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Clarkisha Explains: So My Gay Ass Left Tennessee for California. Now What?

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I want to document my journey or my trials and tribulations as a queer person moving from Tennessee to California. But after I meditated on it a little bit, I was like, what else would a weekly column be for if it’s not for hashing these things out in public?

I should probably start off by saying that the move has not been some magic cure-all for my depression or general “stuckness” that I was feeling due to my career. And it was never meant to be. Because thinking that way would imply that CA is some uber-progressive haven that’s gonna wash all my disgruntled feelings and depression away and that’s just not true.

Still, my move has done one solidly good thing since it has happened: It has given me “hope.”

I use hope loosely since I am someone who subscribes to “regression of the mean” and I’m always waiting for the universe to dropkick me in the head when I get too happy.

Still, my hope comes less from “Oh, I moved out west, so all my problems will stop, too” and more from “I left an extremely oppressive environment and I feel very good about it.”

I was born and raised in my home state of TN and although no one likes to take a steaming hot shit on their origins, I am inclined to just because of how much I really only got to live like a third of my actual life in that state—especially when I had to move out east due to rising housing costs and whatnot.

Being Black and queer in East TN is…terrible, quite frankly (like, this is the birthplace of the KKK we’re talking about) and pretty much became the worst™️ after the orange buffoon was elected President by White people.

Living out east and surviving it made it so that my queerness had to be damn right suppressed (which is like impossible) and my Blackness had to be as non-threatening as possible to move in this overwhelmingly white space.

Add that to the fact that TN is firmly a part of the Bible Belt and it was…the opposite of fun.

And there wasn’t really anywhere I could go during off-work hours that combated that. There weren’t really any spaces that fought against that — besides my own home. And like, from what we know about loneliness and queerness, that often wasn’t the greatest combination.

So of course, after like two years of this shit (can you believe I made it that long?), I figured I had to leave or I definitely wouldn’t make it to another year. As dark as that sounds.

And California popped up as the place I wanted to go because of my career but mainly bitch was tired of being a walking zombie version of herself who only got up, ate, went to work, came home, was depressed, had no queer scene to turn to and then repeated that shit all over again.

Still, I’m not sure what I’m expecting this new place to do for me. Part of me is hoping I can make up all of my wasted time suppressing my queerness by jumping into the much more thriving LGBTQIA+ community out here. Another part is also hoping my dating life is resurrected and can move past being used as fodder for funny Tinder story threads. Another part is hoping my career immediately blows up and that maybe I’ll have enough money to one day deal with important shit I’ve been putting off.

Like therapy.

Whatever the case, no one can obviously guarantee these things will happen for me, but whatever’s in store is most certainly better than what I am coming from.

Image via Getty

Tags: Advice
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