Op-Ed: I'm Not a Native by Birth, but I Am at Heart

Op-Ed: I'm Not a Native by Birth, but I Am at Heart
Evan Semón

We started off the new year by offering resolutions for a variety of people and places around town, including "Resolutions for Denver Neighborhoods in 2020." That set off a round of responses and responses to responses — from "Denver is Diverse, Time for 'Natives' to Get Over It" to "You Didn't Build This City, We Did." And for now, we're giving the final word to this friendly transplant, who asked to remain anonymous.

"Get off my lawn!"

For all intents and purposes, this is what "You Didn't Build This City, We Did" can be summarized to say. It's fascinating to read such a harsh depiction of an entire group of people, those being transplants. The term "transplant" has an almost Harry Potter quality to it, like uttering the name Voldemort when I sometimes share that I moved here and am not a native.

I would have loved to be a native of this amazing state. I even filed a formal request in the third trimester to be born in Colorado, but it was denied by my host (thanks for nothing, Mom!). Despite my best efforts as a fetus, I was born and grew up in Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C.

No one has any control over where they are born. You don't get a say in where you grow up. The thing you can change and have control over is where you live later in life.

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I moved to Denver because I love the parks. I moved because I love the mountains, the outdoors, snowboarding; I absolutely love the Stock Show; I appreciate and am a patron of the museums and local arts. I pick up trash that others leave behind in the local parks and on distant hiking trails. The Colorado beer scene is mind-blowing, and the legality of marijuana is great, too.

However, the biggest reason I moved to Denver was to get away from the atmosphere of where I grew up. The "me, me, me" mentality was prolific in Northern Virginia. People focused on themselves, unwilling to help others, you get the picture.

I came to snowboard; I came to explore the city, to hike and everything in between. I fell in love with so many things, but above all else, I loved the people I found here. Welcoming, friendly, laid-back individuals who would jump up to go camping just as quickly as they would to help you move out of your apartment.

Please do not use the extreme outliers to generalize us all. We moved here for the same reasons that you so dearly love this beautiful, wonderful, awesome city and state. I'm not a native by birth, but I sure as hell am at heart.

Sincerely, Your Friendly (Even Charming) Transplant

Westword occasionally publishes essays and op-eds on matters of interest to Denver residents...whether native or transplant. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com. That's where you can also send responses on this round of opinion pieces, or simply post a comment.

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