I am notoriously unlucky in love. Any relationship that I’ve had has been similar in sensation to lighting hair on fire strand by strand. Still, nothing compares to the relationship I’ve had with Albuquerque. My six year on and off love affair with this city has been the most trying, bullshit, beautiful, inspiring, terrible, dumpster fire of an experience. But what do you do when the city that you loved with everything you had stopped loving you back?
I’ve known that Burque and I were on the outs for a few years now, but I kept hanging on. I thought that if I changed myself enough, I could get back to how things used to be. Never change yourself for romance because it won’t work. In 2016, Albuquerque finally made its feelings known and until very, very recently I have been drowning trying to pick up the pieces of my life sunken underwater only to see that the pieces I thought were so critical to my happiness had become broken and sharp. I don’t want to hold onto those things anymore. So I started looking for a way out, and because I have more angels than a worthless human like me deserves, I found one.
In August I’m moving to Northern Ireland to live in a little house between the mountains and the sea. I’m going to spend my days drinking hot tea with milk and desperately trying to understand Irish language radio. I’m going to be moody when the sky is moody and wrap myself in jackets and scarves until all that anyone can see is my eyes. I’m going to burrow by the fire and write poetry about how much Albuquerque broke my heart. I will pine for this place. Oh yeah, and I’m going to go to graduate school at Queen’s University of Belfast. The buildings are covered in ivy and made of bricks and look like cathedrals. I’m going to re-read Joyce, Heaney, Wilde, and Yeats in a student lounge area with great lighting and people will want to be my friend because I will seem mysterious and they won’t be able to reference a lifetime of embarrassing stories about me. I’m going to start over, and I’m scared shitless.
Santa Fe raised me. Santa Fe took my youthful pain and gave me mountains and air and family to heal from it. My life in Santa Fe was simple. I had some terrible times there, but when I remember it, I only think of dance parties with my friends and afternoons wasted in Del Charro during the summer and hiking to places where the smell of pine was so thick it made me feel drunk. Santa Fe taught me that I wasn’t an artist who cared about social justice; I was a social justice activist who cared about art. Santa Fe let me turn into an adult in a way that was slow and gentle. Every time I drive north, it feels like I’m finally able to breath out. I wonder all the time about what would have happened if I had never left, but that usually just upsets me, so I don’t do it very often. When I left my little apartment on Fiesta Street, I secret cried for weeks because I kept waking up and not knowing where I was. I still sometimes dream about that apartment and my old job at the park. I loved being in the park so much that I would go after work to just sit on the bench and listen to the sound of yuppies buying shit at Whole Foods (just kidding I listened to wind or whatever, everyone knows Subarus are pretty quiet).
For every amazing person that Albuquerque brought into my life, it brought in three people who seemed determined to make me as miserable as possible. For every wonderful life event that made me feel like I was doing everything right, Albuquerque gave me four events that made me feel like I was trying to go up the down escalator. I believe that I am cursed and that I have been since I was a teenager, but I think the curse doubled down on itself here. It’s been dark for me here. I’ve done my best to hold onto the things that I love, mostly my friends and a handful of trusted taquerias, but I can’t just keep surviving here hoping that someday it will be chill enough just to live. I cannot count the times I have stayed home from a party because I knew that someone who tried to ruin my life would be there. I don’t want that anymore.
I’ve had so much heartbreak in my almost 30 years of life, but nothing compares to what it feels like to have a city break your heart. That is something nearly impossible to fix. Albuquerque doesn’t love me anymore, and I am tired of trying to make that happen again.
I’m off to grad school despite my deep opposition to institutionalized education. To study marketing of all fucking things. I want to steal the tools of marketing and give them to the people. If Nike can make millions of people buy a sneaker, why can’t I use the same tactics to make millions of people become social justice organizers and advocates? Maybe not millions but you get my point. The tools of marketing are not inherently evil; it is how they have been used that harms our communities. So I’m going to steal that shit and do what I want with it. A wise person once told me that if you are offered a seat at the table, bring your ax so you can chop up the table for firewood. I was offered a place at the table for grad school, and the ax of my mind has been sharpening for years. I promise I won’t let you down.
New Mexico is my one true love and the only place I understand, and that understands me. I aim to be extremely New Mexican in everything that I do, and that won’t change just because I have to use weird plastic rainbow money now. I will always love this place, and I owe everything to it. I just need to get out of my toxic relationship with Albuquerque so I can be right for New Mexico again someday in the future. Breaking up is hard to do.
I’ll be using this blog as my processing diary this month as I pack up my life and bounce. I want to do that in a way that feels open rather than just rolling the thoughts around in my head, you know?
Anyway, I made you a playlist of songs that are moving me through this moment. It is more quiet and sad than my usual playlists, but I feel very serious at this time. Maybe you are going through a romantic breakup, or you are falling out of love with your work, or maybe the city you love is grinding you up and spitting you out, and maybe this playlist will give you something you need.