What made you want to return to Birmingham?
A few weeks ago someone asked me that question and I realized I didn’t know how to answer it.
This question is not the same as someone asking what brought me back to Birmingham. I know how to answer that.
Unhappy with the lack of opportunity for advancement at my newspaper job, I decided to pursue another career goal of mine: teaching. When my husband discovered that the Alabama School of Fine Arts was hiring an English teacher I jumped at the chance to work at my alma mater.
I can say without exaggeration that the Alabama School of Fine Arts changed my life. I left that school not only with a great education, but also a strong sense of self and the courage and confidence to be true to who I am. I poured my passion for the school onto the pages of my cover letter and within a few weeks I had been interviewed for the job and hired.
I suppose you could say I wanted to return to Birmingham so I could give back to the school that gave so much to me. But when I left Alabama at the age of 22 I had no intentions of ever coming back. And I spent my first year back in Birmingham regretting my decision to return to my hometown.
Why is my water bill so expensive? Why is my rent more than the average house note? Why is Alabama still taxing groceries? Will Birmingham City Schools ever improve? Why does this city still feel so segregated decades after Jim Crow?
Then I found my people.
In my latest post for WBHM I explore my loving yet complicated relationship with Birmingham and how finding my people made my hometown finally feel like home.