i don’t want any town that would have me as a resident

i am trying to catch up on my mail. i was just wrapping up a response to a letter i received back in august (!!!) when i ran out of typewriter ribbon. i thought i had a few in reserve, but i guess not. or maybe they have been stashed somewhere & forgotten. & i’m sorry but i just can’t handwrite letters. i handwrite my journal & my daily log & that’s it. just doing that makes my arthritis flare up. so now i have to wait until i have new typewriter ribbon in hand, & of course there’s nowhere to buy it in lawrence. i asked at the little independent office supply store downtown & they were really uncomfortable. they were like, “um, no one really uses typewriters anymore…” well, i do! all the time! they said they could order ribbon for me, but i can order it for myself. the point of going to a store is to buy something that is already in stock.

this is just one more reason (of a gazillion billion) to be homesick for boston. i used to buy all my typewriter ribbon at bob slate stationers, an independent office supply store in harvard square. that’s also where i bought my notebooks (moleskines for journal, a five-year diary with a lock for my daily log, tiny little flip notebooks for to-do lists), envelopes, pens (black fine tip stylists), markers, stamp pads, colored pencils, scissors, rubber cement, staplers, staple removers, wite-out, etc etc etc. i stopped into that place on a near-daily basis. now i have to special order my pens & typewriter ribbon because i can’t find them in lawrence, & i pretty much just make do with what i already have for everything else. i buy envelopes at the kind of shitty/creepy indie office supply place here.

i started crying the other night & told jared that i hate living in lawrence. maybe i was just having a bad day, maybe i really do hate it here. there’s not really anything wrong with this town. it just doesn’t feel like home. i’ve lived here for two & a half years but i still don’t really feel like i live here. i know that doesn’t make much sense.

by the time i’d been in boston for two & a half years, here are some of the things that had happened:
* moved out of my first collective house & started a new one from scratch
* got divorced
* became an aunt
* attended the birth of my best friend’s first son
* started the boston skillshare
* started my zine distro
* got on disability
* dealt with my dad’s totally unexpected sudden death
* joined the boston radical cheerleaders
* tried (& failed) to start a feminist art collective
* joined a reproductive health collective

here’s some of the stuff that has happened since moving to lawrence:
* finally found a nice house after a series of craptacular apartments
* decided to start trying to get pregnant
* closed the zine distro
* had an epic falling out with someone that has impacted all of my other non-school-related relationships in the area
* got involved with the feminist book club
* observed while hollaback lawrence crashed & burned
* spent a summer living in philadelphia
* spent a summer completely alone
* started going to bingo & water aerobics

i mean, i guess it’s not all bad, but it just doesn’t feel as satisfying as my flawed memory remembers my time in boston feeling. i’m sure i was completely miserable in boston & i probably have the old journals to back this up. i’m sure i am romanticizing how great things were because i am nostalgic for being young & idealistic & relatively energetic. i know that a lot of this stuff fucking sucked. the girls in the reproductive health collective pulled some shenanigans that made me feel beyond shitty. the skillshare was always a huge bundle of stress, & my involvement with that project culminated in some seriously fucked up betrayal. my tight friendship with my friend who had the baby was over by the time that baby was a year old. the boston radical cheerleaders fizzled within a couple of months of my joining the squad, & had never been that active to begin with. & i did a ton of other stuff in boston over the next five years before i left (volunteering for the lucy parsons center & the zine library, learning to play the accordion, living in other collective houses, etc). sometimes those experiences were amazing, sometimes they fucking sucked. mostly, by the end, they fucking sucked & i was miserable, which is why i was so fucking stoked to move away when the opportunity arose.

it’s just hard to marshal the necessary energy & excitement to start over in a new place. especially after almost ten years making your mark someplace else. especially when you’re in your thirties & you just want to start relaxing & living life at a slower pace, with a lot less drama & bullshit. especially when you’re coming from a city, where you became accustomed to a certain degree of anonymity even if you’re walking around with hot pink hair & knuckle tattoos, & you’re moving to a small college town.

i still haven’t gotten used to the idea that i am not completely anonymous in lawrence. i went to the local coffeeshop last week to pick up a bag of coffee. while the barista was grinding it for me, i realized i’d left my pocketbook at home. i explained the situation & was going to offer to run home & grab it–i live just three blocks away. but he waved me off & said, “just take it. you’ll be back. you’re a regular. you come in every week for a pound of espresso. pay me next time.” i took the coffee (& returned the next day with cash in hand), but…i’m a regular? what if i don’t want to be a regular? i’d almost rather start buying tins of bustelo from the grocery store than be, you know, that lady. who comes in every week. with the yellow pocketbook & knuckle tattoos. & asks for a pound of espresso, ground for espresso. ugh.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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