An old friend came to visit me this weekend. ::bounce::bounce:: She’s one of those people who i see as exceptionally similar to me. Overeducated, always thinking about issues of privilege, activist, queer, etc. We both came from the hippie-esque world of the coops.
Anyhow, we spent a few hours wandering around the Mission and it was such an eye-opener. She was so viscerally aware of the elements of CITY and of San Francisco in particular. She’s living in a town that looks like something Disney would create. She’s not blonde, not rich, not a prep, not a surfer; she’s an outright freak there. But she’s there because she’s kicking ass on the international activist scene and that’s where she needs to be right now. But talking to her made me really reflect on how much i value San Francisco.
I’m not a freak here. No matter what i wear, i will run into someone with a crazier outfit. And it doesn’t matter anyhow. My sexuality is also not a big deal. It is so strange to be in an environment where the straight folks are more tolerant of queerness than the gay folks. But again, no big deal. Whenever i want to meet new interesting people, it’s possible. In fact, there are so many intriguing people that i want to get to know, but just haven’t because of time restrictions on my part. I can see art events whenever i want; i can go dancing whenever i want. There are cool bookstores and clothing shops and street life.
I just received a note from a 15 year old somewhere in “WASP suburbia.” She wrote to tell me about how she’s tormented by kids at school, about how the administration does nothing to help, about how valuable the Internet was for finding people like her. I totally get where she’s at. When i was living elsewhere, i always felt so out of place and relied on technology to meet people more like me. But the funny thing about San Francisco is that i’m finally in a place where there are more intellectual freaks/geeks in everyday life than i ever found online.
I just had two different friends leave SF because they *hated* it. I still haven’t been able to squelch my immediate visceral response: how do i like you??? is there something about you that i don’t know about yet? ::laugh:: But seeing my beloved city through a friend’s eyes was so refreshing. I am so thankful for living here. For having 85 degree days in March. For having so many freaks, geeks, and queers that i can just be me and stop trying to exacerbate or repress my identity for others.
It’s funny because people have pointed out that i rarely write about personal identity struggles anymore. I used to write long rants about them. At first, i thought maybe it’s because my blog went a bit off the professional deep end. But then i realized that it’s because i’m actually doing AOK with who i am these days. Seeing my friend and hearing from a youth in suburbia is a clear reminder of how lucky i am. And for that i am very thankful on this Spring Solstice Eve.