I do not affiliate with any political party. The closest I’ve personally been to politics was when I sought a position as Student Government Association Senate at Florida State University; I ran without the help of either two predominate campus parties. But the biggest thing I notice is whenever there is a massive election or news story about my home state of Florida, the former residents shame it. They are at times embarrassed of the state’s votes or actions. While I respect everyone’s opinion, I feel it’s unwarranted.
I sometimes wonder why people move to cities like Los Angeles and New York. In the 2016 election, I noticed something. One of the reasons I think the nation may feel divided is because of certain concentrated areas of the United States with similar-thinking people of the progressive mindset, like LA and NYC. Communities of like-minded people are fantastic, however, why not spread outside of the major cities?
Upon graduating from Florida State’s Film School, I migrated to Los Angeles. That’s what the entertainment industry and colleges expect and encourages you to do. But in reality not everybody is a right match for the city nor do they all need to live there to be successful.
I moved back home to Chicago for a couple of years while getting situated after my Los Angeles attempt. I found that residing in Chicago was great, but it wasn’t for me and ended up moving back to Florida.
Although I sometimes contemplate moving to Texas, I do notice that I can do all the creative things from my home in Florida. When I was in Los Angeles and even Chicago, I did not have the opportunities, I do in my home state. Down here I can focus on my creativity while working at a non-profit during the day. I wasn’t able to do that in metropolitan cities. I was living the struggling artist lifestyle.
Being in my hometown, I can expose more people in my neighborhood with things I learned in the city. I feel like I am impacting my community, if not directly perhaps indirectly. When I attend concerts for music reviews a lot of people will ask me questions about what I am doing. Their questions are in a way impacting them to learn about possibilities within their backyard. When it’s Halloween, I provide my neighborhood with exceedingly creative packs for the children. These are things they are not used to.
When I was a kid my father always told me the old saying “it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.” It took me moving to Los Angeles to figure that out. I went to school with some talented people, and a majority of them are not household names. They may be working for bigger companies, but there are very few that sprouted into their mini empire.
Moving to Florida was a way for me to tap back into my personal values that stemmed from my childhood and early 20s. I did not feel jaded by the big lights, and huge billboards nor feel like I had to act or dress a certain way. I could wear flip flops or yoga mat sandals to work, and it was considered normal. My yoga classes were $20 a month instead of $20 for each workout, and extra funds went straight to my craft and travels. However, the most important part was that I reconnected with people in my life who had been distant before. I connected with people I never spent quality time or just knew as an acquaintance. In 60 days from this article publication, I will be marrying my fiancé who was once just an acquaintance.
Most importantly from this, I learned that it’s okay to live in your hometown. I also learned that if you are going to complain about the actions of your hometown you really should be there to help it. When I started to help out my roots, my home state, I felt that I was helping to bridge the cultural gap. Hopefully, the stigma of living outside of a city is one day eliminated and there is more unity in America. Until then I will continue to live in the Sunshine state and attempt to build a more diverse environment.