Kansas City Created Me

Recently I’ve realized that my days in left in KC are numbered — this is essentially a love letter to the city that raised me.

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Kansas City Created Me

by Margaux Renee, Editor-in-Chief

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     I remember my mom telling me to be on the lookout for a 202-area code. Ironically, I was watching The West Wing when it happened. I was sitting in the living room with my mom, my older sister and my boyfriend, eating homemade tacos in front of the T.V. My phone had barely begun to ring before I grabbed it, as if by reflex. (202) area code: Washington, DC.

    “Holy—”I can’t say this in the Dart, but for those who know me, please feel free to fill in. I sprinted to my room, practically flying above the ground, flailed through the frame and slammed the door behind me—all while balancing the weight of my ringing phone on the palm of my hand like an existential hot potato.  

    “Hello?!” “Hi Margaux, I’m calling from American University…” I stopped listening because that was all I needed to hear; I had gotten into my dream school. Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but the truth is that this moment was accompanied by a wave of sadness. My dreams were coming true but in a matter of seconds, I realized something: I have to leave Kansas City.

     I normally use my column opportunities on the Dart for biting, political rants but something about the prospect of getting on a plane and waving goodbye to my hometown is causing me to spit up a clustered mess of multi-claused, overly-emotional sentences, (like this one) so, please brace yourselves, because that is exactly what this will be.

     Every Kansas Citian’s favorite pass time is bashing Kansas City. Why is it 17 degrees right now but forecasted to be 75 tomorrow? Why did I pop three of my tires on a Ward Parkway pothole? How come the closest thing to nightlife in this city is a congregation of middle schoolers standing outside Cinemark Palace at the Plaza?   

        Though these complaints come from a place of humor, the reality behind them is that growing up in Kansas City gets old. KC often feels stuck in limbo between the character and particularity of America’s coasts and at the same time, awkwardly straddles the status of small town and full-fledged city. As a city, we’re a national afterthought at best, defined solely by barbeque and the Chiefs, located smack-dab in the middle of nowhere.

        All these reasons make it quite easy to complain and incessantly rail about how eager I am to leave. But the idea that this town is just one quick moment in my life, the principal objective of which being to “make it out,” is absurd when met with the reality that on August 17th I’m moving 1,120 miles away. I’m moving 1,120 miles away from Southwest Boulevard Mexican food, from Loose Park and from sweltering summer nights at First Fridays.

        This would not be a Margaux Renee opinion piece if I didn’t make at least one polarizing claim. I think the Kansas City complaining is an act. I would even venture to say that we all know this deep down. We all know that Kansas Citians care for one another like close family friends. We can all feel that Kansas City is teeming with artistic, musical, academic and athletic talent, even if we’re overlooked on the national stage. Finally, we all know that growing up in this city marks you for the rest of your life. In other words, growing up in KC is a personality trait.

        So, with that Kansas City, I must thank you for teaching me hard work and humility. I must thank you for the world-class education I received at Académie Lafayette and St. Teresa’s Academy. I must thank you for confronting me with the reality of injustice. I must thank you for filling me with passion, grit, Midwestern courtesy and a sense of humor. Ultimately, Kansas City, I must thank you for myself, for without you, I wouldn’t be me.

           

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