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Building communities

Last night I read the next journal. While journal #1 was pretty much 1995 (or 1994 - 1995), journal #2 covers 1995 - 1999, a four year time span with huge gaps missing. It's an unpleasant read. It starts on an up note -- Daryk and I were still together, in love, happy -- and then goes through a monumental pile of crap -- the breakup, my introduction to heroin, my friends robbing me, Bob's death (the death of Bob the first, that is), Stoney's death, and Maggie's death.

But honestly, the most depressing part, for me, is the change in my tone when I moved from Chicago to Pittsburgh.

In Chicago I had a life. Places that I frequented, friends, a job that I dug, and apartment I liked ... and then all of a sudden I'm back in Pittsburgh with none of those things.

It got me to thinking about building communities, about building a life. When I first moved to Chicago, most of my friends were my roommate's friends, hand-me-down friends (sure, we both knew catbirdgirl and holzman at Antioch, but they were really much closer with her). But by the time I met Daryk, I was working at Facets, living on my own, and writing mostly about people I knew from work, or the neighborhood ... my friends, people who cared about me.

Now I've been in Pittsburgh for about 9 years, and it really took me until just two years ago to build a community here. Now I can go out and have that same thing I had in Chicago -- chance meetings with friendly acquaintances, waiters who recognize me at the restaurants I frequent -- that night out with Zocks, I seemed to know at least half of the people at BBT; two weekends ago with unixd0rk, we must've run into a good twenty people that I knew.

It's frustrating. It makes me sadder that I left a good life behind than that I fucked up that life by doing drugs. And it reminds me of something that I've only recently learned -- that it doesn't matter where you are.


Mar. 19th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)
I don't know. I mean, I know that my problems are my problems wherever I go, but... I do think it matters where you are. I was unhappy in Albuquerque, even after I developed a pretty good friend network there. There are some places, like Albuquerque and new York and Los Angeles whose atmospheres I just find oppressive. Now I am living in a midwestern college town with about 35,000 people (including students), and even though the locals are more conservative than I am, and there are not as many cultural amenities as one would find in a bigger city, I have to say that I am quite comfortable in my town, and feel more at ease than I have in years. I especially like going for late-night walks, without worrying about being mugged. I am still working on making friends here, but my level of comfort is still greater than it was in that big, dusty, western city in which I lived for nearly a decade.

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