Lately I’ve been finding myself in conversations with lots of new people and the question always rolls around, “So what brought you to Minneapolis?” I answer the same way every time, “A whim.”
I expand a bit, of course: I had just finished graduate school and didn’t want to stay in New Jersey where I was living. I emailed everyone I knew out here and within in one day I had a place to stay and a temp job so I packed everything I owned into storage, filled a rental car to the roof, and moved. But the full answer (as it always is) is more complex.
I moved out here heartbroken, with virtually no community, knowing nothing about what I was going to do. I was lost, broken. I had just gotten divorced but then had lived with my ex for the whole summer because neither of us could afford to live on our own. Stressful doesn’t even come close to describing it. I was shell shocked and couldn’t even begin to unpack all of the meanness I had endured.
Minneapolis was a safe space for me to land. I barely knew anyone so I was able to figure out who I actually was. I was able to explore and expand myself. I was able to breathe for the first time in what felt like years. I spent the first several years basically just recovering. I kept to myself, I explored my own desires. I read a lot. I slept a lot. I soaked up silence. And as I did all of these things I uncovered parts of myself that I had forgotten. I made new friends. I found a community.
But it wasn’t just coming back to myself, it was also growing up into a new person. A person who sets boundaries, a person who refuses to be in relationships where I am treated cruelly and made to feel less than, a person who is driven and ambitious, a person who believes in himself.
When I moved out here I didn’t think I was worthy of love or very lovable at all. I didn’t think that anyone would want to hire me. I didn’t think that I had much to offer to the world because I had just spent three years in both an institution and a relationship that basically told me as much.
But what I have uncovered within myself is a person who is absolutely worthy of love and who is capable of offering love in return. I am a person who has so much to offer the world and my voice and experience and ideas matter and enrich the people and organizations that I am a part of.
These years in Minneapolis have been healing. I don’t know if I’ll stay here forever. But this place has been healing for me. I’ve met some of the most important people in my life here. I have found myself here.
So yes, I moved here on a whim, but I have grown here with intention.