Last week I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I noticed an article pop up on my newsfeed several times. Eventually I decided to stop scrolling long enough to read the title of the article, Breaking Up With Birmingham. Being the proud Birminghamian that I am, I was intrigued and had no choice but to click and read.
At the beginning of the author's public breakup letter with Birmingham I actually found myself nodding in agreement. I understood where she was coming from. The author, Mollie, is a couple of years older than me, but she and I seem to have a similar background with the city. She was born and raised in Birmingham and seemingly experienced the same boredom with the city that I experienced for most of my teenage years.
We both even cheated on Birmingham.
"Everyone wants something more, something different- especially if you're single, in your twenties, and tethered to nothing in particular. And even more so if you're tired of running into the same people at the same places and getting trapped in the same dead-end jobs. You find yourself itching to be somewhere more exciting, if even for a little while"
These were the words written by Mollie in her breakup letter, but they may as well have come out of my very own mouth only a short time ago. In fact, I'm certain that these exact words did come out of my mouth about five years ago. I was feeling the same emotions. So what did I do? I moved out of Birmingham for the bright lights of New York City.
This is where Mollie and begin to divide. Her move away from Birmingham opened her eyes to other places and spaces she rather be. I, on the other hand, found that it was only after I moved away to "bigger and better things" that I realized how truly unique and amazing Birmingham really is. I realized that I only hated Birmingham because I refused to get out of my suburban neighborhood and venture the twenty minutes downtown to see what the city had to offer. When I came home from New York after a six month stay I found myself in downtown Birmingham more than ever. I spent my evenings and weekends taking in the new breweries in town, the unique and hip concert venues, and the abundance of new restaurants that have recently opened up around town. I found that despite my previous notions about the city, Birmingham had so much to offer. So much, in fact, that even after being back in Birmingham for four years now, I still haven't seen or experienced it all.
So Mollie, while you are parading around California, I am settling into my new home in downtown Birmingham. While you are visiting Washington, Lake Tahoe, and Portland, I am off exploring new places as well. Places like Regions Field, Railroad Park, Iron City, a handful local breweries, and the entire Uptown district. I spend my weekends at concerts I've never seen in venues I've never experienced. I spend my evenings debating whether I would rather dine with Chris Hastings or Frank Stitt. The best part? I know whatever I decide to do on any given day, it won't be more than a ten minute drive from my home. I still find it pretty amazing that all of this is located in my backyard.
I understand why you decided to breakup with Birmingham, Mollie. I really do. In fact, I'm not sure that I would appreciate the beauty of Birmingham if it wasn't for parting ways with the city myself. Getting out of Birmingham was one of the best decision have ever made in my life. Coming home to Birmingham, however, was the best decision.
Mollie, right now you may believe that you can never go home again, but if you change your mind in the future, know that Birmingham would welcome you back with arms wide open. You see, here in Birmingham, we believe in second chances. Thank goodness. Could you imagine if we didn't? Where would this beloved city be today if no one believed in second chances?
Until then, however, feel free to continue thinking of us from Sacramento. We don't even mind the drunken texts from time to time...
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