I have spent many hours talking about what I don’t like about you, detailing the ways you make me feel like I have stepped back in time or like I am a unicorn living in a city that cannot make space for me. Yet, I haven’t taken as much time to give you love; to thank you for the beautiful things you have added to my life. When I needed a place to manifest new things in my life, you welcomed me. You have produced daughters and sons who have invited me into their homes and circles, plying me with alcohol, laughs, hugs and fire pits. Daily I see the potential of your beauty manifested in your people; folks who love you fiercely but challenge you to be better. When I walk down your streets, I am reminded of so many of the reasons why I research the things I do. The vacant lots, boarded up windows, and underdevelopment are by design. You, my dear, were set up to fail while the surrounding suburbs were created to be the meccas in which the “good” folks could find refuge. But you have not failed. You have and are producing greatness, even in the face of many stumbling blocks. And for that, I will always be rooting for you. On your streets and in your buildings, my thoughts and hopes have ricocheted what I thought were hollow cries, but you heard me. In you, I have rekindled my love for silence and solitude. Like Santiago I have struggled with figuring out what I want the universe to conspire to make happen. And you have give me the space, the time, and the resources to do that as I have felt and expressed every emotion one feels when you’re on a roller coaster love affair. So, today, I honor you for the beauty you have given me: new friends, new dreams, and new perspectives. Thank you, Memphis, for being part of my life’s journey. Whenever I look around and want to hate you, you send me a small reminder–in a person, in a mural, in a sunset over the Mississippi River, on a dance floor on Beale Street–that there are so many reasons to love you. It is not easy to love you. Sometimes it feels like a struggle to wake up and choose you every day. But you are now a part of me and I a part of you.