I’ve been back in Oregon for just under two months. In that time, I’ve made a trip back to NYC for work and in both cities, many people ask many of the same questions. When I moved to NYC 13 years ago, I couldn’t stop talking about it. For some reason, I haven’t wanted to talk about this move at all. I don’t know why. Everyone’s curiosity is so kind and I receive it as such, but I just find that I simply don’t want to talk about my move.
Maybe it’s because there were a lot of feelings about my move. I had people get angry and resentful that I left. I had one person end our friendship because they thought I should “always be there” and resented that I moved away. My last few months in NYC were exhausting between holding the feelings others had about my leaving, to managing my own feelings about my leaving, to actually doing all the things one has to do in order to friggin’ LEAVE.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve not reached out to many of my old friends. Part of it is that where I live there isn’t reliable mass-transit and we only have one car. I’m also still traveling a lot so it’s hard to make plans when it seems like I’m on a plane every other day. And it’s also that I’ve not wanted to recap the last thirteen years–why I moved to NYC to do theater and didn’t. How most of my time was spent Covening and corralling Witches, which is a vulnerable thing to explain. Will they understand? Will they smile and nod? Will they walk away shaking their heads, thinking I wasted an opportunity?
At the same time, I get the desire to know. I hear of people moving and I want to know, too–where they’re going, why, etc.So, to satiate curiosity I’ve pasted a bunch of answers to some of the questions a lot of folks have had. Again, I do appreciate the care and curiosity, but to take some of the awkward off me, I’ve answered a bunch of the FAQs I’ve had since being here, below:
Why did you move?
New York is expensive and exhausting. Ten years ago, I was at art shows almost every night and doing incredible stuff. I don’t do that anymore. My life had become work, writing, Tarot, and yoga. My husband and I weren’t interested in navigating the subway, the crowds, and the costs of enjoying “all that New York had to offer.” Many nights, I’d come home so exhausted from just being alive in NYC that my creative ability was seriously low. I think my readings were starting to suffer as well.
We wanted to buy a house (which we did! Closed last week!) and it wasn’t going to happen in the city. We chose Oregon for the cost of living, the job market for my husband, and proximity to the cutest niece and nephew in the history of the world.
Where are you living?
At the moment, we’re in Newberg, which is about an hour from Portland, but we’re moving to McMinnville on Thursday. Wine country!!!
Is it serious culture shock?
Mostly no–except for the first day. We woke up and there was no milk for coffee and no bodega on the corner. Getting milk required getting into our car and driving to the massive supermarket two miles away. Aside from that, no. I grew up here. Also, one thing people don’t realize about NYC is that it’s really a collection of small towns. Particularly if you live in a neighborhood like we did, Inwood, you start to know everyone pretty quickly from the grocery clerks to the homeless people.
Is it just like that show ‘Portlandia’?
Yes. And never mention that again.
What are you doing for work?
I’m still with my NYC company, working remotely.
Are you still doing readings?
I am! Because I work East Coast hours, I am still keeping a regular reading schedule for my East Coast clients.
Will you be running a Coven or teach classes in Oregon?
I am holding off on regular classes through the summer so Husband and I can get settled in our new home. Come this fall, I may do something around here, but I’m not ready, yet.
As for leading a Coven, I’m really unsure. For the last year, I’ve struggled with some serious Magickal and leadership burnout. I stopped attending public circles because I couldn’t feel anything. It was like trying to eat a favorite ice cream and realizing it had no flavor. It made me sad.
When my fires were feeling as low as they ever had been, I still had to keep going as transitioning out of Coven and community leadership is extremely demanding. It’s not about delegating tasks. I could delegate all day until I was purple with polka dots. It’s the withdrawal of the energy which I’d tapped into for nine years and which had tapped into me. When I gave up caffeine (because it was fueling me, but also draining me), I was exhausted every day until I could tap back into my own energy. Obviously, I have some growing to do around sustaining myself, etc. etc. etc. before I can think about another one.
And what are you doing out there, besides work?
I’m writing! A lot! I have free time, now. I have no commute, which is fabulous. But even if I did, there simply seems to be more hours in the day outside of NYC. People in Portland complain about how bad traffic has gotten and yes, it’s gotten worse since I’ve left. BUT IT’S NOTHING COMPARED TO NYC. AT. ALL.
Do you miss NYC?
I miss the people, but I don’t miss the needs for living.
Will you ever come back?
Not to live. That chapter is closed. But I’m actually getting to NYC about once a month these days. In fact…..
I’m teaching a class on the Celtic Cross on Thursday, May 25th at Soul Journey in Butler, NJ! If you’re around, please join me! Registration and further information available at this link.