I’ve been holding off on announcing this for a while. Not because I wanted it to be some big surprise for dramatic effect. I held off on announcing this because I’m scared, and saying this publicly makes it real, which makes it more scary.
I’m moving to Atlanta.
It feels weird seeing it on my computer. Makes it feel real, and like I’m finally committing to it, swallowing a pill that’s been sitting in my mouth and getting grubby. It’s time.
For those of you who don’t know, Colorado Springs has been hard for me. Like, really heard, and for like… ever.
It’s the location of the private school that made me feel so alone.
It’s the town where my pastor was not only thrown out of his church but also the state for having an affair with a man.
It’s the city where I gave my early 20s to ministry, and it all burst into flame the second I came out.
It’s the home of my first love and first heartbreak, first hook up and hundredth.
It’s the resting place of my best friend, and five others who just wanted to dance at Club Q.
Over all, it’s where I consistently feel like I have to fight to belong because of the evangelical nature of this place. As a result, I have found that I’ve become mean and reactive, especially since moving back from Korea.
While I don’t shame myself for defending myself and doing what I need to do to feel save, I don’t want to be that person. I want to be kind. I want to be true. I want to show up authentically, and I think authentically means getting away from the pressure that is Colorado Springs.
Being super candid, it’s truly been rough living here, and I hate saying it out loud because I get nervous that the people who I love that live here will feel hurt, that they’ll feel like the memories we’ve made together don’t count, or that I hate all of my time here.
I don’t. In fact, in spite of all the pain, I’m very grateful for Colorado Springs because of the special memories and people that live here. I have been so fortunate to find and cultivate the friendships I’ve found in the shadow of Pikes Peak.
However, ultimately I feel like I can’t breathe, and I’ve been suffocating for some time.
All that said, here’s why I’m scared and haven’t said anything…
A year and a half ago, I finally left. I finally got out. I sold everything and moved across the globe to Korea, daring to begin again, daring to chase dreams, daring to trust God. It felt good and right, like the corset around my chest was finally cut.
But then my best friend died… within weeks of starting over… and I had to come back… to start over again… back in Colorado Springs…
While picking up and moving has been a yearning for so long, the idea now makes me anxious, and I hate that, but it’s true. Because of what happened in Korea, I’m scared of failure. I’m scared that for some reason, what my heart wants is somehow wicked, and I’m being punished for chasing it. As a result, my body tightens up when I think about moving, even though my heart yearns for it. As crazy as it sounds, there’s this internalized belief that I now can’t trust my heart, and that if I chase it, things will turn to ruin.
But in the words of Paulo Coelho, I don’t want to silence my heart for fear. I want to befriend it.
Also, truth be told, I haven’t said too much because I don’t have a crazy plan for Atlanta. It wasn’t this dream of mine or intense premonition. I just recently went there and liked it and found a place to stay, and it’s warm and liberal, and has more queer people, and hopefully I won’t get shot.
And it’s not Colorado Springs.
I truly don’t know what’s in store for me there. I don’t have an amazing plan. I don’t have these crazy dreams. And maybe that’s another reason I haven’t said anything — I’m afraid I’ll look like an idiot who’s making yet another mistake.
But I think I’m trying to be okay with making mistakes and just try.
I’ve been paralyzed for so long at the crossroads of decision that years of my life have flown by, and I’m standing in the same place. I don’t want to be paralyzed anymore, even though there is a panic that any choice may be the wrong choice. Well, if it’s wrong, I’ll try again. And because of the amazing people in my life, I know I can fuck up, and I’ll be okay.
The final reason I’ve been stalling is because a friend once told me that the hardest things in life are not when one thing is good and true and the other thing is bad and false. The hardest things in life are when two things equally true things are at war with each other, and one eventually has to win out.
I have two truths that don’t fit together.
It is true that Colorado Springs is hard for me, and it is true that I am not my best self when I live here.
AND… It is also true that I have some of the best humans in the world here, and I don’t want to say goodbye.
But I think I have to.
To everyone here in Colorado Springs who has helped shape me into who I am today, thank you. I love you. More than you know. It’s because of y’all I’m still here, and I don’t mean that dramatically. I mean that sincerely. You know who you are and what I mean. I truly hope we stay connected because I absolutely hate goodbyes, and I don’t want to lose you. I think it’s been the thought of losing you and losing out on some life with you that has delayed this decision the most. If I could take all my humans and shove them in my pocket and then force them to come with me to Atlanta, I would. But that’s not love or free will or feasible. So instead, for now it’s see you later. Not goodbye. Because I hate goodbyes, and I choose to be optimistic.
Plus, I love the people here too much. I can’t image doing life without them. So maybe, after I’ve breathed and stretched, finding myself away from the pressure, I’ll return.
But that time is not now. Now, it’s time to go.
Logistics: I’m leaving January 31st. I’ll be having an open house on January 27th where people can come to my house and say goodbye. No party or anything. I’ll just be here hanging out and creating space to be with people. Come by whenever suits you. I get off at 3:30 p.m. (Just don’t be that human who randomly shows up at like midnight.)
For keeping in touch, MarcoPolo is the app I’ve used for friends long-distant. It’s easy, and you don’t need to try and make schedules work. Besides, I hate talking on the phone. If MarcoPolo isn’t your jam, you can use any social media platform. I engage best on Instagram.
For my physical address, shoot me a personal message on Instagram. I don’t want that just floating on the internet, but happy to give that to people who are curious, want to send me a sweet card, or who want to randomly surprise me with a visit.
For IRL, I have so many friends in Colorado Springs and my family is still here. I imagine coming back at least once a year. So don’t gaslight yourself into the idea that I’ll never see your beautiful face in person again. You’re fucking stuck with me. Deal with it. Like I said, I have a problem with letting go.
Finally, an aside, my book is coming out May of this year. I’m so excited to get it out to y’all. I’m hoping to do some book readings and tours here in Colorado Springs because so much of what happens in the book happens here. On that note, if you have connections or want me to speak or do a reading, hit me up. I would absolutely love to do that.
Love you all. Know I carry you in my heart. In the words of Snape, “Always.”
Till next time.
7 responses to “I’m moving to Atlanta”
I am sad you are leaving and I will miss you my friend
Same here, Shawn.
Both things can be true. I love you so much Brandon! I am so incredible proud to know you and have been your friend for the last 10+ years. I can’t wait to see where your new adventure takes you. Here’s to making more memories. 🙂
See you soon! 😘
You’re absolutely right. It can simultaneously be time to go, and hard to say goodbye. Best wishes with the process of wrapping up your life in Colorado. Good luck settling into your new home!
So glad you are making a choice for your life and health! Stay in touch! I’ll redownload MacoPolo. I’m also moving, I’m leaving for the UK in 2024. You and I’ll just be an ocean away rather than an ocean and most of the country away. Good luck, be kind to Atlanta and find community as soon as you get there. Run as fast as you can and don’t be to look back to heal but not forget. My friend, you are amazing! I miss you.
Hi! I clicked through to here from an article you wrote and, as a queer-affirming exvangelical in atlanta, I hope you are loving it here! I don’t know you so don’t know what you’re looking for, but Park Ave Baptist Church (despite the name) has a strong exvangelical queer community. If church is triggering, maybe @thekevingarcia on Instagram. Hope this isn’t overstepping and disregard if it doesn’t serve you. I hope the city has been kind and welcoming so far!