My initial question, I think a song lyric from a random Bon Jovi song (don’t quote me on that), is an interesting one. The thing is, I don’t exactly know where “home” is.
My gut reaction of course is to say that my home is wherever my family is. It just sucks that this location is in a town I really do not care to be in whatsoever.
For this long memorial weekend, I am leaving early today from work to drive a solid four hours to see my family, and for that aspect, I am beyond ecstatic. But the fact is, I haven’t even been back to town since the beginning of March for spring break. Let me tell you, I have enjoyed pretending that town is even on the map.
To say my relationship with my hometown is complicated is an understatement. Besides moving to college and living in that college town over the summer for an internship, I had never lived anywhere besides my hometown. A couple of times over the course of those eighteen years, my family was tempted to move, but we always ended up staying put. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, but thinking there is some deep reason why I my wandering, independent soul was tethered to this suffocating place was and can still be hard to muster.
Those who have never lived in a small town may believe those television euphoric hazes of small town life, one where everyone smiles at each other as they drive down the road and are a closely knit community. Let me burst your bubble on that dream right away. Instead, everyone knows each others’ business, even the things you want kept hush-hush. Many have the tendency to be close-minded and judgmental. It probably doesn’t help living in a predominantly conservative state.
Whenever I drive back to town, besides immediately noticing a lower standard in driving etiquette, I feel this seeming aura as I pass into city limits. Maybe it’s all in my head, but all of the memories, most of time focused on the negative ones, come flooding back to me, and it feels like I have never left, even if it’s been a month or two since my last visit.
Despite all of these grudges I seem to hold against my hometown, I am learning to restrain myself from this habitual angst. No matter where I go, whenever I return, I have to realize that I am not the same person I was growing up, and without those good and bad memories, I would not be the person I am today. The past has happened. I have no point anymore dwelling on whatever awkward, painful, or embarrassing moments I experience, and all of those experiences cannot be blamed strictly on living in that town. What a great opportunity to practice “live and let live.” I’m ready to flip that page in my life. I already read that chapter. It’s time to start writing my present and future. And who knows, maybe these current chapters will help make those past ones more understandable, but it’s not worth my energy endlessly wondering or worrying about that.
Boy, am I excited for a break from work and some family time. And cuddles with my dog. Hopefully I can sit still in my car long enough to make the journey back “home.”
Take care, and keep the faith. –Allie