1 July 2017
My family has been through a lot over the last 17 years. I’m the oldest of five children; now down to four. Life hasn’t been easy for any of us, but we’ve learned to adapt the best we can. Including everyone having to adapt to my situation. I have been hurt, deeply pained, betrayed, and discarded, but family and friends have also been hurt by the selfish actions of one person.
I went “home” for my nephews’ graduations, as I previously mentioned. I have spent a few days thinking about this particular post because it’s nearing the time to close the chapter on this journey, and begin a new one. I’m waiting for the official degree conferral, then wrapping up the last of a life I lived.
While that’s slowly brewing on the back burner, I took advantage of the time and location to learn more about myself while home. I recognized the past as pain and abuse, and buried it when I moved to New Mexico. Unfortunately, some of those scars still affect my life in ways I do not want to discuss here. I must make huge concerted efforts to move beyond some of them, and only some can be advanced with the help of a person who is patient, understanding, kind, and non-aggressive. Basically, leaving me in the driver’s seat, and there are so many men who either don’t like a strong woman, or unsure how to deal with them. Some are point-blank intimidated.
I observed everything around me, and realized: I miss and love my family (we’re a large unit), but I don’t miss the drama; nor do I miss the humidity, and I especially don’t miss the snow. I like the sunshine and dry heat.
Several relatives asked me if there was anything luring me back. “Nope.” I’m not going East in my next chapter. I have no fucking clue where I’m going, but because I was granted the “time” I asked for, I don’t have to figure it out right away either. I can take my time. I get a sense I won’t have a place to permanently call home in the future. I would like to own a house; or maybe build one, but the flipside to owning a house is the upkeep. It was pointed out to me I’m going to be able to walk away without worrying about getting the house ready for sale. I can just pack up my personal items and leave. Of course, the remaining contents in the house are now mine. I have plans for many things, but now is not the time to think about it either.
There is nothing drawing me back home to the East. There is nothing left for me there. That chapter was closed the morning, a week and a half after 9/11, as I drove West with the sunrise in my rearview mirror.
After the fireworks, while some people were sitting around the fire, I walked the backyard. The pool, now buried. The swing set, long gone. The camper, crumbled a long time ago; it was my go-to place for studying in my senior year of high school. The truckbox was emptied after my father passed away in 2000. The firepit that my brothers and cousin created, large enough for a chair, is only a small border, almost unrecognizable. It was constructed when I had foot surgery, and spending 5 day weekends at my parents house as my then-boyfriend took my car north to be with someone he hooked up with. Yes, I know the pattern now and have learned one heck of a life lesson.
So many memories growing up that will remain. I am the oldest in my family of five. I still remember things my siblings don’t, or simply don’t know, which is why I’ve had a memoir in progress forever it seems.
Returning to my roots helped me discover I was never really gone, just suppressed and oppressed. I had freedom then, as I do now. I am the person who walks around and talks to people; I don’t sit and wait for people to come to me. I am the one who wants to lift a pallet over my head and toss it into the fire, and I did! I am not being scoffed at for a drink at 11am. I do not think I’m above people. My hometown was just too small for me, as is where I live now. I returned stronger and more empowered. I am the woman my niece wants to model after. More importantly, it was nice to know I didn’t forget myself, and the freedom is simply awesome.
I also haven’t forgotten to write. I still set aside time, and have a goal to finish my book by the end of July. I’m still in touch with some of my peers and we’ll be critiquing our newest work. I am also reading for fun now! I have a laundry list of things I need to begin doing. Evidence of my depression is still visible throughout the house, but nobody visits so I can pick at it. The house and patio has become my place of solitude.
It was nice being away. It felt good. It was nice to return to New Mexico, with the sun warming me back up, and having Duke with me again. We’re adapting and will continue to do so. I miss my family, but I don’t miss where I grew up. I spent more than half of my life in New York. My heart will always be there, but I have spread my wings. I will continue to fly.