order for it so I can make it the main topic of a decent blog post. This one was sort of spontaneous and I can see where my thoughts are muddled. Kris strives for better communication. 🙂

  3. Parts of this remind me of something I read recently that I completely agree with. The gist of it was that being able to handle being alone doesn’t mean you don’t feel lonely. Loneliness has been a big part of my life. I can deal with, and I often choose to be alone, but it doesn’t mean I like being lonely.

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