Tag Archives: oakland

Roots and Wings

My Dear City, I write this love letter to you:

A starry-eyed girl I was when I came
full of intrigue, aspirations, and lust –
but you ate me alive as you challenged my soul
and slowly devoured my trust.

It was sin to give in though
so I stayed with resolve,
determined to find why I came;
meanwhile, I fell in love with your secrets –
then stayed for the love of the game.

You bit and you chewed
then you swallowed me whole
but from inside you seemed to be glowing;
I suffered and starved as you fed and I died –
but never did it stop me from knowing –

There was a purpose for me here
(I knew I would find it)
though when, how, or what stayed unclear –
so I trudged through the mud, mostly blind,
and at times
fell face-first – but now I am here …

On the other side, eight years later, I stand
so grateful for lessons I’ve learned;
I’m honored to be blessed with the perspective you gave
and the changes for which I had yearned.

Oakland, I Love You – I won’t forget
how I made you my nest all these years;
you nurtured my roots, my wings, and my mind
and forced me to conquer my fears.

To my city, my Love, it’s now our time
to part ways and say our goodbyes;
from you I emerge a new woman and take
all the strength that I gained in disguise.
.
.

✨mandy

 > my heart💗is in oak <

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When It Was

It already makes me feel old to say I remember the world before instagram or hashtags, or even facebook (let alone the internet), even though I’ve spent the majority of my life so far without instagram or twitter or facebook, and even the internet – which makes me feel like Gandalf in this sentence. But I had the privilege of growing up in the 80’s/90’s as the last generation who remembers a world glorious as this one, where we managed one self and that was our physical one. To make things more horrifying, most of these things didn’t even exist seven years ago in 2008 (no instagram or twitter, no hashtags, and facebook was still in infantile stages and mostly for crazy social outcasts who didn’t have a myspace account); this is how the world was just seven short years and an eternity ago.  This was the distant past – when I picked up my life and moved it from Redwood trees to Raider Nation – when I began what I called “the city chapter” and found myself stumbling into a strange future.

I find myself longing these days, often, for a life before this time when we didnt carry the world in our pockets; where if we woke up alone, we were actually alone until we chose to make contact with the world – instead of reaching for a portal on the nightstand where the world impatiently begs our response; where there wasnt a separate identity hiding in the palm of everyone’s hand, a separate self needing to be managed; where I could disappear for a day without communication and not set loved ones into crisis mode. And here I go feeling old again, already – longing for good ol’ days.

How the world has changed in just seven years. And how strange it is.

Oakland, CA

(alternate title: Bullish)

A heavy bronze pendant drapes down from my neck; behind the glossy shine of its surface is the Oak tree – the symbol for my town – artistically drawn with its roots extending and its branches reaching, and it feels like a metaphor for me now more than ever. You see, my town is really a city – a bustling breathing lively city which I happen to love deeply, a place that taught me how to grow roots AND grow taller in my life – however it’s been tough love from the beginning. It’s been one of my hardest relationships, me and my city. It wasn’t easy to love – but I never cared. Since day one when I realized every single street sign came with an oak tree on it, I was smitten and hopelessly charmed; I surrendered to my new love with no qualms. It tried its best to eject me like a bucking bull – kicking in fits and spinning me in circles – but I only held tighter. What can I say, I’m stubborn. As all hell. But, the juiciness and slight thug-of-character it takes to survive here has infused my path with wisdom I needed, and given me the (painful) gift of transformation into the woman I needed to become. For the last seven years Oakland has been my home and my teacher and I’ve been grateful – even when all signs pointed to disaster. It’s been my grounding place and my launchpad. It was terrifying at times while also soothing. It could’ve been much easier on me but I couldn’t have loved it more. This is my home, my Oakland. So I wear this pendant like a proud warrior with her medallion: remembering the courage it took to get this far, while also honoring the source of the challenge.
I 💗 Oakland. 
🌳