Your Unsolicited Advice is the Devil

advice-word-10085354My husband and I are pretty certain we are moving our family to Chicago this spring. We are grown ass adults. We came to this decision after much deliberation. We have done and are doing our research. We are the last folks on the Earth to make a move from Cali to Chi-town haphazardly. While I have reached out to folks for advice, experiential words of wisdom, and potential “do’s and don’ts” to help supplement our lack of knowledge of the State of Illinois, I have not asked anyone to counsel us on whether we should go.Therefore, unsolicited advice is not just unnecessary. It is the devil.

I got into the University of Chicago to study race politics with some of the world’s most accomplished thinkers and teachers. I am beyond honored by this opportunity. And, I am blessed enough to have a husband who supports me unconditionally. Our parents are moderately on-board. They have mixed emotions, but they trust us. Yet, I have received a slew of unwanted, precipitous “advice” from a range of unrelated folks. There are the “oh, I’ve been there before. You don’t want to go there like EVER” people. And, the “I lived there for a while, I wouldn’t recommend it” folks. And, my favorite bunch, the “why would you ever want to leave California for Chicago of all places?” clan. Let me explain what is wrong with these people before you start thinking that I just have a problem listening to other folks.

First, we are two young adults who have lived our entire lives in California. We have both traveled (Daren more than me) but never taken up residence anywhere outside of our birth state. We are looking for something new, and frankly, Orange County hasn’t been that great to us (hence my previous articulation of the difficulty I experience as a black mother amongst few others). As level-headed, planning, deliberate adults, I would like to think our friends and family can trust us with this kind of decision. We have done okay thus far. Lean back on the controlling behavior.

Second, we, shockingly, are not asking anyone’s permission to leave the confines of the State of California. Last I checked, we left the tutelage of our parents over a decade ago. We cleave to one another. We don’t need anyone’s approval. While we would love it if folks were excited for us, we don’t need that to validate us. It’s funny how folks expect to have free reign over their own lives (as they can visit the icicle island known as Chicago but we shouldn’t), but they want control of ours too.  Truthfully, we aren’t here for that. We also aren’t here for letting other folks experience life for us and then letting us know if it’s okay for us to proceed. No life regurgitation here please.

Lastly, we have got to do what is best for our family. Right now, that’s moving. Not only is it moving, it’s moving far from home. And, that’s okay. People live there. They are thriving. They are happy. They may be cold. But, they are making it. Californians (even the transplants) have this mindset that the only place to live is California. It’s like everyone else is just posing as living, breathing people, but in actuality, they’re all geographical zombies wandering the Earth until they can get themselves across Cali’s borders. Well, y’all can miss me with that too.

Since announcing our decision to move out of sunny SoCal on social media, we have been privy to plenty of amazing advice from friends. We have had some help narrowing down cities and neighborhoods. We have asked some questions and gotten some great answers. But, what we don’t need is anyone attempting to shield us from ourselves. We have got to live these lives for ourselves. We have got to raise these kids the best we know how. And, we have got to be happy while we do it.

Yes, we know the winters will be horrible, depressing even. But, we want to go find that out for ourselves. You don’t have to be happy for us. We’ll be alright regardless.

So keep your unsolicited advice. And, let us live.

The following two tabs change content below.

Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson, PhD is a co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Water Cooler Convos. She is a native of Oakland, CA. Jenn is a radical Black feminist scholar who believes none of us are free until all of us are free.

6 Responses

  1. Law Wanxi says:

    Congratulations on getting into University of Chicago!

    I have to be honest; I always wondered why you live where you live. Sure the schools are OK, but most of schooling is actually done by the parents, so your children will thrive wherever you go. The OC is a great place to live if you’re White and as good a place as any to live if you’re Asian. Not so much if you’re Black. The OC was built on White Flight and remains very much that way even now.

    Chicago has a lot going for it and it isn’t cold year round. It has a vibrant economy and there are nice places to live along with the not-so-nice places. I was stationed near Chicago when I was in the Navy and I grew to like the cold crisp air of winter. Every chance I got, I took the train down from Great Lakes Naval Station into Chicago and had good times. Lots of things to do and it’s not the smug, vacant-stare place that LA is. Plus, you’re close, by train, to NYC, DC, Boston and by car to Toronto. Believe it or not, Lake MIchigan has some nice sandy beaches north of Chicago. Plus, there’s not water shortage, LOL.

    Best of luck in this. You’ll do just fine. Are you going to continue the blog?

  2. Thanks Law!

    You are completely correct. The OC is no place for a liberal black family. I learned that the hard way.

    We will definitely keep the blog going. We’ve got to catalogue the transition somewhere:)

  3. Shawna says:

    So proud of you! Sounds like it will be a great adventure and learning experience. And, I am all for that! A lot of Cali natives must be cause they all seemed to have fled this place, save a few. Maybe the folks you’re talking to all fled “home” for here….just a thought. I know my parents did! One day I’ll fly this coop too!

  4. That’s true. Many of the people who are “talking us down from the ledge” transplanted here themselves! lol

  5. blackBeanBurger says:

    I know this is an old post but congratulations on the move. Yeah, Chicago, like everywhere, has racial problems but the OC is really over the top. Rural Tennessee is ironically more open minded. I’ve gotten along better with people virtually everywhere else in the country compared to the OC. Something is terminally wrong with them and I don’t know why it’s so ridiculous there. All of Southern Cali is having a depopulation of black people, even historically black areas.

    I’m from Cleveland, it’s not the cold you have to worry about but the snow. And yes, people do have lives outside of Southern California.

  6. Thanks. It’s totally different and by different I mean much better.