It’s obvious that I’m so in love with Texas, and Dallas in particular. (I recently wrote about my obsession with Texas here). This is my home, this is everything familiar. I love the big open sky and the way the dirt smells when it gets hot and the amount of restaurant options I have at every meal. I even love the Dallas North Tollway (I have yet to fall in love with its traffic, though).
But at the same time that I love Dallas, I am falling deeply in love with Nashville. It’s inspiring and friendly and green. I miss the cool restaurants and coffee shops and the way everything crawls with college students. The city is full of life. When I finished my finals two weeks ago, I wasn’t ready to come home for the summer. It really freaked me out to feel that way, because I’ve been planning to move back to Dallas post-graduation. Imagine my surprise when my heart started telling me that it wanted to stay in Tennessee instead.
So I’m in a dilemma. I love two such different places at the same time. Can I be “at home” in both Dallas and Nashville, or will I eventually have to pick one? When I asked myself this question, I remembered a certain famous book that I don’t want to read again for a very long time.
Have you read The Great Gatsby? I’m sure you have. I had to study the book again this year, and while I was (obviously) annoyed to do that, my professor raised an interesting question that’s been haunting me: Is it possible that Daisy could love both Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby? Her actions say that it is possible, but this causes an internal conflict for the readers. We’ve been taught– whether by culture or religion– that loving two people at the same time is impossible and maybe even morally reprehensible. “There is only one person who can be your true love,” said every Disney movie ever. Obviously Daisy believes that traditional paradigm, too, and makes her ultimate decision. I won’t spoil the end on the off-chance that you didn’t actually read this book when your junior English teacher assigned it. Shame on you.
Not that Gatsby is the greatest book to be gleaning advice from, but I think we are hard on Daisy when she was in the middle of making a very hard and messy decision. As she learned, when you have two equally good options to choose from, you can only have both for a little while. You eventually have to make the hard decision to pick one over the other. And that’s hard to hear.
For me, choosing to leave Texas for college was probably a good indication of what decision I will ultimately make. Dallas may be where my roots are, but Nashville is where I want my branches to grow. It’s as simple as this: I love who I am there. I’m not making any promises, since many things could change in the next couple of years, but I’m open to a new license plate.
Now I understand, and it’s time to leave the woods.