“For West is where we all plan to go some day. It is where you go when the land gives out and the old-field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar’s gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.” –Robert Warren Penn, All the King’s Men
For the longest time, I’ve said that I love Philadelphia because I fit here. It is true. I do love this city: its roughness, its polish, its dichotomy, its unity. It is a city of neighborhoods that have been stitched together to form a most beautiful quilt.
But lately, I’ve found my thoughts turned to the west coast. Not for the sun and surf, but for the possibilities it holds. The freshness of it all.
I am a writer. In my heart and in my soul and in my breath, I am a writer. Los Angeles is a town built upon the broken dreams of artists. Were I to go there, I would just be another face in the crowd. I convince myself I’m comfortable with this. But sometimes I’m not. Sometimes, I want the spotlight. It is a selfish, foolish thing to want, but it does not stop me.
I should start closer to home. Find new things. I live in a large city. There are people who are interested in what I am interested.
Philadelphia is my home, and always will be. But adventure calls. And while adventures often start at home, they do not keep you there. They pull you along new paths and push you towards new experiences. I don’t have that.
I have clung to this place and its supposedly perfect fit for so long. And I fear that I have shoehorned myself in so well that I may very well be stuck. I don’t want to be stuck. I don’t want to feel trapped. I want a chance to break out and break free.
But what if I don’t fit in out there? What if I just end up feeling more trapped? What if everything falls apart and I can’t hold it together?
And with every question and every worry, the noose grows tighter.
But maybe it would be the clean slate I dream of. Maybe I will unfurl and stretch so far that even I will be surprised by my reach.
And maybe there’s no real perfect fit for me. Maybe I just haven’t found it yet. I don’t know. And I don’t know if I’m brave enough to find out.