I am freaking out. I AM FREAKING OUT.
I loved you once. I loved you with all I had, and maybe it wasn’t enough, or maybe it wasn’t what you wanted, or maybe it wasn’t what you thought love should be. But I loved you still. You took everything, and even as I stood there before you, broken and empty, you asked for more. What I couldn’t give, you stole. But I loved you still. When the only thing you gave in return was sharp and cutting, carving a map of scars. Always asking for forgiveness. For blindness. Ripping out my pages, setting fire to my words. But I loved you still. As you turned softness into jagged edges. sweet into bitter. Mystery to mistrust. Memories into dust. But I loved you still. Even as I watched you poison the water and bring it to me in a gilded cup. ‘drink this’ you said and I did. Because I loved you still. And when I showed you inside, my foundation crumbling, my walls black with rot, you shrugged. ‘no one else will treat you like I do.’
I loved you once.
I am a wanderer. Little wanderings, big ones, it’s always been a part of my life, my choices.
But man, it was way easier being nomadic before there were kids. less responsibilities. less worry. less stuff. And definitely less guilt. The boys have forced me to be more settled and grounded but I have always followed my own path. For better or worse. I don’t suppose I can stop now. So why keep fighting it?
It’s been a year. Time enough to reflect. I’m satisfied with my decision to move. I did what I needed.
Yet, my return trips to Boston always leave me twisted, muddled, thinking “do I miss it? Do I want to go back? Did I choose wrong?”
Before I say yes, there are a few things to consider.
Every time I go back I feel neither happy nor sad. I can get awful nostalgic about that city, sure. but I get nostalgic over a fucking bottle of water, so that doesn’t mean much. Nostalgia is burned in my bones.
It’s true though, that I enjoy my time there. I find a fair bit of longing going on, some quiet pining, but I also experience waves of relief that I no longer live there. Big intense pleasing waves.
So no, I don’t regret leaving (or at least not more than the normal, near-constant level of regret I feel in all aspects of my life) and I think moving here was the thing I needed to do. And I did it.
Like my visits to Boston, I’m neither happy nor unhappy here. Content, I think. Not a relaxed-deep-sigh kind of content but a settling-for-now kind.
But something feels unfinished in Boston. There’s a nagging tug. I’ve been struggling to find what it is exactly, put my finger on it, grab it, reel it in. It has eluded me.
Only now, well, I’m starting to make out the shapes a bit. Could be that this sense of incompleteness comes not from Boston per se but my own life. I left Boston for a reason (okay, reasons) and I’m still working those out, a year later, so what feels unfinished is maybe just me. What needs to be “finished” isn’t necessarily in Boston. Those trips are reminding me that I’m still looking for that ending. Ending isn’t the right word. Closure? Not quite.
Besides, if there is unfinished business there, it’ll work itself out in time.
A more pressing problem I need to address is that I don’t feel like my life here belongs to me. While I’ve always sort of operated up in the ether, I find myself lost among my familiar. I’m aimless shiftless tideless motionless. I am standing still. And I need to be going forward, or backward, movement of some kind. all this standing still stuff is making me weak and brittle and tired and apathetic.
I love this town but it’s very much a standing still kind of town. A lazy town. The sun. The heat. Time forgets itself here in the desert. You’ll forget more than you remember and forget that you’ve forgotten.
I came here because I needed that. Some down time. To recharge. focus. reconnect. Tap into the deep pool from which I came. Stop, rest, get off the path for a bit.
I’m ready though. To dry off and figure out which way to go next. I could stay here. It would be easy. But I can’t. It’s killing me. In Boston my life was mine, I made that life, it didn’t just happen. I crafted it, flaws and all. As a result, I felt more at home in my own skin than I have anywhere else.
But here I feel like I’m not the Christa I actually am. I’m the christa of this town, and she’s not me. She’s the Christa that has always been and always will be here, no matter what. The skin I slip on when I get here, it always fits, but it’s not the skin I want, it’s not the skin I made for myself, it hasn’t adapted to my curves and angles and scars, it is too tight in some places, sagging in others. It’s my life but it’s not my life. If the thread of our future exists here, I can’t find it. I’m not sure I even want to.
So I know I can’t stay. I love it here, like I love my family. It’s a part of me and I’m a part of it. But I cannot stay. I need to be free. Of the Christa that lives here. Shed this skin, leave it behind. I know it’ll always be ready for me to pick up and put back on when I need it.
And I want to let go of the anger. Maybe it’ll be easier for me to do that in a new place, somewhere fresh, neutral, with no history, no secrets, no hiding spots or land mines.
I know what they’ll say. It’s what they always say. I’m unstable. I’m a flake. I’m selfish. I run away from problems. I hide. I withdraw. I act on impulse. I’m immature.
And you know what? It’s true. I get it. I am those things, I do those things. But see, I’m not embarrassed about it. I don’t feel bad about being who I am. Whatever troubled me there continues to trouble me here and will trouble me at the next place. Of course I know this.
But I am what I am and I do what I do and that’s just how it goes. If I’m chasing it or its chasing me, doesn’t matter. Because I like it. It is what makes me feel alive. Worthwhile. NORMAL. No one has to live my life or wear these clothes or be in this head. Let them have their worries and their judgments and their criticisms.
One more year. Then we move. I have a little time to figure out where, get the funds to do it, and then make it happen. Can’t doubt or question or fret or let the guilt eat me. Just gotta keep this train going. Choo choo. All aboard. Etc.