Maybe it’s the second vodka-infused peach bellini talking, but tonight I’m making a major, official declaration. Someone call channel 4, because I think everyone will want to know that, as of tonight: I officially don’t hate Oklahoma anymore.
I know, shocking, right? But it occurred to me while I was on the way home from a blogger’s party (yeah, I didn’t know those existed either, but my friend Evie invited me spur of the moment, so I figured, “Sure, why not go to the locally-owned cosmetic store where they’ll serve some hors de’ouvres, give me a free bra-fitting, an eyebrow waxing, and let me mingle with some other local OKC bloggers over an open bar?”).
It was while I was talking with all of these multi-faceted women that I realized that I have now lived in Oklahoma for almost eight years. Eight years!!! After attending 13 different schools and moving back and forth between Texas and California about half a dozen times (and no, my parents were NOT in the military) this is officially the longest I have ever lived in one place. And it was somewhere between talking with the shopping blogger, the food blogger, my fourth potato puff, and that second peach bellini, that I realized that maybe, just maybe, I’m kinda becoming okay with OK. I mean, THESE people are here – throwing things like “blogger parties” and making things like “potato puffs”. I mean, how great are potato puffs?!
I do remember that it was somewhere around our sixth year here that the edge of constantly longing for California, or Italy, or heck, even Arkansas started to not feel so sharp in my gut. A new coffee shop had just opened that made lattes to my satisfaction, and had comfortable enough seats so that I could park myself for some time and just stare and daydream while being somewhere outside of my house. A few new shopping developments popped up that weren’t heinous to look at. Some really decent, non-steakhouse restaurants opened up. And I think we made it pretty big-time when Whole Foods finally opened up a store right here in the city. We’re practically the New York City of the Midwest right now. Well, besides Chicago. And Dallas. And Kansas City. And…well, we’re the New York City of Oklahoma at least.
But it’s more than that. We have a church home for the first time in the history of ever. We have neighbors that make us feel like we’re on the set of Desperate Housewives (without the murder and adultery – we’re pretty much just talking nice people who don’t mind if you park your bike in their yard for the afternoon). We’ve got dear, wonderful friends who are taking our kids for the weekend so we can go to our 10-year-college reunion, and new friends who invite us to things like “blog parties.”
And it’s taken eight years. Eight long, painful, boring years. And in the meantime, I’ve been learning to not run away. Because that’s what it felt like we did when I was growing up. If a place was too boring, or not beautiful enough, or the economy wasn’t great, or everything didn’t just fall into place right away, we moved on. And we moved on and on and on. And to this day, I tell people that my home is a town on the coast of North San Diego County, where I no longer know a single soul and not a single family member has lived there since the day I moved away. My hometown is a place where there is no sign that I was ever there except for an underground drainage pipe where I used to smoke stolen cigarettes and draw rainbows on the cement walls with my crayons – you know, the awkward PG-13 stage between coloring rainbows and stealing cigarettes.
It’s been eight years of me internally chanting to myself, “Only boring people get bored, and you’re NOT boring, so stop being bored!” Eight years of me waiting for European vacations that never come, of the “big job” that will make us move, of drawing my own “perfect cities” on sheets and sheets of graph paper. And all the while, Oklahoma City is growing up around me, gathering to herself other creatives who find food and fashion and design that’s worth blogging about right here in the place I’ve been all along.
Suddenly, I realize that the reason I love to travel so much is because everywhere I go, I like to imagine being home there. Wherever I go, I’m looking for home, except for the place I’m at. Even the place I’m at for eight years.
So I’m sure that there will always be the perpetual gypsy inside of me that wants to simply grab my toothbrush and tell the perky lady at the airport ticket counter to “surprise me” with my destination, but as this city evolves, so do I, and so will this blog. Changes are coming just as soon as I can figure out the back-end of this site, but mostly, the changes are in me. I’m learning the definition of “home” for the first time in my life, and it’s maybe not as boring as I thought it was for so long. It’s maybe kind of OK after all.
Alright, that last line was so cheesy I have to blame it on the peach bellini.
Anywho, these are some of the blogs by the nice people I met tonight. Won’t you check them out with me?:
Evie @ http://evie-s.com/news/
Sarah Gray @ Joyfully Gray