Why? It’s Called Believeland for a Reason!

***Much thanks to my fabulous friend and blogging Fairy Godmother, Alicia from Poise in Parma, for this rockin’ guest post. Make sure you stop by Alicia’s blog to catch up on all things CLE-related, as well as healthy living tips, pictures of her adorable fuzz Grady, and much more. Alicia will be running the US Air Force half-marathon this weekend and I’m so grateful she made time in her crazy life of training, work, and blogging to share some thoughts.***

Greetings from Parma! CLEgal graciously offered me a moment on the WhyCLE? blog today with an open forum for my thoughts. Lord knows I share enough of them over at Poise in Parma, but there’s something on my mind in regards to the mission of this blog.

My good friend CLEgal has boomeranged a few times from Cleveland and back. She’s not the only one I’ve watch do this. When you are a “lifer” of Cleveland, you get used to people leaving – and a lot of the time, returning.

Yes, there are those that leave for good. They go hand in hand with the folks that still look at Northeast Ohio as a depressed region.  Poor CLE is stuck with residents allowing self-doubt fill their minds and thoughts:

  • All those jobs will never come back.
  • That (enter name of construction project) will never get finished.
  • We’re never going to win a championship.
  • The snow is going to be here by Halloween and last til Memorial Day.

I won’t lie and say that I love all the weather that Lake Erie brings. But it’s how you view your surroundings that provide for your opportunities in them.

To know my background:  I grew up in the Parma area, went to college on the West side, worked downtown for several years before now enjoying the “9 to 5” on the East side of town. I married my high school sweetheart and we live in the neighborhood we grew up in.

Perhaps some of my life decisions were made for the sake of familiarity and safety. I chose Baldwin-Wallace over schools in Columbus or Western Ohio because I wasn’t ready to move away from home.  I chose the management side of the arts because I didn’t believe in the strengths of my talents as a performer.  I didn’t move away after college because I knew we could find something here. Perhaps they were decisions made because of the fear of the unknown, but there’s something to be said for familiarity.

And that’s why change rocks Clevelanders so hard. Sometimes forces out of our control make change to our preferred status quo.  And when that change is negative, we claw and fight to retreat to the familiar.

Maybe that’s why we get stuck in the down and dreary thought process.  We see that return to the familiar as failure instead of accepting it for what it is. We are never going to succeed 100% of the time. Perfection is not possible, but learning from the process is. And isn’t what we learn along the journey more important than the end result?

With this said, let me put forth a challenge to all Clevelanders: What if we all started truly believing that this was the best place on earth?  A daunting challenge for some, I know. But…

  • Instead of complaining about the snow, why not jump in and make a snowman or go sledding?
  • Get excited about your neighborhood and spread the word that local festival coming up this weekend. 
  • No more of cranking about what a casino will “do” to our downtown. Why not learn more about all the jobs these new economic opportunities will be creating?

As my fabulous yoga instructor says, “What you believe, you create”.  Let’s stop comparing ourselves to all the other cities and towns. It’s time for us to create our new normal, our own standards of success. We – the citizens of Greater Cleveland – can construct a foundation for a way of life based on what we need to thrive here.  And it doesn’t take a herculean effort to do so.  I can’t say that it will keep the snow away this winter, but it might give you a new outlook when it comes down from that beautiful Northeastern Ohio sky.

5 Responses

  1. a-freaking-men! I am not a NATIVE Clevelander, but I am a Clevelander. I love Cleveland for what it is. I love Cleveland for the potential it has. And I want to be part of the movement to change the thought process of so many who live/have lived here. Cleveland is not the “mistake on the lake”, it’s a beautiful city in which I want to grow my roots and raise my children (sorry Brandon…too soon?) It’s a place that I’m going to call home for a long time.

    Alicia-great post! Way to challenge CLE-ers to shift their thinking!

  2. Love this post and this sentiment! And when it comes to the bad weather, when the Northeast (where I’m from) was suffering from snow-ageddon the last couple of years, it made me realize Cleveland winters are not that bad.

  3. Alicia, thank you for this post. It really just affirms to me what I already know. I left in 2006 – granted, I was more in the Akron-area when I lived here but now I’m back. I have lived fabulous places on the east coast since (Pittsburgh, DC, Northern VA, Lancaster) and I can say from experience that Cleveland has everything I need and more. In fact, I look at Cle as a more triving area than some of the places I lived. Yea, the weather is “bad” but guess what? We have flat roads to drive and run on, unlike where I was previously. We also have a beautiful lake, wonderful metro parks and great restaurants. Great post my friend!!

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