Goldilocks, Dorothy, and other women who have to deal with lions and tigers and bears.

I have been offered three ways to leave Buffalo. All three are extremely kind. All three give pause. I could stay with my dad in California, but have serious issues with my dad. I could stay with my cousin in Seattle, but have already tried living in that area like eight hundred times. I could stay with Mr. Hotness’s family, but would probably be a burden, would have to find a sitter for my bunny, and would come back in a month or two to start over again.

Like Goldilocks, I keep trying the porridge, moving from plate to plate, waiting for an option that is hot enough, comfortable enough, big enough, just right.

Meanwhile here I am growing more and more depressed. If one measures depression on a scale of one to ten, ten being hospital-time and one being Strawberry Shortcake-happy, I slid from a four to a three on Saturday morning and have stayed there since. It’s not a good place to be. It’s a place where smiling seems illogical and unnecessary, free will a fantasy, choice futile, and sticky buns big enough to feed a football team an ideal serving for one.

The question is no longer, “why am I still in Buffalo,” but, “why am I still in Buffalo?” Phrased more articulately, I have options now- so why aren’t I taking any of them?

I am frustrated or hurt that I lived here for a year and no one is going to stop me from leaving, that the effort I put into my job, the friends I’ve made, the men who saw me in my new black heels the other night, for gawsh sakes, were just things that happened. My lifestyle and quality of life has not substantially changed in the past twelve months. I got here in December feeling this way, and even after the porch parties and the “tough talks,” I feel this way now.

Buffalo is my Oz, a weird place a tornado threw me into. I met this cool Tin Man, and Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion. I found some sexy red shoes. I lost my temper with a wizard. And I did learn a thing or two.

But instead of kissing the Scarecrow goodbye and climbing into one of these three hot air balloons headed back to Kansas, I’m sitting here moping because Oz didn’t work out.

Maybe it isn’t about which hot air balloon is right- maybe it’s just about getting on any one of them. Maybe it’s about letting go.

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