I've been reflecting, a lot lately, on my St. Louis journey.
How I allowed it to change me, what parts of me went to sleep that need to be reawaken.
After being born and raised in Cali, moving to STL was culture shock! ... it's exactly what I wanted at the time. Being in Cali too long can cloud your vision of reality. I didn't realize, until after I left, what a bubble STL is. You lose perspective on the world... and all that matters is STL.
It's hard to break through the the shells people wear to protect themselves; my sistas, so plentiful and so beautiful, can be so tense and mistrusting of others.
Not to say this is only an STL thing.. I suspect most cities with a huge black population have that certain tension in the air.
Circles are tight... almost impenetrable. Networking with folks in other cities, unless Chicago, or Memphis, seems rare.
I'm so glad to be home in Cali for the next couple of years... a place where strangers smile at one another, people come from the four corners of the Earth - so you can't help but learn new languages, be exposed to different cultures, and have friends of several different ethnic backgrounds, without it being weird.
Being in Cali opens up your soul in some ways.
There are outdoor festivals every week... amazing concerts on random days of the week.. medical marijuana dispensaries .. steel drummers offering free concerts at the Beach constantly.
And after my soul spent 4 years gradually closing to protect myself from the ills of STL, it's so different, and a bit scary, to feel it opening back up like a lotus flower.
I've maintained very few relationships with folks from STL.. the ones I've held onto are gems & I expect us to be in some contact with eachother for as long as the universe allows; they are people I trust, who are open-minded and fearless. People who have goals and can see beyond what is RIGHT in front of them.
....pretty random thought, and I'm sure there will be more reflections to come. The further away from my Midwest experience I get, the more perspective on it I have.