This past Friday the boys and I stood on our street corner. We gathered with other families in the neighborhood—maintaining the proper 6+ feet between us—all waving as the teachers and staff of our elementary school drove by in a mobile pep rally. The line of cars transporting dedicated educators stretched at least half a mile. I found myself affected by the visual representation of the caring environment my boys have the privilege of weekly experiencing. Current teacher, after past teacher, after Specials instructors called out to the boys by name and often with personal comments.
Several other local schools did similar rallies. Reminders to students that the same faces who taught them before Spring Break are the ones teaching them from computer screens during these weeks of remote learning. I know that educators everywhere care about and miss their students.
But, in that moment, it was also a reminder to me of why we moved to Lubbock.
My husband and I had the privilege of growing up in a spectacularly beautiful place. We have friends who still live on hilltops with sweeping views of valleys and the Cascade mountains. Unfortunately, in the years between our childhoods and having our own children it became difficult in that area to make a living and raise a family. So, after careful consideration and not a little angst, we traded the postcard beauty for a place that allows for better family-work integration.
We came to Lubbock because of the emphasis on family, the cost of living, and the proximity to my family who preceded us to this region.
Once here we discovered that sense of community, whether it be statewide in the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, locally in the excitement of Texas Tech’s 2019 basketball victories, or in the uncertainty of CV-19.
We also discovered Lubbock’s optimism and entrepreneurial spirit.
Lubbock has its pros and cons; like any town. And, of course, it is unwise for any community to take itself too seriously. It’s good to laugh at your quirks. Nowhere is perfect.
What makes a place “perfect” has a lot to do with your priorities and your life stage. Any location will require tradeoffs—there really is no such thing as having it all—deciding what you are willing to give up and what you are willing to work harder to maintain or achieve. Maybe if you are lucky and especially strategic, you can have all that is truly important to you. But which location fulfills that criteria is different for everyone.
As a latecomer I’ve become aware that it is common to dump on Lubbock. Especially among some creatives, people here only for a season at Tech, or those who grew up here but aren’t part of the legacy class. There is a snark—not just humor—about the quirks. Discontent dogging. Complaining. They can’t wait to get out, get away, or go back to that prior place.
As a non-native Lubbock business owner I am at a disadvantage. I don’t have that built-in referral network of creatives who are from here. My awkwardness at self-promotion doesn’t help. And, it probably hurts my reputation in certain circles that I don’t hide the fact that we are Texas transplants. I don’t attempt to cover up that obvious truth because it would be disingenuous (not because I think where I’m from is better). But I am also transparent about my origins as a pre-apology and explanation for when I miss a sub context or don’t know something I should.
Nonetheless, our family chose Lubbock. And, having moved a few times in my life I’ve learned—through failure and success—that a place is what you make it. So, this little business supports the Lubbock community when and how it can. I am for elevating our creatives and small businesses; improving and enhancing where there is lack and celebrating what is done well. I partner with and support creative professionals and projects to that end—even co-creating a side hustle around that mission. I love finding and highlighting the beauty and the stories found here, whether original, or transplanted like my own.
We are here for the long haul—we love the people, the slower pace, and the life we’ve created—and don’t expect to move. (Though life has taught us to hold our plans loosely.) Will I book destination weddings? Work outside of the area? Absolutely; because, travel expands my mind and heart and allows me to bring a perspectives, inspiration, and skills home. Not because I think creativity or the “cool weddings” can only be found off the Caprock, away from the South Plains.
Am I limiting my career—my potential influence—by dedicating myself to my home instead chasing the weddings in destination or metropolitan hotspots? Possibly. But, then again, my goal isn’t fame or professional renown. I’m okay with living quiet and investing where I am. To prove that quality and artistry can be created anywhere, they aren’t the purview of the urbane.
I’m for Lubbock. For building this community. For building our family’s life here. I’m not looking over your shoulder, past your wedding for a “better” opportunity in greener pastures.
We chose and continue to choose Lubbock.