A while back, while soliciting ideas for things to write about on this blog, a friend wrote to me on Facebook: “Why don’t you write about why you decided to move?”
This stopped me in my tracks. The main thing that was stopping me was the public nature of this blog, and the desire of my partner, Tom, to not have our plans to move be widely known. He is not content with the decision to relocate, seeing as it will involve change and upheaval and the necessity for him to seek new employment, and he is quite content with his life as it is, here in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts. He does recognize, however, how imperative this move is for me and Lily. (I should note for the uninitiated that although Tom and I don’t share living quarters, we are nonetheless partners, we are married, we are devotedly parenting the same child, and we are in complete agreement that we will not live far away from each other.) He has requested time to absorb the impact of this shift and time to break the news to his mom.
The problem with him needing time to share such news is that asking me to be silent has a big impact on me and my need to write transparently about my own life. And I am realizing that every time people want me to keep secrets about my life, because it involves them in some way, it takes an enormous toll on my spirit. I want to be able to celebrate certain things, even if other people don’t. I want to be freely happy about moving, even if Tom isn’t. I want to be able to voice my enthusiasms, fears, and ambivalence out loud, i.e., in writing, because this is so much a part of how I come to terms with my life. (I hasten to add that I’m not forcing Tom to move. Neither of us ever wants to be in the position of forcing the other. We were in a very difficult space for a while, when it was clear that we were at a stalemate about moving; we did our best to account for the ultimate needs of the three of us as a whole.)
Everything I just wrote was a fierce challenge to write, because the truth is I don’t want my allegiance divided, and I want to live with integrity. I love Tom. I don’t want to wound him or make him feel threatened. I’m not sure anyone outside of our relationship understands what we mean to each other. I know it’s hard for him when I write about him and would probably prefer I left him out of my writings entirely. How am I supposed to write about myself and my life when people who are vastly important to me don’t want to be mentioned? Maybe for some people it would be easy enough to shrug and be silent and accommodate the needs of everyone else instead of their own. All that comes up for me is “Silence = Death” (the slogan about AIDS). That sounds dramatic, I suppose, but for me? It’s true. Silence equals death. I’m not ready to die just yet, and certainly not by silence. I don’t think my loved ones who request my silence are trying to kill me, mind you. I think they are simply afraid. I think they are not fully aware of the price I have to pay, and that I’m broke now—that energy in hiding things needs to go elsewhere.
I guess none of this explains why we’re moving to Minnesota/Wisconsin, but it must be what I needed to write about.
So why are we moving, and why do I keep referencing two states rather than just picking one?
The pragmatic answer has to do with getting needs met, particularly mine and Lily’s. Simply put, I think we have a better chance at getting our needs for community/tribe and regular human interaction met by moving to the area around Minneapolis/St. Paul. This was not an arbitrary choice; there are many other factors that came into consideration, and a bunch of other locations that were investigated. I have been thinking about this and weighing factors for years.
The reason I say Minnesota/Wisconsin is that although we are centering our sights on proximity to the Twin Cities, I think it’s likely that we’ll choose to live just over the border in Wisconsin. We are planning to move in the spring.
Loves, it appears I will have to return to this topic when I have more time to write.