Mistakes and other buildings that look like City Hall Plaza
As I was looking through some old writing of mine, I was thinking about how I use Boston as a character in writing so much of what I do and how I feel, and I was trying to figure out how I feel about this quirk of mine. It can be kind of cheesy I guess, and it can seem a bit dramatic, but for myself and anyone who is close to me, it just really makes sense. It seems that every time something big happens in my life, or anytime I put some deep thought into my experiences in life thus far, there's Boston - someway, somehow - whether it's the city itself, the people in it, or the future I think that it holds. Being someone that is not from Boston, and is therefore not a true Bostonian, I can get a little self conscious about this, and I sometimes fear that true Bostonians will take offense to my love affair with their city. I get nervous that they won't see my relationship for what it really is, and what Boston really means to me; I am not a fair weather fan, in any aspect, and sometimes I think that I can appreciate Boston in a way that only an outsider can, as someone who chose to be here and continues to consciously make that choice. Who knows, really, but I thought this would make a good preface for what is sure to be another cheesy, dramatic, but from the bottom of my heart blog about a girl and the city that she loves.
I did a lot of Boston things this weekend.
Friday afternoon Matty took me to The Fish Pier in Southie - driving me in and out the long way so that I could see the things that I love to look at - the D Street Projects, the bar that Whitey Bulger owned, all those people and places that give Southie the character and reputation that fills the books I can't stop pouring over. I watched Gone Baby Gone and Good Will Hunting. I took a trip to both the North and the South shores - smiling at the skyline as I returned from both directions. And of course, it all got me thinking.
Boston is a beautiful city - for architecture and landscape there's the Prudential building, the Hancock Tower, a million old churches, schools and bars; cemeteries, parks and the Arboretum; there are 4 fantastic pro sport teams and a load of high school and college level champions; there are more smart people than anywhere else in the country; we have gay marriage and the Kennedy's...really Boston has so many truly wonderful things about it. Yep, just like me - Boston has a lot of positive things to offer. I'm pretty nice, and pretty smart, I care a whole lot about others and try to spend as much time as possible doing nice things for others - through my career, my volunteering, and the relationships that I have, I am dependable and honest, and incredibly passionate about life and all that it has to offer. I have a strong faith, a deep sense of empathy, and the drive to continuously be the best I can be. Me and Boston, we're pretty great.
The other thing about me and Boston, is that we have some pretty dark skeletons in our closets. Boston's homicide rate is nothing to be proud of, and is made even more shameful when you see that nearly all of these murders happen in the same square mile. Boston has a history of race relations that continue to haunt the city, not just in it's overlooked neighborhoods but in politics, sports, and everyday interactions. Sometimes the news is filled more with stories about young kids shooting each other and politicians ripping people off than it is about the beloved Red Sox or the great things being done at Harvard Medical School. For all it's greatness, Boston definitely has its flaws. Yep, just like me - Boston has some negative aspects too. I come from a family that has hurt and scarred me, I come from a relationship that nearly left me for dead; I have a history of actions and reactions that are flat out ugly; and, despite all of my best efforts then and now, I have hurt people, and worse, I have hurt people that I love. I have been selfish, I have been out of control, I have lied, I have said things that I cannot take back. Just like my beautiful, wonderful city, I have made mistakes, and because of these mistakes, I have caused pain and feelings that are less than desirable on the people that I spend my life trying to protect. Me and Boston, we've done some fucked up shit.
So as I lay in bed this weekend, looking out through broken glass over the skyline that has brought me so much joy and love, I had to ask "okay Boston, what do we do to fix this". And like always, my city had the answer. We apologize and take responsibility for our mistakes; we listen to others when they wish to express how an action we took made them feel; we never, ever stop trying to be better; we never, ever take for granted what we have and how quickly that could be taken away; and we always, always take a good look around and really, truly appreciate everything we have, before we start obsessing over what we don't have, because chances are, the haves will constantly out weigh the have-nots. Me and Boston, we're going to keep moving forward and keep getting better, and we're going to continue to make people as happy as they possibly can be that we're here, because I know I could never stop being thankful that Boston and all it has brought me are here.