Good Cities Project: To Chicago, With Love
A letter-writing collaboration with Good Magazine about my complicated love of Chicago.
My love of Chicago is nothing like yours.
It doesn’t come from knowledge and a perspective of someone who was born and raised here. I come from Peoria, Illinois, which has a love story of its own. This love, the one I speak of, comes from someone who chooses to now call this place home. This place, with all of its beauty and its faults. Embracing all of its messes that I willingly inherit. I love this city with a kind of love that is unexpected, constantly nurtured, frequently tested, and feverishly cultivated. One that embraces the complicated, unapologetic, stubborn, and enduring tangle of it.
My love for this place challenges me to look back while pushing forward. It’s deeply rooted in the nostalgic, pliable, and ephemeral, yet it works tirelessly to acknowledge and find footing in the present and permanent. This love finds purpose in struggle—standing firm on my beliefs, testing comfort zones, and embracing a perspective that evolves through the daily lessons my unconventional, hybrid family teaches me.
I cling to the things I love and try to recognize and see beyond the things I don’t, in hopes that I won’t make a thoughtless decision or say something I can never take back.
I’ll admit that I’ve thought about leaving many times, usually in the wake of...