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For once in my life I am sitting still, thanks to the pandemic and the lack of funds. No matter the reason, I have felt nailed to the present and sometimes I just don’t like it. I am forced to deal with all the uncomfortable things this chapter of my life has brought my way -- or at least brought to my attention. It has been a time of not always welcome but tremendous growth.
I currently find myself in Nashville, a town that is having an existential crisis itself. Maybe it’s an identity or mid-life crisis. Perhaps it’s all of the above. I found myself here after nearly 20 years on the West Coast (“the best coast”), and it has been quite the adjustment. It’s grey here even in the summertime, and as it turns out I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The mold and pollen counts are through the roof and I have more allergies than Carter’s got pills. The mountains are too far for a day trip and the ocean is not a stone’s throw away. The rock scene feels like it’s still in development and the art walk is just a walk. Do not get me started on dating. 9 out of 10 were drunk.
Nashville is a country-driven town that feels insular and yet too accessible at the same time. I have lived in cities directed by tourism before, but this takes the cake. Just ask Mayor Cooper to show you the exorbitant budget set aside to pay the Convention & Visitors Corp to lure travelers our way when we clearly don’t need any additional help. Research what happened to the cherry trees when we recently hosted the NFL Draft. Better yet, just head down to Broadway to encounter the “Woo Girls” for yourself.
I didn’t just move to Nashville, I moved to East Nashville – a side of town folks in Franklin will call Downtown, and others “the hood.” Most of the visitors over this way look like they just wandered off in the wrong direction of their Airbnb. I chose this area because it was most affordable, and well, I felt good energy from the little house I found. It was the very last house I saw, and the haint blue door with the porthole window charmed me. In the South you’ll find this color on front porches, as it is believed that evil spirits can’t cross this symbol of water.
Besides, I dig diversity. And I love my neighbors. I do loathe the game we play on the East Nashville Facebook page called Gunshots or Fireworks. I’m pretty sure we all do.
Maybe it’s trauma bonding, but there is a sense of community I haven’t really felt anywhere else. I felt it most after the tornado we experienced just a year ago.
I watched as everyone came together to make sure things got cleaned up, the lights got turned back on and that people had their basic needs met. Together we have survived the 6th costliest tornado in the history of the United States, an election, a bombing and a year of no real work and little connection. Let’s pray we get through the COVID pandemic.
The pandemic began just as I started to find my groove here. I ditched the boyfriend that always felt like he was just visiting, and forced myself to truly become part of my city. When I moved to Las Vegas back in 2001, it was before the big housing boom. Roads just ended in the middle of the desert. And as it grew, I felt like I was already part of the fabric, sins and all. Here, unbeknownst to me, I was part of a mass migration.
The first time I plopped down for tacos at the bar over at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge, I had a man 3 beers in tell me I was “part of the problem.” Turns out angry guy was originally from Chicago. You can imagine how I was easily able to embarrass him into an uncharacteristic quiet. It seems the transplants before me that took all it had to offer were still laying claim to whatever Nashville had left. But I hear what he’s saying – too many birds in one tree.
A dear friend was recently tasked with finding a new place to live in Los Angeles. Now we know when I am faced with that, I just move to another state altogether. I gave her all the tips and tricks of finding a place in LA on a budget that I could. I swore up and down it would all work out – after all I once successfully moved cross country in seven days.
How in the world does one do that you ask? I can’t remember all the details as it was a blur it happened so fast. But the best tip I can give you is to get a good moving company like Moving Solutions. Makes all the difference in the world.
This Nashville TN Commercial moving company can help you pack, organize and move everything from point A to B with ease. You don’t want storage bins full of your vinyl record collection to go missing when the moving truck gets held up by the authorities in Texas (true story.)
The other bit of unsolicited advice I can give you is stay. Stay long enough to make best friends in every city in which you’ve lived. Stay long enough that in conversations you accidently call those places home.
I came this way to be closer to my family in Chicago and give the dog a yard – all while living in a music city. Mission accomplished. Now that some time has passed I can turn around and see where the deeper dots connect. If I were anywhere else I may have been complacent. I have been humbled, forced to face some hard truths and work though painful epiphanies. I lost so much this past year but I know in my bones I have everything to gain. I finally gave myself permission to be myself. And this time when I turned around to go back where I last knew home, it hit me that it’s not there. I am home. Home is me.
As Bill Callahan sings, “If you could only stop your heartbeat for one heartbeat.” Then and only then will you know you are already home.
Authors Note: If you want more moving tips, feel free to ask. Trust me, I’ve got them.
If you insist on moving to Nashville, do check out Moving Solutions for commercial moving services for Nashville Metro and surrounding areas. 10% of the proceeds go towards business that have been affected by COVID-19.
During any given summer sunset, you might hear Bill Callahan floating through the air from my neighbor’s turntable on the back porch. In the meantime you can find Too Many Birds here on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/7ydapdmQ4oivP54X29q7Af?si=rVdAg9mQQ9W5cLrf6hvgnw