I recognize that I’ve led a fairly privileged life, and I haven’t really had to make many truly difficult decisions before. I acknowledge that, in the grand scheme of things, the decisions with which I’m faced are fairly small. Still, they feel difficult to me, and deciding whether to move back to Minnesota has felt like the hardest decision I’ve had to make.
Most of the most difficult situations with which I’ve had to deal have had an element of inevitability: I left my theatre group in high school because I graduated; I left my beloved Korean camps because I grew too old; I left Bryn Mawr because I graduated. Even when I came out, I did so because I didn’t want to live my life like that anymore, and I knew that I would need to do so one day. As the Anais Nin quote goes, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I didn’t want to stay in the closet; I was just scared of what would happen.
This, however, is a completely different situation. More than anything, I don’t want to leave TJLP (the Transformative Justice Law Project) and GQC (GenderQueer Chicago). I truly believe in the work TJLP is doing, and I am honored to have worked with the people there. I like who I am when I’m with them, and they help me to become who I want to be. I never expected to find the kind of community I’ve found through GQC. The thought of leaving TJLP and GQC makes my heart ache. I don’t want to leave my friends, new and old. I don’t want to leave Chicago — with all of its people (it’s the third most populous city in the U.S.), its fantastic restaurants, its mostly efficient public transportation, that gorgeous Harold Washington Library Center, and Lake Michigan. I don’t want to leave the communities of which I’ve become a part. I love being a part of trans circles, knowing so many people, being familiar with so much — I love the sense of belonging. It hurts that I have so many amazing opportunities to be involved — I can see myself doing so much in the future — and I won’t be here for them. I’m here for the dreaming and the planning, but I won’t be here for the actualization.
It’s not as though moving to Minneapolis would be bad — quite to the contrary, the Twin Cities have many things to offer to which I am looking forward. My parents, to whom I am very close, live in the suburbs (as does my brother, my only sibling). I have several friends from my high school years who live in the Twin Cities. I will be able to spend time with my two younger (Twin Cities-based) cousins. I could get involved with the Korean adoptee community, a community in which I was quite involved when I was younger. There’s even a UU church I liked a lot. Many of my favorite restaurants are in the Twin Cities metro area — the list goes on. I’m from the Twin Cities; in many ways, it still feels like home.
And I know it’s the right move. As I enter this next stage of my life, I need the stability that the Twin Cities can offer. But that doesn’t make this choice any easier. I’ve been agonizing about this for months — and the fact that, ultimately, it’s my decision and nothing is forcing it just makes it all the more difficult.