I tend to get a little behind on the times, because I’m super busy
watching Pretty Little Liars pretend shopping online reading teenage fantasy fiction working and going to the gym and being an adult.
Two things have taken up my time recently, and I’d like to share them with you.
Here’s the first one.
→ I Went Home.
I have multiple homes, and I am perfectly okay with that.
One home here, where I am now, with the boyfriend and Rafferty.
One home wherever my mom is, because her house is always my home.
And one home in a small town in the south, where I lived until 6th grade, and where I was brave and confident and self-assured. This home is important to me because I knew who I was when I lived there. I wasn’t as anxious and I wasn’t as doubtful and I was just me, and that was enough.
After this home, we moved twice, and I forgot myself in the shuffle. Moving in middle school is hard. Kids are mean. It was confusing. Once we left my first home, I got a little lost.
I watched the movie Now and Then a lot growing up, and one of the first scenes has Demi Moore stating that you can never go home again. (I tried to find a clip of this, but, alas, it does not exist.)
I always thought that was so strange. I guess, as a kid, I took the statement at face value, because you CAN go home. You just… go there. Right?
As an adult, I’ve come to understand that, sure, you can physically go to where you grew up, but you can’t truly go back to where you grew up, because everything is different.
The people are different and the parks are different and the feel is different and you are different. And you can never go back.
We stayed at the home of the mother of my first best friend, who passed away, and, to be honest with you guys, going into that house make me physically unable to breathe. My friend is everywhere and nowhere, all at once. My friend’s mother has a way of reminding me of all the good times we had, and we spent some time flipping through photo albums and talking about her son and putting on brave faces. So it’s the same there, sure. But it’s completely different.
Some things…some little things…they do stay the same.
I’m always inundated with the same feeling when we finally get back to the town where I was young. That… I’m home feeling. I’m always at ease just flinging open people’s front doors when we visit, even though I didn’t live in town as an adult and even though I’m an adult now. I just walk right in. I never feel uncomfortable or like I’m putting on a show or presenting myself as someone I’m not. That’s always there for me. That’s why I love going back.
Just because I’m home, though, and just because I feel more confident being home, that doesn’t mean I’m still not as awkward as usual.
Good example: the sister and I spent a good hour trying to locate coffee Saturday morning, because apparently there’s a Starbucks in town, but we couldn’t find it. For the record, I’m not sure I believe there really is a Starbucks. I think it’s just one of those things you desperately want to be true, so you drive around and convince yourself that you heard there was a Starbucks, maybe, you think you heard there was a coffee shop, maybe, and then you just have to give up.
Like when you check online and see something is in stock in the store, so you jump in the car and drive to the store and when you get there they don’t have it. So you wander around like, maybe that shirt I want is actually in the toy section, I better go check… but deep down you know it’s not there.
Anyway, we finally chose to go to McDonalds, and we decided to go inside to order because we were also responsible for getting everyone breakfast and large orders at drive-thrus kick my anxiety into overdrive. (Like when you’re with multiple people and they tell you to just ask for 3 separate orders at the drive-thru window. You want me to say what? No. You’re a crazy person. That’s unacceptable.)
So we ordered, and I had to repeat my order at least 7 times, and I started to get frustrated because it was really early and I was tired and I just really wanted a calorie-filled sweet coffee beverage and I just really wanted it RIGHT THAT SECOND. But I kept having to repeat the order and the person making the order was apparently in training so I could hear someone describing my order, like, okay now, the caramel, and I was just standing there dreaming of the coffee.
I should probably add that this was awkward because the only coat I packed was a winter white pea coat, so I threw that on that morning and put some boots on over my jeans, all dressed-up like, and so I looked like a real asshole standing in the McDonalds repeating my order wearing a fancy white coat and boots and sounding irritated. (The sister said it was a scene straight from the movie Sweet Home Alabama.)
The order was finally finished, so we grabbed our coffees and bag of biscuits and hopped back in the rental car. But, guys, the coffee tasted like spoiled milk and the sister almost projectile vomited in the rental car when she tasted it, so we opened the rental car door and poured the coffee out. Just a sad little puddle of what could only be last weeks coffee and two month old milk, right in the middle of the road. It was a travesty. All that work. No tasty coffee.
I should probably also add that there was NO WHERE ELSE to go in town. You’re thinking: lots of places have coffee, duh, quit being a baby and go to those other places, and furthermore, Starbucks isn’t even that good (I agree). And my response is: those other places aren’t in this town.
Coffee issues aside (we finally got Monster Javas from a gas station) I did enjoy the early morning drive with the sister through town. Everything was different and everything was the same and even though no one recognized me anymore I still felt like I was in my town.
I got to meet two adorable babies and see a long-lost best friend, who has not changed an iota, and she was loud and sweet and funny and I just kept thinking: you’re a mother. One time we ate pizza rolls too quickly out of the toaster oven and you literally burned your face eating them because we were so hungry and now you have a baby.
It was the same, talking to her. But it was different.
At the end of the trip I felt super cheesily happy, like my heart was really full with great people and great memories and great new babies who will grow up in that town that I call home. I felt like I remembered a little bit of who I used to be when I lived there, and I felt comforted that I could still come back to that part of me.
Going home, wherever that may be for you, helps you remember who you are. And it helps you remember who you’re trying to be. So, if you can, go home.