Quick update, 'cause there's a lot happening that should probably be recorded.
So, here's September, in a very small nutshell that's probably leaving out a lot:
I went home! I spent a glorious day and a half in lovely Northampton with the fam before heading to a weekend conference. I got a fantastic massage from my masseuse, paid for in part with gift certificates from my friend-mom's café. (i really wish i had a title for her. friend doesn't work, but surrogate mom is awkward, and i'm not sure what's in between.) It was really, really wonderful.
The weekend conference I went to was the amazing Women & Power conference at the Omega Women's Institute in Rhinebeck, NY.
The theme was "connecting across the generations," and I met some absolutely incredible people. One of my roommates there, Nina, is a freelance writer for WireTap. I met Katie, a 17-year-old high school senior from outside Boston. She started her own nonprofit when she was 14. No, really. Now 501(c)3 official and has spread across the country and everything. Minga is a completely youth-run nonprofit that empowers other youth to take action against the child sex trade. Ann from Feministing and I had a bonding moment over midwestern feminists. (There weren't many of us there. And we're kind of amazing.)
There were so many other incredible people there, I can't even begin to explain. Feministing live-blogged the whole thing, which was great. And we really did connect across the generations. Sure, there were problems. There was a serious lack of queer representation, for one. But it was great, and amazing, and on and on and on.
AND Omega is absolutely beautiful. Mmm.
My heart broke a little bit when the fam drove me to the airport on Monday afternoon. It breaks a little bit every time I leave my beloved valley next to the Berkshires. And then it melted when my 5-year-old little bro wouldn't let me go to get through security. And when he reached for his mama's wallet so he could "use all your money so jen can stay."
Broken, melty heart all over the place. What a mess.
Two days after I got back to KC, I left again, this time for Denver. First was a training for work -- we're switching data management to the VAN, which my inner geek couldn't be happier about. And then I stayed in Denver for the rest of the weekend with my friend. I spent the day wandering around downtown, we went to a show, I met & kissed a cute girl, we went to brunch, we hiked Red Rocks, and it was wonderful. As Denver always is.
And I decided that I'm 95% sure that Denver will be the next stop on this journey. (Always leave 5% of certainty to unexpected twists of fate.) Possibly, this will be soon. My beloved employer, like most employers and most nonprofits, is having a rough time, financially. The future of my position in the organization is no longer sure, and is currently only funded through a grant that will end soon. I could stay here in Kansas City if I lose my job. A friend offered to help me get a job at the used bookstore chain he manages -- which, to be honest, is a pretty close second to the work I'm so passionate about doing now. I could stay here and volunteer at what would then be my former employer and make my money slinging coffee and selling books.
But I would have to want to stay in Kansas City.
And, to be honest?
It's not that there aren't amazing people here -- there absolutely are. I'm amazed and in love with a lot of the incredible, wonderful people I've met here. And some of them will hopefully stay in my life after I leave.
And it's not that I'm unhappy -- I absolutely love my work. I love the politics of these red states. I love the challenge of finding common ground. I love that it's not east coast politics, and not everyone thinks alike. I love the political champions I've met, and I'm impressed by their willingness to stand up, even in the face of the secret hotbed of crazy that is Missouri and the sometimes-violence that is Kansas.
But the place doesn't feel right.
I didn't know that place could have such a profound impact. Or maybe I did, but I thought maybe if you carried "home" and love with you, place wouldn't be a big deal. There's just something about Kansas City that doesn't fit with me, with who I am. Maybe it's the energy. I think it has a lot to do with the flatness. I grew up in the foothills of the Alleghenies and found home in the foothills of the Berkshires. There's beauty in the flatness, but it just doesn't feel right. I couldn't settle down here. I've learned and am learning so much, and I've grown and am growing so much. But I'm almost ready to go, to move on to the next thing.
Denver, though. Denver feels right. For one: mountains. Serious mountains. The Rockies don't mess around. For another: the feel of the city. The energy of it. It fits.
I mean, look at this place. It looks like a postcard, but I swear, this is real. I took it with my own camera and saw it with my own two eyes.