Nine years ago this month I moved from my beloved Lawrence, Kansas to Owensboro, Kentucky. I did not find that an easy move.
A year later, I moved to Muncie, Indiana. That move was also rough, and I recall seeking out some psychotherapy to help me with adjusting to yet another new city, and to the lack of friends. I think my adjustment to Muncie took over a year until I really felt settled.
How is it that my move to Saint Louis, a move that took place just four weeks ago, has been so free of anguish and so settled in mind and spirit?
I can think of several reasons.
I know in the quietest corner of my heart that I’ve moved to the right place – job, neighborhood, choral group, all of the elements that make up a life – for me at this point in my life. I know that early enough that I didn’t take any of the other interviews that were offered to me.
I have a ready group of new friends in the Gateway Men’s Chorus. That group was a later addition to my new life in Saint Louis, but one wouldn’t know that from the way many of these singers have quickly become close acquaintances, and even friends.
Perhaps most importantly, this move to Saint Louis is the first I’ve made where I am totally out and open and a gay man in advance of moving to town. In both Owensboro and Muncie, I stayed under the radar for a while until I knew what the town’s comfort level was. As it turned out, I never did come out in Owensboro, although many assumed. I took a while in Muncie too, since I was uncertain about the university’s tolerance in the promotion and tenure process.
I must say that moving to town and being completely unconcerned about how others may view me is a freeing and affirming experience!
On another topic, 47 years ago to day my mother gorged on Black Diamond watermelon. I was born hours later. The family joke is that, at my birth on July 17, I had watermelon juice running in my veins. I’ll find some watermelon tomorrow as I celebrate my birthday.