by: Mar Curran
The reason I never killed myself in my youth was because I knew I’d be with you someday. Those nights I felt my skin constricting around my bones so tight each breath was a burden, each day I felt my body was just a weight anchoring me to the bottom of a dark sea, through each sigh and twist and slap and scream, you were there. You have always been so close, just off in the horizon so I can envision what it must be like to be a part of your life force.
I envisioned a life of late nights with old take out cartons strewn about my artist loft, with short hair, dressed all in black. Sleek and slender, an ambiguous body devoid of sexualized shape. I knew you’d see past each appendage. You could be a harbor in which I learned to relate to my true self, how I relate to people, how I use my body rather than feel used by it. You would be all these things, I knew. I was never wrong.
The reality is a little different now. I am tired from work most days, weary from the emotional scars which are still so pink and fresh, listless after the panic of some mornings sets in and fades. Adult life is expensive and complicated, with relationships overlapping and evolving. You are an ever-present character in the stories of my life, though. Almost every magical moment I have experienced has been within your grasp, because of your vibrance, due to those you hold dear. You are the director, the set, and the chorus of so many of my adventures.
Sometimes I picture my life without you. Would I be just as happy if I left you and moved on? Are there any others that could even compare? What kind of life is laid out for me here? Then I remember how new and awe-inspiring you become to me again every day. Waking up somewhere else and coming back to your embrace is like falling in love all over again; I am once again 18 and your song comes on the radio as I begin my life with you, driving down the expressway with my father early on a Friday morning. Everything is beautiful again. Life is once more full of possibility, as it always will be.
Sweet home Chicago.
I might leave you someday, because we keep our options open. But somehow I know I will always be back, whether it’s for a visit or forever. You are my home, with my chosen family and biological siblings here, the neighborhoods I love, the energy I thrive on. Thank you, Chicago, for always being here when I need you. Its been a good five years.
Mar Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.