A Love Letter to Las Vegas

I just left you. The Stratosphere is in my rearview. Thinking about all of the wonderful nights we spent together, I already miss you. But our love affair has come to an end. It was incredible. You filled my heart to overflowing again and again. I had the best eight years of my life and nothing will ever take that away from us. I left my mark on you and you definitely left an imprint on my heart.

You changed me – in all the best ways. I came to you full of love to give, but no one to give it to. Having lost both of my parents to cancer, my lover of 12 years, and my dog, my soul had all but imploded. I came to you for the music. But I leave you with so much more than I could have hoped for.

Before you, I didn’t know my own beauty. I never felt special. But you wrapped your arms around me, made me feel exceptional, and allowed me the space to be all of who I am. That is the ultimate lover. You celebrated the parts of me that had been too much for some and not enough for others. I’m leaving you empowered and whole. I’ve left my fear of failure behind and have fully embraced my audacity and authenticity. Thank you, Vegas.

You showed me miracles that I had long ago lost sight of. You allowed me to watch a former drug addict achieve eight years of sobriety, changing his soul from dark to light. You gave me a front row seat to a womanizer who fell in love and found his ultimate happiness. You introduced me to an incredible singer who had everything to lose, but embraced her sobriety and became a phenomenal mother. Because of you, I’ve witnessed woman after woman, overcome disappointments and struggles, to persevere as entertainers. These artists have become not only my heroes, but also my friends. We break bread together. We share our dreams and we lift each other up. You, my dearest Vegas, introduced me to each and every one.

As I got ready to leave you, the souls with whom I have bonded the most, urged me to stay with them when I visit. We talked about them coming to see me when they needed to cool off from the desert heat. We didn’t hesitate to tell each other how much we meant to one another. It was beautiful. I’ve had very few of those types of friends throughout my life, but you gave me many.

You taught me that it is more important what I bring to the table, rather than what is being served. When we open up our hearts to one another, appreciate each other, and tell each other “I believe in you”, it makes all the difference. We can soar to new heights. We can overcome obstacles more easily and more swiftly. When we love and support each other, we add value in ways the almighty dollar can’t.

I’ve heard many claim that you, Vegas, are full of fake people and relentless hustlers. But let’s be honest Lover, those types of people are everywhere. Life is what we make it. If we bring love to the table, instead of hostility or arrogance, we are twice as likely to receive the same in return. Moreover, as Nina Simone once said, “We must learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” I now know, if I’m being served crumbs while everyone else is being served a filet – I need to find another place to dine.

I’m leaving you because I learned the lessons. You have shown me more in eight years than I’ve seen in the rest of my life, combined. Now I ask myself, “What is going to fulfill me most?”, and I am going to get it.

I know that many people leave you bankrupt, whether emotionally or financially. But I feel like I hit the jackpot with you. My sense of self has only gotten stronger, my zest for life has grown. No matter how much time passes, I know I can come back to you and my tribe, our tribe, will embrace me again. We will never be separated fully. You have left me with too many memories and gifts for us ever to forget each other. Thank you, my Love. There is no other place in the world quite like you. Now, I’m all in.

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