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I love Philadelphia.

natschall's picture

I love Philadelphia. That’s it. That’s all I have to say.

I know that I should explain that further, that “love” is a stand-in word for not expressing myself more fully. But really, “I love Philadelphia” is the only thing I can think every time I go into the city. It gives me such a sense of home, of connection, that nowhere else I’ve ever been has been able to give me.

In my first essay on this topic, my relationship to cities, I said that I judge cities based on how those around me feel. But after taking this course, I think it goes a little deeper than that.

I like cities when I feel like I can truly let go in them. Of course, this feeling does come from being around those who are comfortable in the city, but it most of all comes from deep play. If I witness others experiencing deep play and letting go of their inhibitions in the city, I’ll also feel like I can do that.

Looking at my current relationship to Philadelphia (perhaps cities in general, but I’d like to focus mainly on Philly for the purposes of this essay), I don’t think that I actually based my reaction to it on others as much as I thought I did for new cities. This is why I think that deep play is the most important thing for viewing cities. I found, every time I went into the city over the course of this semester, I found some way to let go and find deep play. Correspondingly, every time I went to the city, I loved it even more.

Deep playing in Philly allowed me to form a true relationship to it, without distraction from anything that might have been bothering me that day and stopped me from having a good time. I could fully let myself go and experience just what the city was, not what I or others projected onto it. Just what Philly is as a whole.

I saw my fair share of cockroaches and rats scuttling by on the street, but I also saw people loving each other--weddings and helping each other on slippery ice and laughing on park benches. I saw people letting themselves go, and I did too. To experience Philly, I have to let down my guard--not on purpose, but just as a reflex, knee-jerk reaction to being in the city that just may be my future home. Sure, there are bad things, but there are good things too, and they balance each other out perfectly. Philly’s not a perfect city, but wouldn’t that be the most boring thing if it were?

And that is what I feel connected to. Philadelphia. The true Philadelphia. The Philadelphia of no worries. The Philadelphia experienced through deep play.