Home is a word with a heavy connotation. If it were just a place, it’d be easier to describe. Ever since moving out here, home hasn’t felt quite right. It’s just heavy. We said so many goodbyes, and with a pandemic combined with social anxiety and plain old anxiety creating a near agoraphobic state (deep breath) hellos aren’t easy to come by. So, we went home for the holidays. Except it wasn’t quite home either because we were staying in everybody’s houses and living outta suitcases. But home meant Wawa, it meant I knew all the roads again and driving was like breathing again. It meant seeing all the people that made home mine, and only driving 15 mins to do it. Now home means driving is like asphyxiation because I’m afraid to drive again, except when I’m not. I can paradoxically drive to Yosemite like a boss and have a panic attack going to the grocery store down the street. Home means a potential 14 hr travel day to get from point a to point b. It’s not 15 minutes.

It feels jumbled because it is. Like a weird emotional soup that someone tossed peanut butter in for flavor and texture. It just feels like this feeling of off-ness. There’s nothing particularly wrong, but I cannot say it feels just right either. Like Goldilocks except she opted to gnaw on a shoe instead of baby’s porridge. The shoe fits, I just don’t know that I’m doing it right. I know I could do and be more and that would make home feel less like a daunting task and more like breathing. It’s also like swimming in tapioca to get it done. Admittedly, it took me until I was 35 to stop being afraid of driving the first time, and I’ve made big gains in less than 3 years here. It’s always a matter of the story I’m telling myself because I know there are days I’m not afraid.

It’s something like pick your moments because there are moments I feel so happy and free. There are others I feel like my emotions could crawl out of my throat and exorcist style pea soup vomit all over. It’s something like choose your own adventure because there are a lot of reasons living so far from home is worth it. or I can wallow in self-pity and whine about it. or maybe it’s just both and that is what it is.

Sometimes, I think the hardest pill to swallow is that in life, and is far more accurate than or. I love my home, and I miss my home. The two make it harder, but the sadness lets you know how good things are.

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