The Prodigal Daughter Returns

I spent three weeks at home reconnecting with my family.  I, who has always valued family above friends, because one is constant, and the other comes and goes, respectively, had to reconnect with my family.  It was always my friends who had “messed up families” and group therapy sessions, not me.  I had dysfunctional friendships, but not a dysfunctional family.

It was a surreal feeling returning home after a year of absence.  Even though I have lived across the country from my family for years, I have always returned home every 6 months for at least two weeks.  It often feels like a double life, because I get to forget about my grandiose artistic career, and focus on smaller, community based responsibilities that I have been committed to for years in my hometown.  But, I enjoy shedding one character for the other.  The change infuses life into each version of myself.

During this homecoming, everything somehow seemed foreign yet familiar at the same time.  Small changes like a new highway sign, or a new business popped out at me immediately as my Mom and I rode the highway towards my childhood home together, making small talk.  I felt an overwhelming pressure suffocating me, and had goals to accomplish on my trip.  After the hit and run accident, my family and I didn’t get along, to put it mildly.  I felt rejected by them, and they felt extremely confused by my thoughts and emotions.  I felt they treated me as if I had decided to become a drug-addicted prostitute, and when my mom came to save me, I told her to “fuck off.”  Really, I think seeing me and my life so irrevocably damaged was just too overwhelming, and we coped by keeping one another at a distance.

We had many discussions, yelling matches, and explosions of emotions ricocheting off walls and out the windows for the neighbors to bear witness when I was home.  While I found myself vindicated after a self-imposed trial in front of a few of my extended members of the family, my mom and I remained at a drastic impasse.  We teetered on the painfully sharp edge of leaving each others life indefinitely.  But in the midst of all this pain, all the unforgivable words that left me feeling hollow, as if she had reached inside me and pulled out my innards, the pounding of my own fists on my chest, until welts were raised as I begged for an open ear, something happened.  It wasn’t a click really.  It came about slowly, and unnoticed like a fog, but with clarity.  Something changed between us.  Despite everything, the common ground between us remained.  We each thought the other did not want them in their lives.  But we did.  We do.

Adult relationships are so complicated, and I don’t think I have ever felt a more stark example of coming of age.  My mom and I recommitted to a new relationship with one another.  At first, she was hesitant, and dismissive, questioning why we should have to “fight” for our relationship, as I declared was necessary.  I told her that I didn’t know why, but it was worth it.  She is my mom, I am her only child.  We are not simply two ships passing in the night, or two strangers who get to choose whether or not to be in one another’s life.  We owe it to our past twenty five years of experiences, love and growth to stick it out, and find new, continuous ways to experience, love and grow together.

Cheers,

The ever-evolving, QuarterCentenarianAbroad

September. 2014.

In the Autumn of My Life

A few days ago at home, I found myself driving on the freeway, with leaves rushing in the wind towards my car.  It became a constant barrage of leaves of all shades landing for an instant on my windshield before being deflected back into the wind.  I realized I was behind a landscaping truck. 

But more importantly, I realized the symbolism of these leaves was so apropos to my life.  I was about to face a great challenge by returning home after a year of absence filled with physical, mental and emotional challenges that led to familial strife in an otherwise tight-knit family.

Children are returning to school, and I am reminded of my own emotions facing the Autumn school beginning.  The feelings of change, and renewal, as well as the daunting feeling of the unknown events of the year to come.  I remember the air gaining a chill, and a crispness that felt clean, and to me, like the promise of a fresh start.  I found it exhilarating, but hard to let go of my favorite time of year, Summer.  I have always had trouble accepting change.  

This is an Autumn of my life.  

When I arrived home, the leaves were even beginning to change.  I could see their green fading into bronze on the trees, as we whooshed down the highway from the airport to my old home.  Everything around me seemed so foreign, yet familiar.  It is such a strange feeling to be somewhere which was always such a constant, and yet to take in so much change.  But it isn’t just the outward change that is jarring, but the inward change of my family members, and of myself.  I am also staggered by the lack of change, mostly for the negative.  

This is a journey in itself.  Yes, I am traveling, but the outward travel is far less important than the inward travel.  For the first time, I feel like an adult returning home.  I miss so much of the past, but it is gone.  Now I have to decide what is left here in my hometown, with my family, and is worth fighting for.

 

It is all so surreal, but I am somehow taking it in stride, the way each individual leaf on a tree grows, flourishes with the sun and the rain, and then so beautifully accepts the change of the season, until it is cast to the wind, to start a new adventure.  One. Moment. At. A. Time.

Cheers,

QuarterCentenarianAbroad

 

August. East Coast, USA. 2014.

In the Autumn of My Life

A few days ago at home, I found myself driving on the freeway, with leaves rushing in the wind towards my car.  It became a constant barrage of leaves of all shades landing for an instant on my windshield before being deflected back into the wind.  I realized I was behind a landscaping truck. 

But more importantly, I realized the symbolism of these leaves was so apropos to my life.  I was about to face a great challenge by returning home after a year of absence filled with physical, mental and emotional challenges that led to familial strife in an otherwise tight-knit family.

Children are returning to school, and I am reminded of my own emotions facing the Autumn school beginning.  The feelings of change, and renewal, as well as the daunting feeling of the unknown events of the year to come.  I remember the air gaining a chill, and a crispness that felt clean, and to me, like the promise of a fresh start.  I found it exhilarating, but hard to let go of my favorite time of year, Summer.  I have always had trouble accepting change.  

This is an Autumn of my life.  

When I arrived home, the leaves were even beginning to change.  I could see their green fading into bronze on the trees, as we whooshed down the highway from the airport to my old home.  Everything around me seemed so foreign, yet familiar.  It is such a strange feeling to be somewhere which was always such a constant, and yet to take in so much change.  But it isn’t just the outward change that is jarring, but the inward change of my family members, and of myself.  I am also staggered by the lack of change, mostly for the negative.  

This is a journey in itself.  Yes, I am traveling, but the outward travel is far less important than the inward travel.  For the first time, I feel like an adult returning home.  I miss so much of the past, but it is gone.  Now I have to decide what is left here in my hometown, with my family, and is worth fighting for.

 

It is all so surreal, but I am somehow taking it in stride, the way each individual leaf on a tree grows, flourishes with the sun and the rain, and then so beautifully accepts the change of the season, until it is cast to the wind, to start a new adventure.  One. Moment. At. A. Time.

Cheers,

QuarterCentenarianAbroad

 

August. East Coast, USA. 2014.

A Paris, Dans Mes Rêves

I greatly miss the City of Light.  I miss being able to go to someone who is an expert in every piece of food you could desire.  I suppose it seems tedious to Americans, but I saw a great quaintness to the practice of going to la fromagerie for my cheese, la boulangerie for my bread, le magasin de fruit et légumes for my fruit and vegetables, le marchand de vins for my wine, et la pâtisserie for my sweets.  It’s those simple things that stay with me after I travel.  Of course, I remember La Tour Eiffel and La Notre Dame in all their gargantuan grace, but it is the little things that are nearly intangible and define a culture that left the greatest imprint on me.     

So, this is how I find myself in my small, private side yard, so reminiscent of a European patio that it convinced me to take the apartment, with a glass of Bordeaux in my hand, a plate of brie, a baguette, and a cigarette, so desperate to reconnect with my literary self reborn a year ago in Paris.  It was in Paris that I learned how to write without pressure.  To write for me.  My degree in English Literature forced me to always be writing for something or someone.  While I felt myself occasionally getting lost in my assignments, and at times finding pride in my words, I was mostly on a mission to complete an assignment, bank the grade, and get outside, or to a party.  

I would never dream of writing with a glass of wine for an assignment that needed to be turned in, but in Paris I learned that sipping and savoring a Bordeaux was a gateway to letting the words flow.  It was Paris that taught me discipline and creativity can coincide, that one does not have to squelch the other.  I learned to write nightly, with abandon, and yet the lack of care proffered superior writing.  Over a nice Bordeaux and my latest cheese trial, I found my inner self.  I am one who thrives in solitude and reflection, especially in the wee hours of the morning.  

I see the world in colors and swirls of movement, like a Monet painting in which everything bleeds together, and yet is one.  My words come from me in some combination of a flowing waltz and a pop and lock street dance, like halting hiccups in which I can see what I feel, and search for the letters to string together into words, into sentences, into meaning, for everyone else.  I hope I am succeeding.    

 

Cheers,

QuarterCentenarianAbroad