Minnesota, it’s time we talked.
We grew up together, you and I. We’ve been through a lot. We’ve been nice to each other, Minnesota nice that is. We tried to overlook one another’s faults. We tried to love one another for who we are. Every time I left you, it gave me comfort to know I could come back to you. And I truly thought I loved you.
But it’s not working. I need a change.
When we were apart for so many years, I guess I idealized what we had. You felt so distant, and I missed you in my life. It was as if there were a border between us, one that left me feeling like I was in a foreign land. When we’d see one another from time to time you seemed unchanged, safe, desirable. And so I came back to you.
What I didn’t realize is that I had changed.
It’s been a wild ride, Minnesota. And we’ve had some laughs.
But it’s also been rough at times.
When I look back at photographs you always seem so perfect, even in your darkest days. And while pictures may be worth a thousand words, there’s so much left unsaid.
Gosh, you are beautiful. On a summer day when the humidity is low, and we can sit on the grass or explore Minnehaha Falls…or on an August night when the lakes up north are like mirrors, and the water is warm.
The way the loons cry when the sun goes down, as the campfire crackles at the cabin. Oh I did love you on those long summer days. I will treasure those memories.
But lately you’ve turned a cold shoulder. You’ve never really opened your arms for me like I thought you would. Occasionally, you’ve iced me out. And you always expected me to change for you, while being unwilling to change yourself.
I’ve tried hard to meet you where you are, but to be honest I’m tired of the emotional and spiritual frostbite.
It’s not you, Minnesota. It’s me.
I feel boxed in. And need some space. You’ve always kept me at a distance, as if with stoic cynicism. I feel the lingering sting of a thousand mosquitos, lasting, itchy insults you’ve hurled at me; the sticky sweat of your summers; the sense of dread that comes when the proverbial trees of our spirit are laid bare. I need to feel warmth and comfort in return for my love and commitment, Minnesota.
I need a life that blooms year-round.
After years of travel and meeting people around the world, I’ve realized that every country is “God’s Country” and most people are as nice, and sometimes even nicer, than Minnesota nice. I want to meet them, Minnesota. I want to know their favorite places and fall in love with them too. You are special, Minnesota. But there are others who are just as special, in different ways.
So I’m asking for a break, Minnesota. I need my time in the sun. I’ve decided to give it a go with an old love, and old flame, a long, slow burn that has endured in my mind. On those nights when you’ve turned an especially cold shoulder, I’ve dreamed of her. And I’ve been seeing her on the side for years now.
Sure, she has her sharp edges and her hot tempers.
But she has a softer side too, and she’s more laid back.
And my goodness, she’s beautiful in ways you can never, ever be.
In places, she is torn open to bone, unafraid to show what’s deep inside.
That vulnerability speaks to me as much as her resilience and tenacity in the face of searing pressures.
She is sunsets and big skies and warm, wet monsoons.
She is mountainous and magical. I’m ready for that, Minnesota. I need that. It fills a void that’s been in my life for too long.
I won’t forget you, Minnesota. And I may be back at some point…it’s hard to quit you. After all, our history is long and you will forever be a part of my life story.
But for now, this is goodbye.
Stay cool. I know you will.
Photos by Charish Badzinski.
Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to her clients.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.