Seattle, I think we need to see other people.

I don’t want to say “it’s not you, it’s me”. Because it is you… and it’s me too. For more than ten years, I never wanted to live anywhere other than here. But recent events have finally convinced me that I need to go.

For years I took your good with the bad, even as the bad gradually mounted. The fringe’s fierce protection of its potential-muting status quo. The influx of bro culture brought forth by Amazon and startups overpaying those bros out of college. The decline of the bus system coupled with the gradual (studies be damned) worsening of city traffic.

The hot air followed by the complete absence of proactive support from this arts ‘community’, the sort of shit I expect from a third rate slacker scene like Vegas or Portland but not from a supposed world class arts scene like Seattle. If anything, you’ve proven that your egos, hubris, catty cliquishness and habitual obsession with your comfort zones will forever prevent you from being world class. Not that you being that was at all important to me, but you getting off that horse would be a great idea given you’re fundamentally incapable of ever getting there.

I like to default to the persuasion that unhappiness with one’s life is not something you can solve cosmetically, by making yourself over, hanging out with a new crowd, changing your job or your home or your city. I’ve seen people close to me and not so close to me try to do it and still end up unhappy because the issues that caused their unhappiness remained within them.

Over the past year or so, I’ve looked in the mirror first and foremost, confronted my mounting unhappiness with the intention and ambition to improve my approach and make it work, to change the person in the mirror before I try changing the world around me.

I’m not sure of the exact moment where it became crystal clear that no matter what I did or could have done, you were in fact the problem. I’m not sure of the exact moment I knew it was over with you, but it wasn’t one or two isolated or otherwise symbolic incidents. It has over the past year become an endless salvo of constant reminders of what you’ve become and how disposable I’ve become to you and everyone here. Literally nothing I could do, nothing I could create or work on, is worth the trouble, the investment, the sacrifices and effort, because it will only fall on deaf ears and averted eyes.

Right now I don’t know exactly where I’m going next, though a few places come distinctly to mind. This, granted, is not the reason I’ve been traveling a lot in the past year. These were not scouting missions, underground dates, job interviews. No, I just wanted to travel, so I did. In fact, some of the places I’m considering are places I didn’t visit. I visited and enjoyed Vancouver, New York City, Philadelphia. But I also have some long unstarted and unfinished business in Chicago (years ago I wanted to practice and perform there but plans fell through and got dropped). Austin’s performance scene has slowly evolved into something relevant. Even supposedly unspectacular arts scenes like Pittsburgh and Minneapolis hold some promise.

It was sad going to shows in NYC, feeling from the seasoned performers a sense of excitement and enthusiasm… and coming back to Seattle and see seasoned performers in shows going through the motions, clearly painting by numbers and doing their usual shit. It didn’t used to be that way. You’ve changed. I can’t sit here and continue dying a slow death with you as the bros and developers consume what’s left of this town’s culture.

So, we’re done. Save me the trouble of talking your shit about how I’m wrong and your paint by numbers shit is exciting and innovative and blah blah, because that’s exactly part of the problem I’m getting at. Innovators let their work speak for itself. It’s a big reason I stopped talking the same shit myself. I’m done talking about what I want to show people instead of giving them what is real.

I’ll work out logistics on packing and getting my shit out of here once I confirm a landing spot. I need to connect with others elsewhere and figure out where I have future prospects as a performer, maybe as a worker, definitely as a human being in a culture whose thoughts, feelings and existence matter enough to those around me to impact their existence. Despite winter weather problems, I’m thinking of a January or February exit.

This is for the best, Seattle. And this is not negotiable.

~Steven Gomez

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