I had a small breakdown today.
My roommate and I went to see the play "Anne of Green Gables" this afternoon. I LOVED those movies as a kid. We have the entire movie series on VHS and I think I can probably still quote whole sections even though I haven't seen them in years.
Actually, before the play, I hadn't even THOUGHT about the story lately: the story of a little orphan girl with an unparalleled imagination, a big mouth, and dreams of authorship. I forgot how much Anne felt like childhood, felt like a legitimate part of MY identity, felt like home. Anne found a home in Green Gables, and I found my home today in her.
Suddenly I remembered how inspired I would get when I watched movies set in "olden days." I would start getting up at 7am and making my bed and eating an "old-fashioned" breakfasts and doing my chores right away and trying to wear dresses. I would make vows like ones Anne would make, about being a more conscientious person. I would try to be Polite and Well-Mannered and Hospitable.
Then my stomach started to sink with the startling realization that I am sort of grown up. There will not ever be another time when I can wake up and reinvent myself while my mom actually keeps my real life spinning. I actually DO have to get up at 7am and do my chores, because no one else is going to do them for me. I can't just lose myself in whatever pretend game I want anymore. I have to live my own, actual, real life.
And then--at the time it somehow seemed directly related to the above--I got really homesick. Lately I've been plagued by a gnawing feeling of homelessness. The couch and chair in my apartment living room are SINFULLY uncomfortable (the arms are bony, the leather seats stick to your skin, and the cushions come out the moment your ass touches them). My room is always messy because 1) it's small and 2) I never have the time or energy to keep it neat. Our kitchen sink is too shallow to wash dishes in and we don't have enough counter space to cook real food comfortably. My apartment does not feel like home.
But Gem's dorm is even worse. He's in your typical freshman dorm: roommate, cinder block walls, loud AC unit, muggy as hell (the dehumidifier they just bought collects TWO GALLONS of water a day), and his bed is all the way lofted. You cannot sit up in bed at all. You're like 18 inches from the ceiling. It is like living in a prison cell. A humid, humid prison cell.
So, naturally, Home--my parents' house--is where my mind wistfully wandered.
Except that "Home" doesn't feel right anymore either. It has actually just started to feel like "my parents' house." Sure, it's familiar and the couch is comfy and the sink is deep and the counter space is fantastic and Mom's cooking is delicious and my room is clean (mostly because I don't live there anymore) and I can sit up in my bed, but...I don't know. It doesn't feel like a place where my soul is relaxed and snuggled up in a blanket anymore. It feels a little bit empty.
Although I'd give anything to be there now, of course. I really miss my family. I miss Mom's cooking and our inside jokes and her just "GETTING" me. I miss hearing Daddy's newest philosophical and political insights and going to the antique store with him and letting him show me his latest woodworking project. I haven't seen my sister in...a really long time. I don't even know when I saw her last. She pretty much just stays at college. She doesn't even respond to my texts, much less text me on her own.
But anyway. "Anne of Green Gables" made my heart and my throat ache with homesickness. And then my brain engaged and snorted at me: Homesick? For where? Where is your home? And I didn't even know what to say.
My parents' house isn't Home anymore, and yet, I can't imagine feeling at home without my parents. This whole semester I've been excited to graduate and make my own "home": an apartment with all my books and my clothes and kitchen utensils where I cook food and watch TV and sleep and live real life. I've been so ready and so excited to make my own home.
But now I'm afraid that nowhere will ever feel like home, that I am incapable of creating "Home" by myself. I don't know how to do that. I'm afraid I'll always be a little homesick.
And I just started crying, right there in the play, right there in the dark theater house.
I'm not crying anymore, but I do feel lost and confused. What does Home really mean, anyway? Where Gem is? Where my books are? Where the damn couch cushions don't scoot out?
If I ever figure it out, I'm sure I'll let you know.
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