Thursday, July 31, 2014

There and Back Again: A Homo's Tale

(If you don't understand The Hobbit reference in the title of this entry, just know I am very disappointed with you. Also, yes, it occurred to me this entry should probably have a Pocahontas pun for the title [You'll see what I mean in a minute], but this one was too good to pass up.)

I'm getting on a plane this Saturday and going back to Arkansas. I've talked about this in podcast episodes, I guess, but I don't remember if I've blogged about why I'm leaving San Francisco and my job here.

I moved here to be an associate producer at a digital network. I also moved here under the condition that the job would be contracted for three months to see how I fit in. Well, they really liked me, I fit in, and it was assumed I'd be staying. I was the one who decided to end this journey. And it was possibly one of the most difficult decisions I've made in a long time.

You guys know I love comparing myself to cartoon characters or characters from kids' movies, so I've been looking at this situation as though I'm Pocahontas. (Please imagine me in the dress and with her gorgeous, flowing hair, possibly crouching under that waterfall. You know, the one where she first meets John Smith.) And it's like I'm standing in a canoe looking at my reflection in the water and picturing my future with Kocoum (in San Francisco), and singing something about taking the smoothest course or maybe taking the other path and holding out for something else that turns out to be John Smith (who is from Arkansas in this metaphor, I guess). Except, honestly, in this case both paths have good and sucky aspects, but neither is particularly smooth, and both have piranhas leaping out of the water and there are some sharks swimming around (river sharks, of course) and even a few corpses just floating around near the shore, too. So right now I'm really just picking the path where I don't end up living with twenty people and having zero dollars in my savings account. Anyway, this whole paragraph has been a really flimsy metaphor, so I've typed out my reasons below for taking the path back to Arkansas (and it's not just because John Smith is more attractive than Kocoum, because I'm not totally sure he is. Kocoum was pretty hot, too). Also, this isn't being written because I feel the need to explain it to anyone. Writing it down is more so a type of therapy for myself.

First, this city is simply too damn expensive. Just google "San Francisco rental market" to see what a mess it currently is here. With student loans and other bills, I'd never be able to even afford a cramped studio, even in the East Bay or far outside the city (and even if I could, the travel time to work wouldn't make it worth it). I've done the whole living-in-a-house-with-five-people thing before, and I've outgrown it. I want to make music and videos and spread out and be comfortable in my own space. I don't want to struggle month-to-month and not be putting any money towards savings.

Second, I want to be closer to my family and BFF. My parents are getting older and, while they very much want me to go where I want and do my own thing, I've discovered that my place right now is closer to home, nearer to them and my sister and BFF. Also, life is just a lot more fun when you're closer to your BFF. Me and my BFF spent way too many years living in different states. I'm still not sure I want to stay in Arkansas forever, but I don't want to be quite as far away as I am now. I'm an East Coast kinda gal, and I'd really like to live in Philly again someday.

Third, a couple different job opportunities popped up back home and, though neither of them is a sure thing, I want to pursue them. While I feel like I'm a damn good associate producer here, I think I've learned it may not be the thing for me. Of course, I've had more than enough jobs to realize almost every single one has sucky aspects, and I'm not afraid of hard work or of doing something I don't 100% enjoy. That's just life. So this wasn't really a big factor in my decision. There's definitely more good than bad in the job. Most of the good stems from the people and the environment being so great. I just wish it were closer to home and this city weren't so damn expensive.

I am glad I came, though. This has been one of the best summers I've had in a while, and I've been ready for another adventure for a long time. A lot of good came from this. But I don't think I'm ready to share that part, yet.

I originally had another list at the bottom of this entry where I typed out things I'd miss about this city and things I wouldn't, but the post was getting too long so I'll save it for another.

So, yes, to summarize: I'm not marrying Kocoum. Or choosing John Smith, either. But, until I figure things out, I plan on doing a lot more jumping off waterfalls and singing with raccoons and hanging out with old, sassy trees. And, of course, I'll still be looking just around the riverbend (and probably end up canoeing my way off a goddamn cliff eventually).



  1. This post is exactly what I needed and I hope it gave you the comfort that it gave me.

  2. Go Joe! Proud of you for following your gut :)

  3. Michael ZientkiewiczAugust 1, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    you are a very sensible person, Joe! It is good to see, that you are following your heart and your mind. You'll never be wrong doing that.

  4. So.... in a game of M/F/K (for instance); you're saying you'd basically: Marry John Smith, F*ck Kocoum, aaaand Kill Pocahantas and wear her skin (with hair attached) in order to do so?

    #GetIt !

  5. I've had a similar experience before and if you think you're making the wiser choice, you probably are.

    Plus Pocahontas leaves us with a valuable life lesson that is rarely found in the Disney universe. The truth is, sometimes your betrothed gets stabbed and then your boyfriend gets shot and moves back to England. In the wake of that, it's still up to you to make the right choices and set the new course for your life.

  6. That title made me LOL. As far as cost of living, wise choice. The hubs and I had an opportunity to move to Toronto a few years ago, and we were floored to discover that for the cost of our monthly mortgage on a 3400 sq. ft. house in TX we could maybe live in an efficiency apartment there (slight exaggeration)...pass! And being near family is important too.

  7. I enjoyed the metaphors, though the mental image starring you as Pocahontas quickly evolved (devolved?) into a musical, with the animals providing the music and John Smith and Kocoum doing some ballet routines on the opposite sides of the river, following you in your canoe. It ended with you flying off the waterfall into the sunset, hair billowing artistically in the breeze, water dripping from the canoe bottom and sparkling in the evening sun, and a rainbow off to the side, generated from the mist of the waterfall. That's about where it ended, so total cliffhanger. (Did I just make a pun? I think I did. Whoops!)

  8. Good for you. I love Little Rock, by the way. ;) I could see myself renting a bricky-loft downtown. They're pretty cheap, too.

  9. Glad you enjoyed the experience. Definitely think your solo ventures are way more worthwhile than being a cog in a machine somewhere. Can't help but want you to live in a metropolis instead of the sticks but Arkansas isn't that bad when you get down to it. There's nowhere like home after all!

  10. I'm so happy that you were able to pursue some opportunities! Even if they didn't quite work out. I'm ready for whatever other news you have to share! ;D