About 13 years ago, I made the decision to move to San Francisco, California. I was only 19 years old then--barely an adult, setting out to accomplish this major goal and in turn, say goodbye to the small town life that I came to know in State College, Pennsylvania, the place where I was born and raised. Back then, pretty much nobody knew where State College was and I would always get confused looks when I told people where I came from. But nowadays, post Sandusky Scandal, seemingly the whole World is aware of my origin location.
Prior to moving, my only experience with San Francisco was what I saw while watching episodes of the MTV reality show, The Real World III. I loved that season as it really opened up my eyes to what life could be like somewhere else. In Pennsylvania, I couldn't fathom what it would be like to live in a place where two men could hold hands in public without being beaten up or harassed but I was about to find out.
When I purchased the one-way Greyhound bus ticket to The City, almost immediately, I started having major second thoughts about going through with the relocation. I thought and thought and thought about it while staring at the ticket paperwork and came to the conclusion that it was just too far away and too huge of a concept for me to digest. I felt major fear and uncertainty, started to doubt myself days before my departure...how could I move approximately 2500 miles away from everything I've known up until this point in my life with no family or even a friend there?
During a conversation with my mother, I caved to the pressure and said, "I don't think this is a good idea. I've changed my mind. I'm not going to go now." And she said, "Frankie, no. You have to go. If you don't go, you will never know and you'll always regret not doing it for the rest of your life." More and more thinking and I realized that she was right. I would regret it forever. It was something I had been talking about doing ever since that show aired on MTV. So I left on August 15th, 1999, arrived in the Bay Area about 3 days later and have been living here ever since.