(alternate title: Bullish)
A heavy bronze pendant drapes down from my neck; behind the glossy shine of its surface is the Oak tree – the symbol for my town – artistically drawn with its roots extending and its branches reaching, and it feels like a metaphor for me now more than ever. You see, my town is really a city – a bustling breathing lively city which I happen to love deeply, a place that taught me how to grow roots AND grow taller in my life – however it’s been tough love from the beginning. It’s been one of my hardest relationships, me and my city. It wasn’t easy to love – but I never cared. Since day one when I realized every single street sign came with an oak tree on it, I was smitten and hopelessly charmed; I surrendered to my new love with no qualms. It tried its best to eject me like a bucking bull – kicking in fits and spinning me in circles – but I only held tighter. What can I say, I’m stubborn. As all hell. But, the juiciness and slight thug-of-character it takes to survive here has infused my path with wisdom I needed, and given me the (painful) gift of transformation into the woman I needed to become. For the last seven years Oakland has been my home and my teacher and I’ve been grateful – even when all signs pointed to disaster. It’s been my grounding place and my launchpad. It was terrifying at times while also soothing. It could’ve been much easier on me but I couldn’t have loved it more. This is my home, my Oakland. So I wear this pendant like a proud warrior with her medallion: remembering the courage it took to get this far, while also honoring the source of the challenge.
I 💗 Oakland.