Spring break is officially in full swing, and I am finally settling back into home life in Tennessee. I decided not to take a big senior trip. The available options were less than appealing, and time with my family seemed a wiser, less expensive, option.
I think it’s true what they, whoever “they” happen to be, say about never being able to go home. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in my own house with my mom and dad, dogs, and cat who I miss very much when I am away at school, and I love sleeping on a real memory foam bed rather than an old mattress on the floor of a loft, and eating food that actually tastes like food. These things all are wonderful and much welcomed after a hectic first half of the semester at school. It’s just the world that exists outside of this little sanctuary that I find I have an increasingly hard time handling.
As I have mentioned, I was raised in a very small, southern town for much of my life (we moved here when I was around four or so). It is a typical example of the genre, I would suspect: slow, boring, lacking in cultural exposure, pretty heavy on the Protestant Christianity. I am definitely not knocking small towns and the elements that go with. It works for many people across the country, but it was never for me. I guess I am the cliché small-town girl who was born with the bright lights of the big city in her eyes.
Before I left for school, it was hard to live in this town, but I coped with it pretty well. I must have spent a large portion of my high school years with headphones on, buried in issues of Vogue, and watching the Travel channel. I was also lucky to be born to parents and socialized in a circle that are fairly au courant and erudite. It helped when I could escape into that little haven. Although I can remember spending a great deal of energy hating and distancing myself mentally from this place, it seems like it was easier to be here then than it is now although I only come to visit for relatively short periods these days.
When I go around town, I think I unintentionally see a lot of memories from what seems like a completely different life that I would just rather put to rest for good. They belong to a completely different form of myself that is long gone. I feel like such an alien to the life and pace of this town, even more so than I did as a child and adolescent.
So the prodigal malcontent returns to find she has been bumped to foreigner status. I suppose this is what I have always wanted, what I have always lusted for. Plans to leave, put my large ideas of cultivation into action, and shake any lingering association with this place had been in my brain since its psychological development allowed cognizance of the external world surrounding me. A chance to be the ultimate of antipodes and return even more the strange stranger than I had dreamt of being all my life was all I really ever wanted in those days. It worked, and while I am happy with it, it makes it all the more difficult to return. When the edges of a square peg are sharpened, it just makes it even less likely to fit into that proverbial round hole.