I'm Leaving San Francisco, But I'm Pretty Sure My Heart Is Coming With Me (Part III)

Updated with some photos!

I don't think it's unique to San Francisco, because I think this is (or could be) true for anyone who's found a place that makes them feel like they can and should and have to be themselves. I don't doubt that for some people, that place is where they grew up. Maybe for some people it's college. Or maybe some find it in a foreign country.

I put myself back together in San Francisco.

If you'll indulge my blogging-as-therapy for a few paragraphs...

I was a happy and confident kid. And then life got bumpy in middle school, bumpier in high school, and was a mess by college (for both me and for my family). Maybe, probably, that's how it goes for everyone.

Or maybe not.

But I suspect we all reach a point where we think WAIT A SECOND. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. HOW DID I GET...HERE?

And that's when you begin the process of putting your first 20, 25, maybe 30 years in context. THIS was good. THIS was bad. THIS was me. THIS was not. Stripping out the falsehoods we learned or tried on or insisted we were. BONK! Wrong.

I got to SF with all these pieces of me, many broken, in an undefined mass. I have been rebuilding since. And what I love so much about San Francisco is that I never felt I was supposed to come out any sort of way. I've never felt pressure to have an office job or to get married and have kids. I've never felt pressure not to.

Perhaps it's not unique to San Francisco, and maybe I would have discovered the same things in Detroit or Aruba or San Antonio. I just think SF was the place I most wanted to be...and so it was the place I needed to be.

About the second week I lived here, I saw a woman on her way to work. She was wearing a black suit with a messenger bag/briefcase slung over her shoulder and had striking silver hair. She was on a scooter, gliding down a hill with her suit whipping in the breeze.

You just do your thing. SF is cool with it.

And so yes. I've done my thing. I've done my Broadway Best, singing my heart out at Martuni's piano bar, when I was the only woman and so had to do all the female parts in our Les Miz medley while standing on a stool before closing the place down (afterward, drunk patrons asked if I'd actually been on Broadway, and while I had to tell them, uh, no?, I've honestly never felt so talented in my life). I've seen the fireworks from the top of the Art Institute. I've only been to Coit Tower once, but that was for my a cappella group's photo shoot for Real Simple Magazine. I've been under the Golden Gate bridge in a wooden fishing boat. I've spent an afternoon in the Beat writers' bar, Vesuvio, next to City Lights Bookstore while scribbling in a notebook and drinking whiskey.

I've worn a LOT of costumes.

I am Cindy Lou Who and Tony is a Christmas Elf. Obviously.

I've been to Halloween in the Castro and the Folsom Street Fair and the Gay Pride parade.

I protested the war.

Sometime, probably October of 2003. I protested often.

I attended a semester of classes at SF State. I've had dinner at the city's top-rated restaurant twice (so far), and eaten the Tamale Lady's tamales at Zeitgeist .

One time at Zeitgeist, a group of naked cyclists showed up. Just because it's San Francisco and after a hard morning of cycling and protesting, even naked bike-riders need beer. The crappy quality of the photo is A) because I took it with my old camera phone and B) I wanted to be surreptitious about it. Didn't want to be RUDE or anything.

I've performed stand-up comedy.

I helped invent the "boobie shot."

I learned to knit.

I've had my butt mentioned in a local newspaper.

I've been a regular with my crazy group of trivia fans at the Edinburgh Castle's trivia night.

An overexposed photo from The First Trivia Night

I've made great friends; some who've moved despite themselves, some who've stayed despite themselves (many, not surprisingly, from the East Coast).

Missy & Dan -- May they one day return to the Bay Area.

Lisa (w/Ish) -- So glad she didn't give up on SF.

I've kissed girls (don't knock it till you've tried it).

El_G with S.O., just after the "new" bar Vertigo had opened. Also overexposed, because apparently that's how I roll.

I've had a bunch of crazy, weird, great jobs.

The 'hos. This was at my going-away happy hour. Perhaps it should be noted that I was working at this company when I started blogging. Since this photo, I still chat regularly with Liz (far left), Francis has had two babies, I'm no longer blond, and (Pink)Jaime remains one of my best friends. Mostly I love that this photo does nothing for anyone but me. Muahahahaha.

I've had my heart broken.

And I've found the love of my life.

Taken by Ish with his camera phone. I love it for its impromtu-ness.

Oh, and me. I found me, too.

The list goes on and on, and I'm grateful it does. It is long and it is more varied than I ever, ever dreamed it would be, back when I wasn't sure I'd even last a year in California.

Me and a martini the size of my head. Not entirely sure where. Really, this could be many, many, many, many places.

And so here it is:

I love living in the city and I have loved living in this city, and I feel full now. Whole. I got my shit together (at least, as much as I could; I am well aware that this is an ongoing process) and that's what I wanted to do here.

The Tamale Lady was just a bonus.

I'm ready for the next adventure. The one with a husband I couldn't be crazier about and a child I can't wait to meet.

I still don't know a damn thing about the furnace and maybe I'll learn and maybe I won't. I won't resent or fear its very existence, however. I won't dread the trips to Home Depot or hate non-city living simply because it is. I may even come to appreciate things like having a driveway, or a front door that doesn't require me to step around a homeless person to get to, or wondering if my upstairs neighbor's rave will end before my alarm clock goes off.

I'm not moving to a house in the suburbs instead of having a life in the city; I'm moving to the suburbs with all the experiences of having had a life in the city. Hoo boy. And that has made all the difference. (Maybe I'll be worthy of head-shaking from the domesticated neighbors who feel bad for my house-owning cluelessness, but I don't care in the least. I bet they never sang at the top of their lungs on a barstool at Martuni's.)

It almost doesn't matter where I go next. I feel confident that wherever it is, it'll feel like home. Because, yes, my husband and child will be there. But so will I be, the whole whole of me.

And for now, Napa seems absolutely lovely.

Our new home.

We move Friday. Not sure there will be much blogging in the meantime, but I added some photos to this post for fun. (Can you tell I've been cleaning up old files?) Please note: If you are not featured in these photos, it is not because I don't love you. It is more likely because I haven't unearthed that particular folder yet.


  1. I'm happy to have been there for some of your seminal San Francisco experiences. I hope you love Napa.

  2. Aww. Well, this comment is the first thing to make me cry re: leaving. These last what? Almost six years? would NOT have been the same without you.

    I'm trying really hard to think of Napa as just the "next"...well, whatever it is.

    I do think I could feel "whole" anywhere, I just LIKE it here a lot.

    Besides, no matter how old and married we are or where in the Bay Area we're living, I don't think boobie shots will ever go out of style. :)

  3. I am only an IIF, and yet, I feel as if I've been part of your search and rescue. Along for the ride, certainly.

    How wonderful it is that, this time, rather than heading off to find your world, you're taking it with you...

    Is there anything better in this life?

    Yay you.

  4. P.S. WHAT in the world is a boobie shot? Please describe.
    And which issue of Real Simple?

  5. Wait. Boob Shots! As in Bob Log III's song off his '03 record Log Bomb "Boob Scotch"?

    Oh that would be so awesome. Please say yes and then tell the story!

  6. I love this series of posts, especially this last one!

  7. love the new house and the bittersweet harmony of this post... one day you'll post about the great life you've had in napa... and a new adventure awaiting you at the next stop in your journey. every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. all good things to you and ish.. and baby krish to be.

  8. *tears up*

    i'll miss you. (eventhoughweneveractuallyseeeachothershutup)

  9. *ahem*

    I believe the Naked Cyclists were honoring my birthday.

    I refuse to believe otherwise.

  10. Personally, I was a pretty miserable kid, thing got better and better until after college, at which point they got a lot worse, fast. And then, better again - like you, divorced, starting again. And I became happy. And now, like you, I'm moving into a new place in my life - newly married, newly pregnant. Sticking with the city for now, but still making huge adjustments. Growth is change, can't have one without the other. It's bittersweet, but the other option is stagnation. Here's to the old and the new!

  11. Kristy I have been reading this blog since you started it and it has been a JOY - a frickin joy reading the journey. I am so happy you came through with shining colors.

  12. That house looks terrifyingly grown-up. :)

  13. whoa! apparently it's been awhile since i've checked in here... so much news to absorb!!

    congrats on the marriage...congrats on the pregnancy...congrats on the new house...!!!

    mostly, congrats on reaching this moment where life feels good and the future feels exciting and legitimately hopeful and you are letting it all in.

    after what you've been through, i know you are appreciating all of this as deeply as humanly possible, in every cell of your body. and that is awesome.

    happy for you!

    (and glad i got to be one of the girls you kissed along the way) :)

  14. Serre - That is perfectly reasonable. So noted.

    SweetOne - SO awesome to hear from you; I hope you're well. I came *this close* to posting a cute pic I have of you and El_G from Vertigo, but talked myself out of it. Perhaps I'll change my mind...

    And regarding the Boobie Shot. It's really quite dumb and basically like any other body shot, but was born out of my finally deciding to stop hating my cleavage and to start celebrating it. I can easily hold a shot glass betwixt them, and, well, you get the picture. I would think.

  15. This was wonderful. I love the whole idea of SF helping you figure yourself out. I love it. Beautifully written.

  16. I remember that night! Much fun. I think I may even remember the photo! (No need to post it though... I kind of like being anonymous.) :)

    So I was thinking, since you're going to have your very own house, you should probably bookmark this website for some time in the future... you know, when you start feeling like the baby and the house aren't giving you quite enough to do:

    (But be careful -- just looking at the website can lead to suddenly finding a *dog* living in your house. I know because it happened to me.)

    I have to say, while I partly can't imagine you not living in SF, if you have to live somewhere else, the wine country makes its own kind of sense. Since there isn't a martini country.

  17. oh oops -- pic's already up! no worries! :)

  18. I totally loved these three posts. I feel like I know exactly what you mean. I have also picked up and moved on and am rebuilding myself.
    Congrats on the next step.

  19. Kristy,

    This was a wonderful post!

    Congratulations on being a home owner. Your new house is beautiful and I can't wait to read posts about how you and Ish watched Jr. take her first steps in your Napa living room...and I hope there will be pictures of the new puppy that the new house is simply crying out for!!

  20. I really am glad for you in that you are in a happy family situation, but have to say that the last photo (your new house) made me really sad.

    It is just so.., well sorta really uncool. It's a natural progression (for some) to leave the city and move to a suburb, but did you have to go with the most boring mid-brow iteration on this theme?

  21. To Anonymous 11:16AM: Who fecking cares if her move is viewed as "uncool" by random people? I bet Kristy sure doesn't. She is doing the right thing for her family. Shit happens, circumstances change, and sometimes the burbs end up being your own personal slice of perfection. Kristy will bring some breezy elegance to the burbs fo sho.

  22. I think the house is great, and I wish you all the best (and good luck with the move! God, I hate moving...)

  23. Such a cute house! I like the white trim on the taupe. Congratulations on your new house and life in Napa!

  24. Wow, the house is just gorgeous - again i'm jealous of your home!

    These were really sweet (and sad!) posts and i wish you the best of luck in the new place in your new neighborhood!

  25. Congratulations! I was sent to this link by a friend who follows your blog. It may just be my PMS, but your post made me teary, in a good way- nice to see someone who knows who they are embrace who they are and where they have been, your child will be very happy to meet you too: )

  26. Hey!!
    I was drawn to your blog because I love your tagline!! Also - My boyfriend lived in San Francisco for awhile and can't wait to get back there:)) Loved reading your blog and found myself reading through old post. I soooo have to get back to doing "work" - I've been sidetracked way too long. I've added a subscription. Look forwards to seeing more.
    Lady Jane

  27. Have to agree. It's pretty dull.

  28. what a lovely post.

    i started reading your blog when you were a single gal experiencing the worst kiss ever. it's amazing to me how much has changed in such a short time.

    thanks for letting us in to experience some of it with you.

  29. What a beautiful tribute to your time in San Francisco. Hope you are enjoying your new place (it is soooo cute!)

  30. you moved to napa....stop being so cool!! it is so annoying for the rest of us...in a we love you kind of way of course....


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