Sometimes I miss Seattle. Well, bits of it. I miss my old posse. I've fallen out of touch with most of them, but they're never far from my mind. I miss the dive bars (The Viking! The People's Pub! Al's!); the way the city is saturated in music and book stores; the lush, dense parks populated by ferns and mushrooms; the plant life bursting forth from every conceivable space; those two and a half months of summer when the weather is perfect and there are festivals every weekend; the way you can't lob a Doc Marten without hitting a great restaurant.
I wish I could miss all of Seattle and not just bits of it. I wish I could see it the way others see it, idolize and romanticize it, love it the way it deserves to be loved -- and I say that with total sincerity. It is a beautiful green jewel nestled between misty mountains and cold, dark water; an intellectual, progressive Mecca; the epicenter of so many exciting things. Unfortunately, I can't think of Seattle without experiencing negative feelings. It will always stir up regret, embarrassment, sadness, anger. It is forever inextricably linked to icky memories: awkward, painful teenage years when priorities were completely out of whack, potential was squandered, and the only sport I lettered in was Making an Ass of Myself on a Daily Basis; the college years, which were more about getting through classes without speaking or, you know, being visible than actually experiencing anything or interacting with anyone; the years after graduation where I stagnated in bad jobs and ill-fitting relationships...
Perhaps you think I'm looking at the past through puke-colored glasses, but I recently went through my old diaries from high school and college and they confirmed that I was indeed a miserable little shit for a huge chunk of the time I lived in Seattle. Maybe I should cut myself a little slack. You're supposed to be kind of a dumbass when you're young, right? After all, that is how we learn and grow. But asking me not to dwell on mistakes of the past is like asking me not to breathe. I still relive awkward conversations from ten years ago and cringe as though they happened yesterday.
Alas, there will always be a dark cloud present when I think of Seattle, and I'm not talking about the shitty weather. I will not be able to adore it wholeheartedly until I am able to envision it without a lesser version of myself staring back. But for all the emotional muck it dredges up, I am grateful for my time in Seattle -- first for the friends that I made, and second because if things hadn't gotten so crappy for me there, I never would have moved back to Colorado, where I've gotten a major life do-over.
By the way, that sport I lettered in in high school, Making an Ass of Myself on a Daily Basis? When it comes to that, I've gone f***king pro.