“I've had a difficult time deciding whether to move away from San Francisco. My parents are here, and I grew up in this neighborhood, and it's been going through a lot of change recently — actually from the late '90s until now. I've always felt like if I leave, everything will go to shit without me — as if I have so much control of what goes on in the world!
“I'm one person. I want to feel like I belong in my hometown and sometimes I don't feel that way. Then I leave and come back and I feel comfortable again — I can dress how I want, run into people I know all the time, hang out with my friends, my parents, my community. But then I also I think there's a lot to be said about pushing yourself to do uncomfortable things, and that's where growth comes in.
“I haven't really moved away, ever. I studied abroad for two years — nine years ago. Ever since I've been back in San Francisco, I've felt like, This is temporary. I'm going to come back, I'm gonna get my shit together and go to school somewhere else. And then I moved into my place and got comfortable, so I've been in my apartment for seven years. Then the housing crisis happened, my dad got evicted, my mom was terrified when her landlord started painting the house — that he was going to sell it.
“It's this constant fear that drives us to stay here, even when I know I don't want to stay here. I love San Francisco and it will always be my home, but I also want to explore new places and discover myself in other places and other situations.
“The only thing that's keeping me here is the fear that if I leave, I can never come back.”