My Portland(ia)

We’ve been back for two days, I would say home, but I haven’t felt home here for years. I moved to Portland when I was twenty, and I get increasingly sick of this city with every passing year. It was a great city to move to, back in the formative years of adulthood, back before people from all over started moving here with their money, raising the rent of what used to be a fairly affordable city all to get that ‘Portlandia’ experience.

This is only a part of my problem when it comes to this city, money isn’t everything after all, but the biggest part of the pie lies in the now long memory I have of sadness, regret, and most recently the betrayal of an old friendship. In short, I loathe this city, and I want out, but it’s never that simple, is it?

I was in a manageable amount of debt before that most recent betrayal brought with it a hefty bill for my misplaced trust, after that moment, I felt as though I was drowning in the red sea of debt. I’ve since chosen to ignore my fear and push toward a brighter future, to take the pain, the anger, and the money that left with someone who used to mean a great deal to me, and learn from it instead of let it eat at me, but it wasn’t going to be easy.

Having gone to Kansas and Missouri last week to visit my fiancée’s family, I found a world in which I felt–for the first time in a long while–like I belong. I loved every minute, having grown up in the country I loved every sight, every sound, it felt like home. The people were nice, unlike Portland, which I can tell you from experience, while there are some genuinely nice folk around, most of those who seem nice are often silently judging you from behind the veil of a smile for inane shit like your “style” and “taste”. I’ve fallen prey to acting and reacting in kind, you become where you live, but it has never set right with me, this isn’t my world.

This city feels like an open wound, always gushing, never healing. While I’ve grown weary of working nights, I’m glad at times because I can’t stand what this city has become for me, and what it has become outside of myself, a mausoleum for the past. The dream of the nineties may be alive in Portland, but I for one am tired of walking out my door and seeing what was, it makes it hard to live in the present, let alone look forward to a future of any kind. I’m stuck here, a city that is not my home. I avoid telling anyone I’m from Portland because I always get the same reaction, “Oh! I love Portland, how fun is it to live there?!”. It isn’t fun, not anymore, I won’t lie to you, tell you it’s great and that you should move here, because my experience is not one of great adventure, only sadness, watch ‘Portlandia’ if you want the cartoonish hipster tourist idea of what it’s like. 

My reality is different than most people’s will be here, being an empathic person with an eidetic memory for experiences, I both see and hear the ghosts of the past as if they were standing right in front of me at this very moment, feeling exactly what I felt at that time. Leaving for places I have never been, that looked, felt, and smelled like the open country of my youth was a wonderful experience, my ghosts left me for a week, my mind was quiet, and I was able to relax and be happy. Being back, my time in Kansas and Missouri already feels surreal, because the moment I set foot on haunted ground, my ghosts wrapped their arms around me, welcoming me back to purgatory.


16 thoughts on “My Portland(ia)

    • I’m not sure if I’m alone in this or not, but perhaps being an empathetic individual yourself you’ve had a similar experience in which at some point it just becomes too much and you shut off emotionally, going from a normal human being to that of a robot because your empathy chip overloaded and burnt out?

      Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! ^.^

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Powerful piece indeed- vulnerable as well. I feel things deeply as well and am a sponge to every environment. Putting yourself in a bubble of protection helps- just visualize that. It helps me. I am also in a situation/ environment in my life that I do not want to be in but unfortunately cannot just remove myself from it. That bubble helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My Wife is Fromwork portland and has not lived there for ten years. Living in indiana now. Looking into moving back but it’s so expensive. How do people afford to live there? May I ask what’s tying you to portland that’s preventing you from escaping?


    • How people who aren’t rich generally afford living here anymore is by working all the time, it’s getting ridiculous, especially since wages aren’t increasing as rapidly as cost of living.

      As for what is preventing me from escaping, part of it is a large amount of debt I need to pay off first as it’s near impossible to save money with it, and the other part is that my fiancée has a decent job here that she wants to see where it leads, and as much as I want to get the hell out of Dodge, her aspirations mean just as much to me as my own.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: How to write an entire book at night, in the glow of your iPhone’s screen | What Inspires Your Writing?

  4. Have you taken the Myers-Briggs? I’m an INFP. It sounds like you are too lol. Empathy, Empathy, Empathy. The world can get overwhelming because you are so perceptive. Have you ever gotten literally sad for a moment because you realize all the small moments and beautiful details you’ll miss bc you have to make money… or sleep? It’s a different world that’s for sure. Very few people relate to me. But, somehow I can relate to Everyone, no matter how opposite they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can definitely relate to all of that. I’m actually an INFP and an INFJ believe it or not, my judgement and perception are split right down the middle so the tests always tell me I have no preference either way.

      Liked by 1 person

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