Counting Down

Hello, dear readers! It is Thursday, and the last Thursday I will wake up in this apartment. Next Wednesday we are packing all our stuff up in a truck and driving to Minnesota, and next Thursday we’re moving into our new apartment!

Related sidebar: there will probably not be a blog next week.

I am a tightly-coiled ball of anxiety this week. I’m struggling to focus on anything aside from the boxes that need filling and the other little administrative tasks that need doing related to the move. But unlike some past instances of anxiety at this level, I’m not totally paralyzed by it, and I haven’t succumbed to the idea that this is just my life now. I know this is temporary, and that I will get through it and come out the other side relatively unscathed. And that’s a nice feeling.

I’m taking all of next week off from work, both to give myself extra time to help my husband finish packing, and to give us the chance to maybe visit a few favorite Chicago spots to say farewell.

It’s weird saying goodbye. I’ve never been great at goodbyes in general, but…I don’t know. Leaving Chicago feels like a big deal. When we moved away from Minnesota to Chicago, it was different – we knew we’d be moving back eventually, and for me at least, there were things in Minnesota I needed distance from. But now returning to Minnesota, while I know that I’ll be back to visit Chicago as often as I can manage it, I don’t know if this will ever end up being a place that I live again. I don’t currently think it’s in the cards, but I guess we’ll find out. Chicago has been a great home for the past 9 years. So many people I love so dearly are here. I made incredible friends. I figured out a lot of what it meant to be Alyx while I was here, and I’m sure that would have been a very different journey without Chicago. I started writing songs again in Chicago, and actually performed them for people – for strangers! I’m sure the next week is going to bring its fair share of tears as we say goodbye to our life here.

At the same time, I’m really excited to be returning to Minnesota. I’m so excited about our new apartment, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic space for us to grow into. There are friends in Minnesota that I’ve missed terribly who will be minutes away now. We’ll hopefully get to be more involved in our nephews’ lives. I’ve already heard from several friends I’d not talked to in a long time who want to reconnect. I think it’s going to be good to be closer to family. While Chicago feels like home to me now, Illinois doesn’t. Minnesota, on the other hand, is home in a sense I can feel in my bones. I noticed it the most when we were driving back from Song School the first year we went. We were swinging through Minnesota on the way home because we’d borrowed my father-in-law’s car for the trip, and the second we crossed the state line into Minnesota, my whole body relaxed, even though logically I knew I was no safer in that part of the state than it had been in South Dakota. I’ve noticed it since then, too, on road trips back to visit family. Minnesota is in my bones, and it’s calling me home.

Like I said, probably no blog next week (unless I’m really on top of things and write it early, but don’t hold your breath). Next time I write, I will officially be in my new place! I hope you’re all continuing to hang in there. Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Fears

Friends, it’s been a week. And while I try to largely focus on the silver lining on this blog, I need to be honest with you – this week, there are several things I’m feeling scared about.

The obvious one, on a US-national politics scale, is that it’s looking likely that Brett Kavanaugh (who’s been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and who is clearly temperamentally unfit for the job) will be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. It’s horrifying. (John Oliver’s take on all this is on point and wonderful. Long, but worth the watch.)

In local-to-me news, two men in my neighborhood were shot in the head with the same weapon over the last few days. One was an older gay man walking his dog around 10am, and the other was an orthodox Jewish man walking near the lake late in the evening. Yes, I live in Chicago, but this feels different from past instances of gun violence in our neighborhood, which have historically been either gang-related or connected to muggings. There’s no telling at this point if these homicides were specific hate crimes or the result of a more generally misanthropic hate, but I admit I’m worried about how gay I might look walking down the street.

The world is often a terrifying place these days. I’m trying to look for bright spots to push back the dark. So here are some happy things that happened this week:

  • We went with friends to see Cameron Esposito on Friday. It was exactly what we all needed.
  • A couple we’re friends with had their baby on Saturday, which has inspired me to knit some baby things. They knit up so quickly!
  • I went to the dentist. This is generally not a happy statement, but it was the first time I’d been since moving to Chicago six years ago. No cavities in these teeth!

I’d love to hear how you’re pushing back the darkness this week, friends. (Or if you’re not, I’d love to know what I can do to sit with you in the dark a while.) Hang in there.