Sunday, April 18, 2010
I can't sleep, so I'm at work trying to wind down before trying (again) to fall asleep. Got off work at 6AM, came back for Sunday Brunch (I had the pesto pasta with marinated mushrooms -- fucking delicious) : having a glass of wine (Finca Malbec; it's delicious) : watching the Treme premier because I haven't seen it (neither has the morning bartender, so hey! I feel like every other person in the damned city has seen it, it's about fucking time).
God damn, I really love this city.
I've had some friends recently tell me that I need to seriously consider moving elsewhere to pursue some goals of mine. Drag, promoting, singing, DJing, art, etc. In some ways, I see their point: for most people, living in New Orleans means making a choice. You will never be as successful here as you would somewhere else. You will never make as much money. Unless you can telecommute, are from old money, have a very highly specialized trade skill, or are very lucky, there's a high chance you'll use an upper level college degree working in the service industry. If you do music here, it's unlikely you'll "make it" anywhere else but here (and good luck making a living playing anything but jazz). The city is a warzone, making anything happen academically or socially is next to impossible, and our politics are totally fucked.
But there are things New Orleans can offer that nowhere else can.
You will have music everywhere you go. No one will bat an eyelash if you leave your house in nothing but latex pants, an ace bandage, and enough glitter to make David Bowie blush (trust me, I've done it, and I was living in the St Roch neighborhood at the time). Your backyard is some of the most beautiful urban scenery you'll find anywhere. Street performers on every corner. Art wherever you look. We don't do somber funerals, we do second lines. We dance on our way to work. We treat our neighbors like kin. We say hello when we pass you on the street. We show strangers around town just because we can. We invite you over for a real home cooked New Orleans dinner, with cocktails at the corner bar where everyone treats one another like family. We kiss harder, we dance fiercer, we live life at a pace nowhere else in the world. If New Orleans is your home (and you will know it the second you step foot on this land), you'll feel it in your bones with a certainty that will match nothing else in your life. To quote my dear friend Kalen (roughly, keep in mind it is "late" for me and I haven't slept) in reference to her love for New Orleans and past loves in her life, "I choose New Orleans because it offers me more and breaks my heart less."
This city will break your heart, but it will also teach you to love, and to live, in a way you didn't even know possible.
So when people tell me I need to leave, when they tell me that I have a lot of potential that would be better utilized elsewhere, when they tell me I could take on the world if only I had a larger avenue/difference scene, I inevitably come back to one truth: How could anywhere, no matter how diamond studded, match New Orleans? This city has been my home for as long as I can remember, a wide-eyed child that immediately fell in love. This is a city of fairytales, not the rags-to-riches American fairytale of New York or Los Angeles, but the simple, humble, dirty fable that grows out of old swamp dirt and ghost stories. I can't imagine a payroll ever being more important to me than that.