One of my favorite movies to date is The ‘Burbs, starring Tom Hanks, whose short-shorts and shapely legs left a permanent impression on my soul.
But really, The ‘Burbs– though under the guise of a ridiculous comedic misadventure that leads its cast to nowhere- has plenty of legit points scattered throughout its plot. I know, because I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego, California, where shedding the white picket-shackles was something that only a few of us achieved.
For me at least, the ‘burbs represent a wasteland of broken hearts and ideals, where dreams and waking nightmares blurred to form a reality that I had to escape in order to thrive.
I am a walking cliche of a writer, whose self-destructive tendencies were fueled by medicating my way into a grim, depressive funk. I rode that edge for quite some time, desperate to believe that being a hot mess was my identity. I perceived myself as a victim of the world around me, when really, I was too angry and scared to take a deep look within.
Still, growing up, my environment didn’t exactly nurture any budding independent qualities. I was brutally jumped by a gang of racist chicks, ironically at a school named after the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was a gnarly life event for a 13 year old to deal with, and I knew no other way than to let it define my adolescence.
Long story short, I’ve seen and taken part in some shit times. But for some, lucky reason, there was always someone there in the various stages of my life to nurture my greatest talent and the only constant thing I’ve been able to call mine to date, and that is my love for writing and storytelling.
Writing saved my life. At first, it gave me an outlet where I could unleash a fury of emotions, though mostly cloaked in comedic prose. I was laughing on the outside and crying on the inside, like a sad, seedy clown.
The ‘burbs are brimming with broken toys like me; people misled into believing that appearances are everything, and that creating a world filled with substance is a downright waste of time. Instead, we turned to our neighbors and laughed at their differences; gawked at their dramas; and thought nothing wrong of a life based on unresolved pain.
In order to develop as a writer and thinker, I had to keep on movin’. So after many rejections, gigs gained and lost, I finally found my true voice in the East Village of downtown San Diego, inspired by the movers and shakers who laughed in the face of adversity and supported their neighbors.
With 10 years of lifestyle reporting under my belt, I penned my last weekly column for DiscoverSD (a product of The San Diego Union-Tribune) in January of 2016, and left to travel the world with my talented partner, Eric Alan Wixon. After a few months in Japan and a bonus trip to Southern Thailand, we returned to the States later that summer to regroup, create more art, and naturally embark on our next adventure: digging our heels into the Pacific Northwest.
Thank you for reading this developing story.