Sunday, November 16, 2014


            That really, really sucked.  In fact, much, much more so than I'd anticipated.
            For those who may be reading who don't know me live and in person— and my stats insist that some folks in Germany and Russia just keep on trucking, so hello there — I just moved.  I had planned to write a big, long, self-important essay on personal transformation, and the necessity of occasionally injecting severe discomfort into one's life, and especially on the importance of women being financially self-sufficient.  I was going to write about how big of a deal it is to me to finally be living away from where I was born, raised, and have spent all of my 34 years on this earth.  I was going to write about the direction(s) I want to take in terms of both "career" (i.e., that awful thing capitalism forces me into) and writing (the thing I keep trying to cut away from capitalism, though I'm sure ineffectually).
            Specifically, I moved from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon.  Which, if you know the area, you probably realize isn't all that impressive.  But wait!  I would have moved somewhere more impressive if I could have found somewhere else that had absolutely everything I insisted on:
  • midwifery school
  • solid doula community
  • friendly (enough) relationship between natural birth and medical communities
  • artsy-friendly
  • craploads of yoga studios and options
  • queer-friendly  (I'm about as un-queer as they come myself, but my patience with homophobia and its ilk have deteriorated rapidly as I've aged.)
  • politically left
  • great massage school
  • decent community colleges that won't charge me an arm and a leg for being from out of state
I wasn't really being all that open-minded, was I?  This is perhaps a bit specific.  And of course it begs the question:  why leave Seattle?  Seattle has all of these things, in even greater abundance than Portland.

            Well, that was going to be my post.  Why leave Seattle?  Lots of reasons!  Let me tell you some!


            Instead, the move went less than smoothly.  First, I didn't check before I left — because who knew that an upper-class, over-educated white girl could ever NOT be able to find housing???? — but Portland's housing market is, to put it politely, fucked.  The vacancy rates are incredibly low, and the prices have skyrocketed so quickly that you can now rent a modern box/studio with that neon accent shit that developers love so much right now FOR $1500.  For your viewing pleasure, it will be lodged  (bizarrely) between beautiful, 100-year-old houses that were vacated by the black families we just forced out of the neighborhood.  Thank you, Dwell magazine, for your loathsome influence.  You have successfully convinced rich white people that their homes are a fashionable expression of their innate quirkiness and good taste.  Of themselves.  Also, you're damn good at whispering "simplicity," a gentle sigh of relief now that the heavy shackles of income restriction and human-centered architecture have been removed.  You're so good, no one notices that your rooms are actually designed for suicide.
            But the housing market really is bad in Portland.  Places were going within hours of being posted online.  I kept calling one place after another, minutes after it was posted, only to hear, "Yeah, sorry, I've already got three people in front of you."  Places were consistently being rented sight-unseen, which I couldn't bring myself to do.  And some of the really tiny, crappy places that I could have barely afforded just made me angry; I couldn't stomach $900 a month on a 290 sq. ft. studio, on the ground floor of a loud street.  And 99% of what I found that was genuinely affordable was, at minimum, a 45-minute walk from the nearest grocery store.  I don't have a car, so that freaked me out.
            So, if you thought Portland was the land of starving artists, it might be.  But these days they're starving for very different reasons than they were ten years ago.
            It got way worse, though I'd rather not go into the gory details; I talked to enough folks who were recent transplants to know my experiences were not isolated.  Suffice to say, I moved here officially at the end of August, but I will only be moving into my long-term place at the end of this month.
            But then — Glory be!  Stability!! — things should calm down.  I've obviously never been a really frequent poster, and my writing process insists on staying as slow as it ever was.  Also, I'm working on certification as both a birth and postpartum doula, as well as working full time, so I've got a lot on my plate.  Still, I look forward to getting back to philosophy and poetry once the dust has settled, and hopefully some posts on women's bodies, pregnancy, and childbirth will be forthcoming as well.  Lord knows I've got to do something with all the Heidegger and Ina May rattling around in my head.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, whoever first said "careful what you ask for..." with knowing smile on their face, should get punched.