Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dear Idaho.... Goodbye

Dear Idaho,

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to be blunt: you and I are done. Trust me, this decision did not come without a great deal of careful consideration, heartache and tears. But there comes a point when you can no longer deny that the spark is gone and there’s nothing left to fight for. You and I are at that point. Actually, Idaho, we reached that point long ago. But we continued to try and make it work, and it simply didn’t. I’d like to say it’s not you, it’s me, but the fact is, it is a little bit me... but it's mostly you.

Our love was so beautiful in the beginning, wasn’t it, Idaho? The duplex on the hilltop with the cheap rent, spacious rooms and the deer that slept in the backyard. The fact that I finally got to live in a vacation destination with a multimillion dollar resort instead of a filthy town of gang members and gossips. The gorgeous mountains, the delicious food, Tubbs Hill… I was in heaven. Sure, we had our disagreements, but you were such a delightful combination of small town feel with a big city flair. At least, that’s the way it seemed at 22. I really thought we had a forever kind of love. I fell for you fully and completely.

The friendships soon followed. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to force myself into a group of friends or practically plead to be invited into a circle. I was the circle and I reveled in it. The nights in the limos, the Vegas trips, the partying, the dancing all night long, the laughter, the bonding… I cherished it with my whole heart. I’ll always cherish those memories.

I admit even then something felt a little off. There was the fact that I had a tough time getting a job that appreciated the fact that I was a college graduate and had to work at a bar longer than I should have. There was the fact that the winters were so harsh I could barely make it home for the holidays. There was also the fact that buying a home, which is supposed to feel incredible, never quite sat right. But I ignored the warning signs and tried, still, to love you with my whole heart and be happy. Because that’s what you do, isn’t it? You try to make it work. You try to see the beauty you saw in the first place. I threw myself into loving you even when I lost part of myself doing so.

I think the first time you truly broke my heart was when I went on that sales appointment in 2006 and the first thing the redneck idiot said to me was that he was late meeting me because he was voting “to keep them queers, who should all be killed, from marrying each other.” I had to leave the appointment without even trying to make the sale and nearly vomited, I was so upset.... not necessarily at his stance on the issue (that's simply ignorance), but of his vile hatred.  Later, I was telling the story at a local bar and was told that there was nothing wrong with what the man had said. Apparently that’s just the way it is around here, Idaho, and I was supposed to accept it. Only I couldn’t accept it. I never have and never will.

Then when you refused to give people of a different sexual orientation than you think is acceptable basic human rights, I realized you were a long way from changing. I can accept differences in opinions, Idaho, but when you refuse to give certain groups of people  human rights (when you had no problems letting the Aryan Nation Neo Nazi jackasses parade through your beautiful streets, remember that?), that is what I can’t accept. No other place I’ve been in has been so concerned with what people do behind closed doors, I swear.

Then I began to see past your intense physical beauty…and God, you are gorgeous, Idaho, especially in the summertime and during the holidays when the resort spends so much time and money lighting up downtown… I started to really see the ugliness that surrounds you. Your health insurance options are abysmal. I know, I sold them for two years (and still have a guilty conscious over that). Your people are against programs like welfare and assistance for the poor. Yet if I want to have a child here, even WITH insurance, I have to pay a separate $5,000 deductible plus 30% of the costs, not to mention an extremely hefty monthly premium. Until very recently, I certainly wasn’t poor, Idaho. But I can’t afford that (not with your average wage being far below the national average) and yet would’ve been too “rich” to qualify for your awful excuse for Medicaid here. Idaho, you don’t give a shit about the middle class. You’ve pretty much abolished it and you think people who are poor are that way on purpose. Do you realize how wrong that is? Actually no, you don’t. That’s partially why we’re done.

Speaking of children, don’t think I haven’t noticed atrocities like this and didn’t take this to heart when my maternal urges finally began to kick in recently. Do you have any idea, Idaho, what I would do if my child came home spouting off the crap that your people not only condone but DARE to teach their children? I’d turn your little brats over my knee and spank them myself, and that's if they caught me on a good day. I want to teach my child that we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord your ignorant wretches hide behind and use to justify their hatred. I don’t feel I can do that here.

I don’t mean to come down too hard on all of your people, Idaho. You have some genuinely good souls here who are amazing and I believe will make a difference in this world. I have met some of the best people on Earth here. Unfortunately, their voices are drowned out by the rest of your citizens (for the record I don't hate you like that guy does, he's just funny). I know there are racists, bad drivers, trash and hypocrites all over this country and we all have a little of those traits in us whether we want to admit it or not (I certainly can). I find it tragic that those that live amongst your beautiful hills have the urge to shout their ignorance from the rooftops and make your entire state look bad. I am tired of apologizing when someone looks at my driver’s license. I thought "it" (whatever is up with you) was everywhere, Idaho, but now that I've been everywhere, I can say with great certainty that it's not.

Above all else, you and I have simply outgrown each other. With the exception of a few, those “wonderful friends” I devoted my loyalty to and lived for were more after their own best interests and what I could do for them than forming true friendships. They still see me as I was at 23 and I’m practically 30 (They mean me no harm, but it’s time that I face it… they’ll never allow me to change).. I wish to grow. I’m stale when I’m with you. You make me feel dead inside and I want to live. My preferences in everything have changed since I’ve moved here and you are intent on staying exactly the same. And that’s fine, you make plenty of people very happy and I truly hope you always do. Just not me… not anymore.

But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t someone else. There is. Please don’t be angry... I denied my feelings for years and even defended your honor when faced with opportunities to be there before. But just like the platonic friend you one day wake up and see in a new light, I’ve realized I’m in love and I simply have to be there.

 She’s exciting, she sparkles, she treats me with respect, she likes my ideas, and I don’t have to hide my thoughts and feelings and opinions when I’m with her. In fact, they’re valued instead of “prayed for”. She makes me feel more alive than I have in a long time, Idaho. Even your undeniably stunning Lake Coeur d’alene has got nothing on my precious Alki Beach on a hot summer day. She’s seduced me with her skyline and dazzled me with her opportunities. I do not idolize her the way I once idolized you. I’ve grown past that. She's just a city, after all. But I love her dearly. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize she’s where I need to be, but I can’t change the past.

If only we could have parted months ago, this would have been far more amicable. But recently, Idaho, you’ve made it clear you don’t want me here any more than I want to be here. The signs are everywhere and trust me, I can take the hint. In the meantime, my new love has welcomed me with open arms and has been more kind to me in the week I’ve spent there than the six long years I spent here. I've been called classy, poised, intelligent and sophisticated there, Idaho... when did you ever call me anything but an annoyance?  I will devote myself to her the way I once devoted myself to you and will do so with great pride. I do not wish bad things on you and hope you’ll show me the same respect, but I do hope one day you’ll realize that happiness comes not from judging or ostracizing others, not from ripping them off or mistreating them, but from accepting them just as they are and helping them to better themselves. I will never forget you or the lessons you've taught me and hope one day to look at my time here with a smile.

Best wishes,

Jessica Lee
Proud resident of Seattle, WA  at last 


Laurie Boris said...

(applause, applause, applause)

Stevie said...

What a great post! And welcome to Seattle, we're happy to have you!

JessicaLee said...

Thank you! Stevie, I love your blog... it has made me so excited to be moving to Seattle over the last few months. :)

Stevie said...

Where are you living?

If you're interested, there is a TweetUp on March 31st on Capitol Hill.

JessicaLee said...

OMG, so interested! I'm not exactly sure what my work schedule will be, but if I can, I'll be there for sure. The husband and I got a little apartment in West Seattle in the Alki beach area. Our official move date is Friday... I just broke up with Idaho a little early. ;)

Brian Moon said...

I'm glad you've found a city that deserves you. :)

JessicaLee said...

Thanks Brian! I don't mean to sound like I'm "too good" for Idaho.. if it were a divorce it would be labeled irreconcilable differences. And, obviously, emotional infidelity. ;) I'm also excited to be much closer to your wonderful city!

Brian Moon said...

I considered talking up Portland as a match for you, but thought it might be too soon after your breakup. :-)

gatordad said...

I found Seattle when I was 25. I spent 20 years in and around it and loved it. I married, had a son there and then moved back to The Sunshine State. I love Seattle...and you will fit right in. Good on you!

When you need some vitamin "D" in the winter, Alaska is non-stop from Seattle to Orlando and we will pick you up, care for you and put you back on the plane when you have had enough of us...generally about a week or so. And, we will take you and Russ to The Everglades! Beauty beyond words!

Anonymous said...

In addition to being one of the funniest letters I've read in a while, that F Idaho site link was amazing. Brava, Jess! (Though I still have a soft spot for those beautiful mountains...and I've never even been)!

Cheryl said...

I do believe this is my very 1st post on THIS blog. What an eloquently written letter. Seattle welcomes you with open arms! We are so happy to have you!

Cheryl said...

I do believe this is my 1st comment on THIS blog! What a beautifully eloquent break up letter. Seattle welcomes you with open arms. We are so excited to have you join us!

JessicaLee said...

Larissa, the mountains are beautiful and I will miss our summer hikes through them. There's so much natural beauty here. Cheryl, thank you, I can't wait for many more nights at Divers with you guys! And apparently my family down in Florida will be happy to give me my Vitamin D dose when I need to escape from one beach to another. What a rough life I live. :)

Anonymous said...

This was a beautifully written letter! And an absolutely gorgeous picture of Seattle. I'm glad you're happy with the move-- I bet it's as perfect as Boston ;) I also feared a lot of the things you mentioned about Idaho. I guess you proved some of the stereotypes true :( You are however, an amazing person, well beyond deserving of a beautiful, more fitting place! <3 Best

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