Over the last month, my life has been permeated by contrasting gendered assumptions about my intentions, artistic and otherwise. Either I am an ignorant ingenue ("silly girl, didn't she realize she should've asked for permission before using words from other people's plays?") or conniving villainess ("cease and desist from a major publisher right after opening night? what a sneaky and corrupt PR move!"). What is missing from these assumptions is to explore the option that I am neither ignorant nor conniving, but an incredibly intentional woman who researches all options well in advance and then makes bold decisions about what direction to head based on said research. Sure, I'm a little rebellious at times, and I'm not afraid of making people incredibly uncomfortable if it means a clearer image of truth and expression. But what's contemporary performance if not to provide us an opportunity to feel discomfort and adjust accordingly?
And so with the timing of my move to Los Angeles (just three weeks after the Seattle run of That'swhatshesaid) came less volatile but similar responses. "Doesn't she realize how fake/crappy/smoggy/vapid LA is?" vs. "Now that her show was successful she's turning her back on Seattle and leaving the community-- lame!"
Oh, ye assumption-makers: I've been pondering this move for a year, and if Seattle does not consider itself a member of a much larger artistic community outside of geographic habitat, then that's a whole other blog entry to write.
In February of 2015 I visited New York with the intention of scouting for a future move. I had a great time-- even in the snow and freezing temperatures-- but returned to Seattle feeling slightly less than full. A few weeks after the New York trip, I took a quick weekend getaway to LA-- initially planned as nothing more than sunny relief from the dreary Seattle winter. During that LA visit, I began to understand that there are places in the world where people live where it is nice weather ALL THE TIME. I had been to LA before, and mediterranean climates before, but for some reason the reality of it being an option to move there didn't fully click until it was juxtaposed with the frigid New York winter.
There are folks who live in Seattle who legitimately love the rain. Like, people who feel as energized and motivated as I do in the sun, but with rain instead of sun. People like that belong in Seattle and it is most certainly the perfect and healthiest place for them to live. While I don't mind a spot of rainfall here and there, I do mind not seeing the sky for nine months out of the year. Trying to justify the self-torture of constant almost year-round grey with "But summers are so gorgeous!" starts to wear off after seven years.
And, as countless news articles will inform you, the Seattle culture has dramatically transformed in recent years due to unregulated growth, aided mainly by the thriving tech industry. Living in a city is a relationship. And when your gay neighborhood becomes the gay-bashing neighborhood, you know it's time to DTMFA and move on.
I didn't solidify my LA move date until Fall of 2015. It was a difficult time of year that caused me to question my choices and where I was at in my life. Was I where I wanted to be? Was I doing everything in my power and control to be the happiest and most-fulfilled version of self? What difficult decisions needed to be made in order to both challenge and liberate my artistic expression?
As an adult who does not have the luxury of relying on anyone else for financial support, it is nothing less than terrifying to up and move to a new city for no reason other than "I just want to." I don't have a job yet, which is fucking scary. I only know a handful of people who live here. I'm in a temporary rental that runs out April 1st. All my favorite clothes and books are sitting in a storage unit 1,1100 miles north. I feel displaced and uncertain and hopeful.
Ironically, it's already rained twice since I got here (less than a week ago). This morning at about 6:30, I was woken up by a tremendous storm of lightning, thunder, and hail. Now, at noon, my window is open, the sun is shining in, and there is a palm tree outside waving slightly in the breeze. There is no guarantee this will work out. I'm not fearless-- fear is very present right now, I just choose to continue on anyway.