How to Say Goodbye to Detroit – Maybe

Detroiter Shirley Bolden, at 23 and the youngest of Shetroit’s Blog Team, is taking a break and saying goodbye to her hometown for, well … she’ll explain.


Dear Detroit,

I am not sure how to say this because you have been nothing but great to me. You modeled before me what it meant to be multilayered, which empowered me as a young woman to embrace my own layers with pride.

Like your skyline what woman does not want to light up the world?

Like the well-groomed pockets in the city, what woman does not tuck away her most beautiful garments to be donned for those who can appreciate their beauty?

Like what some call the hood – but you and I call urban art – I too have a few raggedy pairs of jogging pants and t-shirts that I secretly love and refuse to ever question their worth. There is something about the rips and tears that give them personality and character.

You showed me what teamwork is about, win or lose. I remember when the Piston’s won the championship in 2004 and you applauded a team’s effort at greatness. I even remembered when the Lions were losing but you were still at the games and even joked that we were the only team to ever go 0-16. How satiric of you! You were always good at making me laugh.

I remember going downtown and seeing Joe Louis’ fist hang from iron poles. You manufactured some of the toughest folks this world has ever seen. Aretha demanded R-E-S-P-E-C-T and Kid Rock has drawn more attention to Detroit (thankfully) than Kwame Kilpatrick. You always have and still do have so much talent, I admire that about you.


Like so many others, there has come a time in my life when – if I’m gonna get what I’m searching for – I’ve got to go chase it.

My chase is leading me out of the city. But it’s not forever. It’s not that I don’t want to stay, I just need to go somewhere that will allow me a little more opportunity and perspective on life.

It’s not you … it’s me. But I am sure that someone else will come along and fill the empty houses I and so many others have left in the city. I hope you understand that.

When someone asks me where I’m from I will always respond “Detroit!”.  I promise to stick-up for you in social and sports debates.

And I promise that one day, if you get better, I’ll come back.

No, I promise, I will come back.

I think.

At the very least, I will come and visit.

In the end, this is not good good-bye, it’s see you later.

However that might look.

Forever Yours,

P.S. I never thought I would be one of those people saying, “I’m originally from there but I’ve been living here for this many years.”



About Shirley

Perspectives are found in the oddest of places, Shirley found hers through taking small pieces from nine childhood homes, each with something new for her to discover. Truth is, Shirley Bolden is quite biased saying she's just learned to craft her words in ways to make everyone agree with her.

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