so i recently went to my hometown for my high school reunion. i made it there and back in one piece. though i will admit this is the first time as a full grown adult that i left a little piece of myself in my hometown.
because while i went for my reunion i ended up reconciling with a place that is at best bittersweet for me. and that took a little out of me. and i left it there.
with high hopes that the sun and soil will nurture it better this time around.
i won't bore you with the details of my growing up there, but will say that it was shocking for me to learn just how much i had built up this kind of mythology about it. how attached i have become. because all the other times i visited i didn't feel it. i didn't have this kind of little pit in my stomach about it.
and maybe it was just a combination of events. being alone in my hotel (i am never alone) and staying up too late and reconnecting and letting loose. there's something to be said for routine and stability for keeping the demons at bay.
which brings me to the first morning after i arrived and finding myself in a pool of tears on the most humongous king sized bed i've ever seen. why am i crying? what is this? oh, you have to ask? really? says that voice inside. you know why you're crying.
and what started it was talking with a friend on the phone. about an issue of his. 1000 miles away and not even part of "this." we discussed his issue and when we were done he asked me what i was going to do that day. i mentioned with no family left in my hometown i had no real obligations except to my friends later. and he said
"oh, you should drive by your old house or something."
and that was it. i was a crying mess for two hours after that. what is it about childhood that makes it so hard to get out alive and intact? not all childhoods, but some. mine.
what is it about childhood that doesn't let you forget. ever. and what i thought i dealt with didn't even make it to the second afternoon.
what is it about pain that enables it to hide away for so long? in plain sight. to know it's there, to have occasions with it, but not let it get to you. to be able to keep going and just ignore it.
and then you're in some hotel off the highway in your hometown and it's standing in front of you. and it's no longer giving you the opportunity to choose. because it's not going anywhere.
i didn't learn enough as a child, a teenager. not about the world, except the small world around me. and that was learning, but also just a matter of surviving. i look back and i can't believe i did it. got up each day. figured it out each day. know what to do when i had no clue.
i didn't learn enough about my hometown and the valley it sits in. and when i go back i just get that full force. this is where you are from, going back generations, and you have no fucking clue what it is even about. you have no idea.
place is so important. sure, wherever you go there you are and all that. but my god you came from somewhere, and that sticks with you. wherever you go you came from somewhere.
and for me, the quadruple cancer girl, home and hearth and all that is about as important as it gets. and to know that i have no real connection now to the place of my birth, that i didn't learn enough about it when i was growing up there sits awkwardly on my heart.
please understand, it wasn't all tragic and awful. there was a lot of love. there was. a lot of love. and sometimes love is enough. and sometimes it isn't. it's not enough when it can't protect you.
and looking back on it now, the visit, a week out, i see that i didn't even want to try and see it this time. the town. wanted to be there, but not be present. because the whole time i was there i didn't wear my glasses. i had them on on the way from the airport, and took them off right when i got into town.
then it wasn't until we were hitting the highway to go back to the airport that i put them back on again.
and so the whole time i was walking around, riding around, hanging around i was in a kind of a haze. not up close, but surrounding me. a way to be there but not fully be there. funny how we can call up the same old coping skills and just transform them for the time.
humans are so fascinating. especially the silly mortals.
and people ask me why are you so attached to being jewish, you know having "just" found out about it? how come you fell into it so fully?
and i think it's because i need to come from somewhere and understand it. to not need it fuzzed out around me. to not blur the edges in favor of protecting the hurts. i need to have a place to start from that is tangible and accessible to me. i need a history that is bigger than the pain that surrounds it.
and damn, if that isn't some shit right there, right? being jewish somehow gives me a history to attach to less painful than the one i experienced on janna ave?
jesus, between that and not wearing my glasses i think i could be a psychiatrist's wet dream.
but hey, it's just because it was "my" history that makes it so intense. it's nothing if not all relative, right?
so where do i go from here?
forward. ever forward. because i made it there and back. nearly whole, even.
and i'll do the same thing i do for every difficult moment.
i'll open my heart and i'll open my arms.
i will love the shit out it.