It’s good to be home. Home. Oklahoma. Man, it’s great to be here. To say that.
However, for the longest time, I wanted to escape Oklahoma. Run away as far and fast as possible. Has anyone else ever felt this way?
Over the past three years, I searched, applied, and interviewed for every job I could find outside of Oklahoma City. I visited Providence, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, and even Atlanta, with the intention of moving there.
Through some tough conversations, honest feedback and much-needed counsel, I recognized that my desire to move was really just running away from everything hard in my life at that time. This realization was both eye-opening and humbling.
Instead of running at the time, I chose to stay put for a little longer to work through the demons that awaited me in my fair city. I knew that when I ultimately chose to leave, it needed it to be on my terms. For the right reasons.
Running away never solves anything. And in wanting to run away, I had disassociated myself with home. My city.
In fact, I had never felt close to my city. I distinctly remember being at Thunder games seeing the enthusiasm and passion on fans’ faces. Similar scenes awaited me at Riversport Rapids. And Dead Center Film Festival. And the Myriad Gardens. And… And… And… Everywhere I turned proud Oklahomans beamed with pride for their city. So where was mine? What was lacking in me that I couldn’t find pride in and feel at home in OKC?
When I finally left Oklahoma to go overseas last September, I didn’t know if I’d come back. Although I was no longer running away and had made peace with my home, I remained open to living abroad, away from my family and friends.
However, in January that all changed.
Why? I’m not certain. I can’t seem to pinpoint an exact reason or moment in time. Somewhere along my travels, my perspective shifted. Suddenly, I looked at my city and state through a new lens. Much like my life, I began to see all that it offered rather than all it lacked.
Nothing beats a beautiful Oklahoma sunset. Nothing. Trust me, I’ve looked! Or thunderstorms. I love to watch the clouds roll in as the thunder booms in the distance. The mere fact that we have fresh, clean air that doesn’t cloud those sights was something I often took for granted. And let’s not forget the people! Oklahomans know hospitality. The Oklahoma standard is very real.
I became proud of claiming OKC as my home. I LOVED running into foreigners wearing Thunder jerseys and asked my parents to keep me up-to-date on the team’s standings. I told people of how OKC was growing, expanding and evolving. I shared information on streetcars coming to OKC, talked about the Olympic training facilities in the Boathouse District, and laughed as I gently corrected the notion that we still live in the wild, wild west.
Now, I’m home. I’ve been anxiously awaiting my return, eager to claim a space for myself in this vibrant community. Finally, I am here. I want to teach. Speak. Serve. Cultivate my tribe. Stake my claim.
I see OKC with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. It’s vibrant. Alive. Booming. And, I am proud to be here. I finally feel at home.
So readers, tell me – where do you call home and what makes it feel that way?