I met Cassidy in geometry class, freshman year. We were in that class together for only a semester, and after that, I only saw her in the hallways. Then, in the second semester of our sophomore year, we were able to have the same period for lunch, which led to us become much better friends. Cassidy is now one of my closest friends at school and she has helped me get through some pretty rough days. She has lived in San Francisco since she was three-years old, in a neighborhood full of tightly packed homes and concrete lawns that is only about four miles away from me (making it a much closer commute than if I were going to visit my friend Grace in Texas, who I featured in an earlier post). I chose to interview Cassidy for this series because she has lived in San Francisco for almost her entire life, and she wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else because she feels like San Francisco shaped her into a person she is happy with.
San Francisco is not lacking in the availability of great activities, but Cassidy enjoys the simple things about the city, like roaming the endless neighborhoods. “[The neighborhoods all have] such different personalities because of the history here,” she told me. When I asked her what she liked to do with her friends in the city, her response wasn’t far from Grace’s. She said she liked to go to the mall, but then explained that she honestly just walks around a lot because things in the city are generally pretty expensive. When I first moved to San Francisco from Texas, my family and I often went to the popular tourist sites around the city. I found out later that some of my friends who had lived in the city their whole lives had never even been to places like Lombard Street or Alcatraz, some of the places that make this city so famous. Since living here, I have grown to love the places that locals like Cassidy know and love too.
When I asked Cassidy if she thought that she might be a different person if she had grown up somewhere else she told me, “Yes, because I would have different experiences and [I would be surrounded by] a different set of people.” Grace had a very similar response. This highlights the fact that it’s often the people you surround yourself with who have a bigger impact on your personality than the city you live in. Despite this, Cassidy told me she wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else because, “I think that San Francisco has shaped my personality, and I kind of like it.” San Francisco is a very fast-paced city and living here has caused her to be a person who constantly has to be doing something, even if it is just roaming the neighborhoods. “I really like San Francisco because there is just so much to do, so you are never really bored,” she said. She also told me that this need to always be doing something was something she wished she didn’t have. At times, Cassidy inferred, it is nice to be able to just sit and not do anything and not be extremely bored. Like Cassidy, I would also describe myself as a city girl, but I enjoy being away from the hustle-and-bustle from time to time.
Living in a city like San Francisco can often be overwhelming. It is a city full of unique beliefs, styles, and ways of life. It is nice to be exposed to new beliefs and perspectives in this way because it takes you out of your own bubble and helps you to understand the people around you and where they set their foundation. “I am thankful for how open I am to new ideas,” Cassidy told me. The loud and expressive nature of San Francisco can be difficult to live in when you are shy, but when you surround yourself with good friends who build you up, it can help you feel more comfortable being outgoing. “I would say that I am outgoing but it doesn’t have anything to do with where I live. I think it has more to do with the people I have met,” Cassidy said. I agree with what Cassidy expresses here: ever since I moved to San Francisco I have noticed that I have become a much more outgoing person because I have had to meet so many new people and put myself out there. In a way, the city does have an impact on how outgoing you become because it really is the people here that make up the city.
There is a certain pride that comes with telling people you live in San Francisco. Cassidy told me, “One of my favorite things is being able to say that I live in SF.” I also enjoy telling people I’m from San Francisco. When you go somewhere out of town, telling people that you are from San Francisco draws much more attention than saying you are from a tiny town in West Texas. People are interested and ask questions about what it’s like to live there, if you like it, or what you like to do most in the city. While people outside of San Francisco seem really interested in they city, people in San Francisco often find it very interesting that I am from Texas. I have been asked many times why I don’t have an accent and if I rode horses and wore cowboy boots when I lived in Texas. My short answers to those questions are, “I don’t know why I don’t have an accent and no, I did not wear cowboy boots or ride horses.” People will always be interested in where people call home because it gives them a peek into that person’s reality.
I love San Francisco. I think that I would be a very different person, someone I don’t think I would like, if I had not moved here. But, because I moved here, I have become the person that I am and I think that not only has to do with the city I live in, but the people I have come to know and love. People like Cassidy have helped me to feel comfortable and welcome here. Moving to San Francisco has allowed me to have experiences that would have never been a reality in Texas. Just as Grace keeps me connected to my beliefs and my old home, Cassidy pulls me out of my own bubble. The people you surround yourself with are what really impacts who you can turn out to be. The city does have a huge impact on your personality. Every city is full of all kinds of people, and San Francisco is known for its eccentric and unique residents. Who you choose to surround yourself with has a big influence on what makes you, you.