Growing up I felt very alone. An only child to a single mother. I tried everything I could to find a place, a sense of belonging. I found myself very deep into music particularly Punk. I also loved video games, especially very expansive worlds. Games like MMO’s and other long running stories.
I lived maybe one hour from the city of San Francisco. As a child I had maybe gone a handful of times. Few museum trips and maybe a few Giants/49er games.
Until the age of 16, when I got a vehicle and with that vehicle, that lengthy distance to city began to close. It was now so easy for me to pick up my key jump in the car and make a trip to the hustle and bustle, the cool sea breeze of San Francisco. I had friends that had friends with places out there. So I spent much of my late teenage years there for days at a time. I loved it! The city it was different, it felt different as I felt. You could drink in the streets or smoke where you please. Maybe not legally especially as a minor, but the law enforcement had bigger crimes to worry about. A few teens running wild in a small city, that felt so big was the least of their concerns.
It was in this city that I fell in love for the first time. Not only with the city itself but a beautiful women. Long brown hear, big brown eyes and a smile that could melt your heart. The city was so pretty at first with its beautiful skylines, lined so gingerly by the ocean. So much to do always concerts, plays, sporting events even nightly raves. It felt as if you named it, it had it.
So I learned so much in the city. I felt as though the city had taken me in. I felt like I had a home a place that no matter how bad my day, I could go and find something that made me happy. Whether it was wandering taking pictures, eating unique food or just drinking in an alley. It was something I had not experienced prior.
That bliss wore off though.
I learned that a hate was brewing inside me. I started carrying a knife with me always in fear of being attacked. A fear brought on by close calls. Close calls I had experienced; or that I heard/seen my friends go through. I started to look at the people that I was with. How they were living ten to a two bedroom apartment just to pay rent. The semi common occurrence of seeing dead bodies in the street of some other drug addicted homeless person. The excursions and explorations of the cities became less and less desirable. As I got older the crowded streets made me more uneasy, and on edge. My friends were developing personalities and views I did not agree with. Or maybe they always had them and I had changed? I’m not sure, but I know I wanted more, something else. I wanted to get away from these people. This city no longer felt like a home, a safe haven.
I pondered what to do, as it was not or did not seem as easy to just not go to the city. I had built my young life there. At 19 not knowing where to go wanting a change wanting to become an adult, I joined the Air Force Reserve. It got me away, taught me many skills that have set me up for the life I live now. I’m very thankful for the military.
So this is how the city of San Francisco shaped me today. I feel that without my bitter experiences in the city I would never have joined. Without the military I have no idea where I would be today.
This is not really a problem I feel with the city of San Francisco, I think that it is still a truly beautiful and unique city. This is more about the people I came to associate with in the city. These people showed me another side of the city. That side of the city is what changed my life, and helped me find my place.