It’s kind of difficult to articulate quite what I feel as I’m back home for the first time since I’ve moved to Chicago for school.
When I think about what I would have envisioned my first trip back, I thought it would be either completely seamless or completely strange. I had pictured a reaction of the extremes: either I felt just right back at home, or that I would feel like I didn’t belong in the community I was a part of my whole life. In reality, what I’ve felt is a lack of true permanence, a lack of myself really staying a part of this community, because, in all honest truth, that is just what it is.
The first night back, being in my room, I thought first that this would not be where I will be an extended period ever for the rest of my life. I saw my things, I saw my bed, my whiteboard wall, yet I didn’t really feel connected to much of it. It all felt familiar, yet it didn’t seem to quite feel like mine anymore. It felt comfortable and welcoming, yet there was something about it, whether it being less disheveled than when I lived in it, but I know it isn’t my reality anymore.
When I got back into the car to drive, I will say that I did feel right back in tune with everything. Blasting “BOOGIE” and “Gorgeous,” chanting through all of the lyrics, I remembered why I loved driving alone so much. It was my form of escapism, away from everyone, to just be myself amidst whatever I may have been dealing with on a given day. Yet, for as much as I have enjoyed driving again for the past few days, I know it isn’t permanent, I know this is no longer my reality.
Even as I’m writing at my favorite coffee shop, sitting at my usual table I always sit at, I feel a sense of connection. I feel comfortable with the great coffee, the amazing aromas, and the comfortable chairs. I see the regular people I’d used to see on Saturday mornings, working in the same spots. Yet, just like my room, or with driving, I know that this whole experience ends tonight, and I’ll be back in Chicago soon.
I do enjoy and have missed people and places and foods and everything in between from the Bay, but at the same time, I know I will never be connected here in the same way. That’s something I’m more than okay with. Honestly, I’m surprised at how mellow and ready I am and have been to just take this step to be collected in my willingness to move on. Perhaps it is because I remember a time where I was so unsatisfied and have been unhappy at points here, being a resident of the Bay, that I am okay with not being as connected with this place. After all, I wrote a whole column about the parts of the Bay I thought I’d escape coming to Chicago.
For the first time in my life, my relationships and experiences are no longer dictated by where my family is from or where we live. This affords me the privilege to really be exposed to things in ways I could never have been able to have in high school. The distance away from home in a way has allowed me to really push myself to grow in a deeper way, to establish more maturity and responsibility. It is this lack of permanence that I feel being back at home that has kind of made me feel as though this change has really materialized. I don’t know whether this ultimately will be a good or bad thing, but I do know that it is something that is occurring, and thus, I might as well go and take advantage of it.