Home Is Where You Have To Be
Why do I feel compelled to move to a new city every six months?
My friend Natalie and I were driving to the state fair, of all places, when I told her I was thinking about leaving Albuquerque. She went silent for a long time. I knew that she was upset. “So, is this just what you do? You move to a new city, stay until you get bored, until people there start to care about you, then move on to the next place?”
I don’t remember how I answered, but I probably said something like “ouch.”
I’ve moved around a lot in the last few years. I grew up in Houston, went to Chicago for college, moved out to the Bay after I dropped out in 2013, then in 2015 I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a state that’s lovingly called the “Land of Entrapment” by its residents. I moved here halfway hoping I would get trapped. I wanted to put down some roots, build a community, and really make a home for myself – things I hadn’t managed to do in my other cities. Mostly, I’m sure, because I never stick around long enough.
I don’t know why I run out of patience with places so quickly, but it’s a pattern that continues. I’ve lived in Albuquerque about a year now – but hell, I’ve been in and out of town so much it doesn’t seem like that long – and all that time I’ve been applying for jobs all over the country and keeping an eye on cheap flights. While I have made a few friends here, I never found the queer community I hoped for, or joined the feminist punk house I was sure I would find. I wanted it to feel like home right away, and that just didn’t happen.
Of course, things weren’t helped by the fact that I came here with a partner who, by the time we moved into a house together, I already hated. I also didn’t have a job to distract me from how lonely and miserable I was then. For those first few months I sent out pitches and job applications from a big, cold house, didn’t hang a single piece of art on the walls, and didn’t get more than a mattress and a bookshelf to furnish my room. It always felt like I was squatting there.