I’ve been home (in Japan) for 2 weeks now, which is as long as I was home (in Utah).
A lot can happen in two weeks.
(But you know this).
When I moved to Spain, then back to Salt Lake, I had this unshakable transitory feeling. Madrid was not my home, not my place, but after living there for almost a year, I couldn’t fit back in to the Wasatch Front so easily, either.
It took me over a year of being “home” again to feel that I belonged, to form new friendships and shed old ones, move out of my Moms’ basement (the infamous “Shame-ber“) and build a life for myself, something I could hold up to the light and recognize. Something to call my own.
And then I went and threw everything back into the blender, like I do. As my mom pointed out, “For somebody who doesn’t deal well with change, you sure do go putting yourself at the center of it a lot.”
What can I say? I never learn, or I learn too late.
(Too late to say I’m sorry).
Now nowhere feels like home, again. So I must make a home for myself, inside. Like Gwen, I will “find myself as something that was stronger than anything anyone else could give me.”
Last summer, not 10 miles out on I-80, heading west towards the Monterey Bay, I wrote:
What is that feeling? That feeling of not enough, of missing someone in advance, while they’re still with you, on when they’ve only been gone from your life for an hour or two.
Because you know how long it will be, you know–or think you know–the future, and all the pain it holds. Fists balled up and eyes squeezed tight in anticipation of some future want, some acutely foreseen longing.
Really, the distance is not so far, from here to home. Nothing insurmountable.
So goodbye for now, and until next time.
Thanks for all the memories.
There are times in my life when I am happy. Content. Okay with the natural ebb and flow of things and the inherent flotsam and jetsam. I find beauty in it, even, in apple cores and a sticky knife resting lazily on the kitchen counter…in laundry hanging to dry in the window, or draped over a chair…the mundane messiness of life glides by me, as I swim strongly towards bigger and bolder goals.
Other times…I am consumed by the details, enervated by the ephemera, unhinged by an unmade bed or pile of clothes on the floor or (let’s be honest) Chad’s side of the closet.
But, also, I’m bothered by the feeling that the loose ends won’t ever come together. That perfection will always be out of my reach, and I see the mess around me as a reflection of my inner failings and turmoil, my inability to get. it. together.
(“You’re 27 now,” I tell myself, as though there is any other timeline for figuring things out than as you’re able).
But I want to let go. I WANT TO LET GO!!! I want to shout it, and not care if I’m too loud, not care if I eat cereal for dinner, not worry about my long-suffering thighs, not avoid doing things (like writing, or blogging, or organizing my workspace) because I’m intimidated by my own standard of cold, hard perfection. To the point of paralysis.
No more, I say! Good day to you, sir! I’m off to eat sushi, having accomplished a fair amount of things, knowing that there’s more to do later, and tomorrow, and the next day, and that I’ll do it just like that. One step at a time.
As I’m able.
I Once Was Lost But Now Am Loster
God Bless America
First meal stateside, PDX. Followed by a mocha, of which I drank maybe a third. Bought a book from Powell’s (Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird) and felt more myself than I had in a long time–reading about writing, thinking about reading and writing, writing about thinking and reading and writing. Also buzzed on northwest caffeine.
Jet. Lag. Stayed up til 2 the first night, slept til noon. All of the no-nos, all of the puffiness and confusion.
Sammy and Kendra’s wedding. Only as stressful as to be expected, and also: beautiful, intimate, simple, funny, light-hearted, warm and easy. I played viola and made a toast to the best of my abilities. Little brother is married, and a step-father. What a world.
Weddings on the brain. Every time I go to the bathroom in my Moms’ house, I see this. I miss this guy. I miss this wedding.
Burritos on the brain, and in the tummy. All I wanted for the first week.
Runners under the spotlight, 4:45am, waiting for our 6am start to the Deseret News Pioneer Day 1/2 Marathon. So many fit people, so little sleep, so much time to wait.
Pioneer Day / Pie and Beer day. Sparkling with close friends, not making a big deal, but having a great deal of fun.
Coffee and pie. To-do lists. Writing. Emails. Catching up. Mornings alone, at B&J’s, watering plants and easing into the day. Sometimes eager, sometimes anxious. Always slow and steady.
Family time. Sister sleepover. Sharing a bed with Natalie, and all we did was read, then sleep. Sometimes, just being together is the thing. And afterwords you have lovely toenails.
Pool days with Espy, burgers at B & D’s. Getting tan, reading books. It’s a lot like last summer, only completely different.
* * *
The thing about being a sensie (one who is sensitive, in all respects), is that life tends to overwhelm me. It floods me with feelings, thoughts, ideas, emotions, worries, and wonder. It takes me a long time to understand what I feel, to “process.” I tend to dwell on the past, to try to understand. I tend to feel swamped by the present, and anxious about the future. I tend to take a while to get from one place to another, needing to swim through an ocean of tears as I adjust to even the smallest changes.
And, oh, it gets old.
Being home is great, and it is not great. Because it is home, and it is not home. If home is where the heart is, then my heart is split into dozens of pieces. My heart is in Salt Lake, and Ogden, and California, and Brooklyn. My heart is in Anchorage. A big chunk of it is in Tokyo, Japan. We were just getting settled there, just starting to feel at home in our apartment and our routine, starting to make friends and have regular hangouts, and explore Japan a bit. I was finally not homesick.
But now I am home again, except that home is no longer home, no longer even a fixed place, but an ever-moving target and I am slow to adjust. The most confusing to my head and heart.
The food, however, is amazing.
We live in an apartment on the fourth floor of a pink building with a dinosaur on the side. He’s a mascot for the laundromat downstairs.
Next door is a “Girl’s Bar,” in a black building so close you could reach out our bedroom window and touch it. Must be a tame locale–we’ve never heard any music, laughter, or shouting.
Just around the corner is a blue building with an Okinawan food restaurant, where we speak Spanish to our Japanese waitress.
There’s a partially-covered highway just down the street, and we use it as a landmark on our long, winding runs. A sort of homing device.
We’re about 2 blocks away from Makuharihongo station, and at night we can hear the trains passing in the near distance, going “shk-shk-shk.”
Across the street is a French-style bakery named Elefante, where we get sandwiches for picnics with friends, or sweet buns and pastries on lazy weekend mornings.
There’s a grocery store, a convenience store, a dollar store and a discount liquor mart, all within a one-block radius.
It’s a small, sleepy commuter suburb, but it has everything we need. It’s our little corner of the world, and it’s perfect.
* * *
“I could go forever with a car, the open road, good music, and good company”
Do you remember when you said that if all we had was a bed and music, we could have an amazing time?
But we also have coffee–sometimes fancy (with maximum adjectives), sometimes simple (black). Sometimes instant, after a nap or with our sunlight closet kitchen breakfasts.
And we have amazing friends, from all over the world. Friends who make us P-shaped sofa beds to sleep on after arriving in the middle of the night–post-party–after 13 hours of driving. Friends who make speeches, or take us to a private beach, or get us tipsy on champagne on a sunny winter’s afternoon.
We have words, too, and crosswords, and we divide and conquer, for maximum fun. We have a new-found sense of comfort around each other, so that just as the faint worry forms itself in my mind (“What if we just sit here and eat in silence like all the saddest couples?”), it is obliterated by how utterly easy it is to be around you.
We have a ukulele! We lose entire mornings to it, burn through lazy afternoons and surprise each other with our sweet-yet-simple, earnest efforts to plunk out a tune. So we do have music, but now we make music, too.
We have snacks for days, and sometimes we have meals. We cook together, and sometimes we say “Fuck it,” and get take-out, and it feels like the most fun, the most giddy and indulgent thing. It feels like milk and cookies with a friend after school. It feels like a sleepover. Like no parents no rules.
And we have sunshine. We have sunshine in our hearts, and warming our scalps, and electrifying our pulses, and we have it in the kitchen, and coming in through the wintery west windows, and in the middle of December. We have easy sunsets on the conversation-fueled charges from Utah to California and back, and we have a steady, stealthy sunrise as we pull into the City of Salt, 8am, 13 hours weary but ready to keep going.
We do a loop around the valley. We arrive back home exhausted, thrilled, enamored.
* * *
So yes, music and a bed would be enough. But we have so, so much more.
I’m really into yellow lately–yellow nap blankets, yellow squash from the garden, new yellow pillows from Lindsey.
It just seems a more Fall way to be, yellow. The whole turquoise and bright red thing is too young and optimistic. It’s too summery.
Now turquoise and YELLOW, well…that is some adult shit right there. That is reading Nora Ephron in my own apartment with an afghan draped over my business casual wear.
I am on a plane right now as you read this, headed west. One last dose of sunshine while it is raining and September-perfect in Salt Lake, and then home again. New and improved.