Before I was 18, I moved exactly once. I was 12 and we moved from Portland to Gresham, Oregon, roughly 16 miles apart but it might has well have been the frozen tundra for how I felt about it.
Our family had outgrown our first home. I was sharing a room with my sister (something that was becoming more unbearable each night as I heard her talk in her sleep from the top bunk). But even the prospect of no longer waking up in the middle of the night from her babbling was enough to convince me leaving my friends was worth it.
I remember contemplating ways that I could handcuff myself to my closet so they wouldn’t be able move. I cried, threatened hunger strikes (an empty threat and my mom knew it) and then went sullen, resorting to sitting in my room listening to “It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men on repeat and binge eating fun dip (Remember that stuff? Sugar you ate with a sugar stick, turning your tongue blue?)
But of course, it turned out that move was probably one of the best things that could have happened me. No one can fully explain the fear and excitement of being the new girl unless you’ve experienced it. Kids especially are enticed by anyone new which immediately tags you as “interesting” (at least for the first few weeks). I also learned that I have a skill of making friends with basically anyone and everyone around me, no matter the circumstances. I make friends waiting in line at the grocery store, on airplanes, in impossibly boring classes, on the subway.
The luxury of only moving once was something I only experienced as a kid. As an adult, I’ve lived in 3 states and so many places I lost count long ago. My parents left my childhood home and state when I turned 18 so I never even had a “home” to go home to. I had to make my own home.
I think for the better part of the last 12 years, I’ve been pretty fixated on the idea of home. How do you find it? Is it in people or a place? Both? How will I know when I’m finally “home”?
And here’s what I’ve come to realize, I’m not even sure home really exists. Or at least, not as we imagine it to be. The Texan always says “there is no supposed to be, there just is.” Meaning that we often create our own disappointment by believing there is a certain way to do things but in the end, it’s just life and everyone has a different path (and no ones path is perfect no matter how good their facebook page makes it seem).
I can’t really get over the idea of a place = home even though I realize it is more than that. We all learn in elementary school that the setting to the story is very important. The setting can even be a character in of itself, like how New York felt to me when I lived there. And the setting for this character is still unsettled. And I’m not sure if it ever really will feel settled. Maybe that’s just life.