Before I met you, I had lots of stereotypical ideas of what I thought you’d be like. I had lots of stereotypical ideas of what I thought Texas would be like; big hats, big belt buckles and big hair. Coming from a somewhat sheltered life in the west, I’d imagined this is what all of Texas would be like – except for Austin. Austin has a reputation for being artsy, hip and cool. So after my mom and step-dad moved there in 2009, I decided that I, too, would move to Austin to live out my ambitions of having an artsy, bohemian life-style. But, the powers that be had other plans, and an opportunity landed me in Houston, first.
Shortly before I left for Houston, panic set in. What would become of my artsy bohemian life-style were I to be surrounded by all that oil? What about the ranches and country music and people who wear wranglers?
To my surprise, Houston was nothing of the sort. Houston was a multicultural city. The fourth largest city in the U.S. Not everyone wore big belt buckles and ten gallon hats. I did not encounter one head of oversized hair while I lived in Houston. Instead, I got to live in an artsy, walkable neighborhood with brew pubs and independent coffee shops that allowed me to become one with my inner hipster.
I had many first experiences in Houston:
- I started this blog
- I ran my first half marathon:
- I got to watch actors audition for, and film, a pilot sizzler I wrote (nothing came of that one, but that is beside the point, here).
- I gained the courage to work on art again and power through (some of) the self doubt that comes with it.
- I got married.
- I had a baby.
- I learned to see my depression for what it is; a passing feeling, and not who I am. When sadness and self doubt sneak up, I learned I can acknowledge them and invite them out for ice-cream. Oftentimes, they leave before we get to the ice cream, but I eat it anyway because it is a good excuse to eat ice cream and not feel obligated to worry about what it might do to the size of my butt.
Now that we have moved to TN, I find myself succumbing to the same kind of stereotypes about Tennessee; country music, wife beater shirts and MULLETS. What will become of my artsy bohemian lifestyle ambitions, now? This is even worse.
But, dear Houston, you have taught me that I can’t judge what I can make of my life based on physical location. I can still be who I am. I can get myself out there, be sophisticated, and kick butt to the best of my ability. Although I do still struggle with the fear that my efforts will be assaulted by a greasy, Billy Ray Cyrus-type mullet, you have shown me that I can still be me, wherever I am.
If my mullet fear too intense, I will acknowledge it and take it out for ice-cream. Preferably the kind with alcohol in it, which is something that you, Dear Houston, taught me about, too.