Dinner with Friends
A design-focused, quarterly lifestyle magazine celebrating California's Central Valley, one dinner party at a time.

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FRESNO TO SEATTLE / AM I A FRAUD?

In this weekly blog offering, DWF's founder, Kendra, speaks from the heart about her decision to leave Fresno in the midst of creating a magazine based on her love for the city and surrounding Central Valley. (Yes, it's confusing to her, too.) But above all, she's committed to continuing the magazine's mission. And instead of dwelling, as it is best not to do, she's celebrating the ways her new city reflects her hometown, and how Fresno is never really that far away.

AM I A FRAUD? / It's been a while since I wrote the last "Fresno to Seattle" blog post. Publishing content on a consistent schedule and holding myself accountable to that schedule while working a full-time job is a struggle I could write a novel about. Well, I'd probably start the novel, push it aside for a few months, beat myself up, then start writing again. Maybe I'll just write a blog post about it instead. But for now, I want to tackle a topic that has haunted me since I moved away from Fresno. Nope. Never mind. Now that I think about it, the haunting actually began several months before I left town.

It was shortly after the launch of the Dinner with Friends Kickstarter campaign in July 2016, when I got some concerning (read: hurtful) feedback on my project from a friend of a friend. I shouldn't have let an acquaintance -- someone who knew virtually nothing about me as a person or my deep, deep passion for this project -- hurt my feelings. But her comment sent a chill down my spine and still frightens me to this day. So much so that I'm having a tough time bringing myself to type it out. But, in hopes of releasing the ghost, I will. Here it goes...

Her feedback on my project was this: "It feels a little scammy." As in, this dream of yours is fraudulent. A ripoff. Buyer beware!

As if putting your dream out into the world and asking people to finance it isn't scary enough, this woman had put me into the same category with the likes of Bernie Madoff and the people who send out phishing emails. Even more upsetting was that she had made me question my intentions and wonder: Am I a fraud?

That question became an all-caps, bolded shout after I left Fresno. AM I A FRAUD? How are people supposed to believe I love this city and the community of people who live in it when I don't even live there myself? The external judgement I'd received from this stranger had become internal punishment, which I was unleashing on myself daily. 

If I've learned anything from Sex and the City, it's that in a haunting situation like this, you must acknowledge the sprit and release it. For best results, do so while eating Oreos. (sigh) If only that formula worked outside of Carrie Bradshaw's Manhattan. In real life, I know this ghost will not be easy to shake because I've practically given it its own room in my apartment. But my hope is that by creating good content and working on building connections back in the Valley, I will prove to others and myself -- and maybe even that friend of a friend -- that this project is anything but a scam. 

I didn't move out of Fresno because I didn't like it. I moved because there were still things missing in my life that I hadn't been able to find in Fresno. And maybe I won't find them in Seattle either. But I had to take a look anyway. And just because I moved away, doesn't mean I've stopped believing in the amazing changes going on in Fresno, and that this magazine can be a little part of that. 

Ghost, consider this your eviction notice. You have 30 days to get out. Because I am NOT a fraud. And I can't have you around any longer trying to convince me otherwise.

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Kendra Gilbert