Heads up, Internet stalkers, I’m about to reveal a lot about my life that you already know.
First of all, I’m no longer living in New York City. That’s been true since March, when I handed my keys over to my ex-roommate and his subletter (and that’s a tale of woe not fit for the Internet, but proof in my mind that the only thing tougher than moving to New York City is trying to leave, because believe me, she wants to squeeze from your throat every last drop of money she can get) and shipped off to New Haven, and then Chicago.
Why did I move, when I was covering big national issues, an open mayoral race, and homicide for the Wall Street Journal, of all places? Was it because New York was eating my soul alive like a bath of hydrochloric acid—you know, the reason your middle school chemistry class had a shower? Yeah, that’s part of it.
But the bigger reason I moved is because I got a job as a staff reporter for the Chicago Tribune’s free daily, the RedEye. I started in March, and since then I’ve been covering everything from vehicular hijacking to water quality in Lake Michigan, from the war on interns to night club safety.
You can find my work in the RedEye and on the website, and in the Chicago Tribune.
The work is challenging, hilarious, and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. The office culture? Sometimes fun and irreverent, sometimes all-business. And we had a float in the 2013 Pride Parade! Believe me, this is a far cry from the homo/transphobic work environment I was stuck in a year ago today.
And the city? It’s as beautiful as ever, and it feels more like home every day.
Last month I went camping with a big group of Chicagoans I love very much. I came home from the weekend trip floaty and content, telling everyone how joyful it feels to be back.
"But you are staying, right?" one friend asked me when I got back to the city. His question struck me because yes, there was a chance I wasn’t going to stay, but I thought I’d done a good job of hiding my doubts. I was surprised he could tell that I was still struggling to come to terms with my decision, because moving is never easy. Would returning to Chicago be an act akin to waking up from a nightmare, or returning from an epic ordeal, or would it only be an escape from reality?
I’m still not sure which of these scenarios is the true one. But time is up, I have to choose, and I chose you, Chicago. Let’s play the long game together.
Happy Fourth of July!