2018 - Ongoing
Austin, Texas, United States
I have spent the past year or so addressing my coming of age. This work reflects my personal narrative of this life stage, as well as the changes in Austin that I see. I confronts the precipice of adulthood, the fallacy of the American Dream, most especially addressing that fallacy as it's experienced in my city, and confronting what we keep and what we leave when we eventually 'grow up'.
These are the things I wish to keep, though I know I can’t. My generation is saying goodbye to its favorite places, the cultural significance and histories of entire neighborhoods; the remnants of our childhoods and the social and physical scapes of the city our parents' generations are an Austin that seems too far gone. Some say that these changes which are overtaking our city, though they harm some, will benefit many. We're not so sure: the changes are certainly capturing us all, though not equally. This trajectory is comparable to my own entry into adulthood, which just as unsettled and dubious, unrelentingly pushing forward. The boom is stretching us thin and wedging and an even deeper divide in a city whose infrastructures are deeply rooted in segregation; the city itself was designed for those who wished for it to be divided: us apart from them. Now, in In my mid-twenties, I am witnessing the effects of Austin’s historical segregation as the historically Black and Latino neighborhoods are being stripped of their cultural identities and values, just as I’m parting ways with my adolescence, watching their physical spaces replaced with novelty. As a native Austinite, I was naive to believe in the myth of the exceptionality of my hometown, a facade which has lent to the extreme popularity of the city: The Live Music Capital of the World, the place built on creatives and music and small-town sentiments. This identity and its catch phrase does not speak for us all, as it is exclusionary of the lived experiences of the majority of its population. Austin must confront its changing identity just as I must confront mine; it must acknowledge who and what it is consciously leaving behind as it grows. The ways in which I understood myself, my friends, Austin, no longer holds true, for better and for worse. We are increasingly separate among the social and physical margins of Austin. This work has been a reflexive exercise, a way for me to understand my own perceptions of myself and the changing scapes around, before I work to research the experiences, needs, and lives of the marginalized peoples of Austin.