For weeks I have promised to post my goodbye letter to San Francisco, and for weeks I have edited, added, deleted, fussed and mussed over it. It hit me yesterday that I was trying to squeeze all the feels of 8 years into a handful of paragraphs, and its scattered focus wasn’t getting the job done.
So I chose one aspect, based on a single, meaningful photo. Here’s where it took me...
Dear San Francisco,
I left my apartment the same way I first got her: seated on the floor, tears rolling down my cheeks, heart full of hope and gratitude.
In a quiet moment before climbing into our car to head east, I thanked her for being my refuge; from bad dates, jobs, friends. On some days, from myself.
She was my witness for 7 years. A keeper of secrets. A forgiving, sacred space to show up as Trish day after day. A place to happily pad around on a lazy Sunday, or collapse into after a long week.
I admired her magic ability to energetically expand 550 sq feet into so much more, making room for B, a 6ft 3" man who could barely fit under her crooked shower head.
I thanked her for turning 550 sq feet into enough for us. More than enough, really. I thanked her for showing us how much we could really live, even in a small space — for teaching us what is important, and what is just excess.
She held us tight through highs and lows, laughter and tears. In her I found that the brief loss of our connection is what showed me, like a shock of electricity, the absolute worth of us. Within her walls we clawed our way into more joy than we knew was possible.
"I have loved living here", I said. "More than I could possibly tell you now. You saved me 7 years ago, and I will always be grateful to you. Whomever comes to you next is so very lucky. May they find what they need in you, as I have. I will miss you."
B secretly captured this moment for me, and the photo will remain a favorite for a long time.
There are so many favorites when it comes to you, San Francisco. People, places, food (oh gosh, your food!), and adventures. But what strikes me as most valuable about our time together is that staring down everything that was important to me revealed a kind of truth -- humbling, expanding, grounding truth -- which will continue to guide all of my decisions from here on out.
I can’t ever repay you for that gift, sweet city by the Bay. But I can strive to share it with others. (And I think that’s what you'd want, anyway.)
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, there is a section in which she talks about having a “word”, both as people or places. For example, that Rome’s word would be “sex”, New York’s “achieve', and LA’s “succeed”. Eventually, she chooses her favorite Italian expression for her own word, which translates to “let’s cross over”.
Your word is Free, San Francisco. A tad ironic considering you are one pricey lady. But Free to Be, baby. And that is a value which resonates right to my core.
Thanks for being one hell of a healing partner.