Preparing To Leave Chicago

Even as I begin to plan out my life in Minneapolis, the idea of actually leaving everyone in Chicago about whom I care so much — and everything continuing on without me — tears at my heart. My emotions are all over the place; I’m constantly on the verge of tears. I started to cry twice on Friday alone while I was out and about. At the same time, it almost doesn’t seem real. This was my last weekend in Chicago; this will be my last week in Chicago, and I just don’t believe it. The idea of simply no longer seeing people I currently see on a regular weekly basis (or even more frequently) is a concept I can’t quite wrap my mind around. Yes, this move need not be forever. Yes, I can still visit. But it’s not the same, and I’ve never been very good at saying goodbye. It’s not so much that I dislike change, but I have real issues letting go of the good things in my life.

For some reason, I never really expected to love Chicago. When I moved to Chicago, I thought it would be a fun experiment — a way to take people’s advice to travel and live in a big(ger) city. I was excited about spending more time with my high school best friend (I hadn’t lived in the same city as her since high school) and getting involved with GenderQueer Chicago, about which I’d read online — but I had no idea I would find a place for myself in Chicago the way I have. Yet I’ve found incredible people, and I want to never leave.

Despite how incredibly difficult it is, emotionally, for me to leave Chicago, I wouldn’t give up my time in Chicago for anything. I am so very grateful that I have had the time I’ve had, that I have met the people I’ve met, and that I’ve become involved with the organizations with which I’ve gotten involved. I’m not the person I was when I moved to Chicago — or perhaps I have simply become more the person I always was. Either way, my experiences in Chicago have shaped who I am. The song “For Good,” from Wicked, has been running through my head continuously: “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

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