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.