Updated: May 22, 2022
I have a love - hate relationship with my home town. I love and appreciate the experiences good and bad, that I've had there. They both shaped me as a writer and as a person. It's because of them that I believe what I believe, that I feel what I feel...that I do what I do. All of them combined created this woman who is learning how to love and care for herself in much needed ways.
One the flip side, I hate what "progress" has done to the place. I hate that despite having lived in this city for 31 years, it never felt like home, I never felt welcome or accepted as I was. I had to be, look, and act in ways that were inauthentic and thus, wildly uncomfortable. Stifling even. Borderline hazardous if we're talking mental, physical, and emotional health. Toss in the cold weather, and well, you have a place that felt as if it were out to destroy me at every turn.
I listen to others talk about their hometown. They speak of a place that no matter what, when they are there, they are supported, welcomed, held. I wish I could feel like that about the place I 'grew up'. But I don't. When I come "home", I feel like a tourist who just happens to know my way around. And that made each trip back hard to get through.
This trip though. Something has changed. I'm feeling a lot less, "NO!" and more, "I may not want to live here, but it's not a bad place to visit." Still doesn't feel like HOME, but I believe I've finally healed a lot of the wounds I received during my life here. Could this be a positive side effect of the Leading Lady Challenge? I hope so. I've grown tired of living through my existence being coated in the ooze from those old, open wounds. It's made a mess of so much of my life; the care of them has stolen so much time that could have been better spent enjoying the present moment.
I feel strangely free of all of that this trip. I'm back in the city that made me, so to speak. And for the first time, I don't feel haunted. I don't feel as if the scabs are being torn off, the wounds being reopened. Instead, I feel a growing sense of peace. I may never feel as if this place is my HOME, but I know I can let that old shit go and enjoy what the city has to offer me, as the creative, eclectic, authentic being I am today.
Since I'm here...
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