Monday, March 3, 2014

old friend from far away v2 :: pulled between two places.

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In a whirlwind in 2010, I “eloped” and honeymooned for a week, returned to Georgia and immediately made the solo five and a half hour trek to my new home in Raleigh, North Carolina.  The following day, I started a new career with no friends and no family close by.  Between week days at my new job, I drove back to Georgia for the following three weekends to plan and throw our wedding party.  D finally joined me in North Carolina a week later.  Suffice it to say, this was one of the most stressful times in my life.  Getting married, starting a new job (and career path), and moving are some of the most draining (albeit exciting) changes that occur in life.  What were we thinking packing them all into one month?

I was only thinking about leaving.  Prior to meeting and falling in love with D in 2005, I had been antsy to escape from Georgia.  You see, I never really left my home town.  I was lucky enough to have an amazing college right outside the city where I grew up, and I had a young sister whom I wanted to stay close enough to visit often.  After a couple years, these decisions left me feeling trapped.  For me, there was nothing worse than living life as an adult in the same town where I grew up. It took five more years for me to finally move away from the only state I had ever called home.

I now call two places home, North Carolina and Georgia.  My family home is still in Georgia.  Since most of my life was spent there, that place is filled with mixed memories.  Over time people and families evolve; we go through ups and downs.  While, I have fabulous memories of college days spent with great friends, these reflections are balanced with remnants of conflict and arguments with overbearing parents.  Holidays brought good times, but the past few years have been overshadowed with stress and anxiety.  I always love seeing my grandma, and I know she adores having me visit.  It’s nice to catch up with family and just be together since the distance separates us.  There is never a time that I regret making the trek to Georgia to see my best friends even though it rarely happens.  D and I met and started our relationship in Georgia.  We built a family of friends through D’s first post-college job that we always love visiting.  My heart always feels conflicted and torn between emotions in this state.

My life in NC is choke full of great, happy memories.  We started our married life in Raleigh.  D and I bought our first home here.  This is the place where I began to call myself a runner.  I’ve grown-up and evolved, to the point that I believe I truly know myself.  Alternately, Raleigh is also the place where I have very few friends, especially “close” friends.  It’s taken the fours years I’ve been here to acquire those people I do consider close.  I have gone through three jobs in four years which brought much stress, anxiety, and sadness.  Somehow the great parts of living in North Carolina completely outweigh the difficult times.  My years in my new home coincide with what I feel have been some of the most transformative, best years of my life.  In turn, a special bond has grown between Raleigh and myself.

Do I love my North Carolina home more than I love my Georgia home that is filled with family and friends?  It so often feels that way.  This feeling leaves me conflicted.  These days the trips home are regularly filled with stress and anxiety.  Many times I feel so different from my family members.  Nonetheless, this is my family.  I am supposed to want to see them; however I’m often left feeling like it is a one-way street.  The responsibility seems to be in my hands to make the calls, the trips, the plans.  There is still the love, the pull, that continues to send me down to Georgia.  My sisters who are still so young, even if they seemingly want to have little to do with me.  There’s the pain of thinking that my family believes I ran away and abandoned them.  Did I?  North Carolina currently holds my heart, my happiness.  There is very little pain here, even though it may not always stay that way.  The is my conflict between my homes.  The battle that leaves me feeling guilty and torn.  

Thank you again to Megan for the "old friend" prompts.  It's been amazing writing about real things from my heart.  Volume one of my Old Friend From Far Away essays can be found here.  


Unknown said...

I think it's totally possible to feel as if you have two homes - one you prefer over the other (you know me) but the old saying home is where the heart is stands true to me. And I think that given your experience in Raleigh - and the wonderful things that have happened here - you shouldn't feel guilty, ever.

Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion said...

I definitely still consider Virginia home, even though I haven't lived there full-time since high school. It means something very different to me than Chicago...memories, lifelong friends, family, nostalgia. Where I live now means the future, new relationships, and moving forward in my career. I don't think you have to feel guilty for seeing the two places differently and acknowledging both positive and negative aspects of them. The fact that they're different doesn't mean that one is 100% better or worse!

Dawn said...

I've been skimming through several of your older posts, but I wanted to let you know that this one really resonated with me. I, too, feel like I call two places "home." I grew up in southwest Iowa, which is where my entire family (both my mom's and my dad's side) lives. When I was 20, I transferred to Purdue University and began my life in Indiana. That was five years ago. Since then, I've graduated college, gotten an apartment, and started an adult job. I have friends here, and a life in Indianapolis that I never thought I would be involved in. Sure, I go "home," at the end of the day, but it's still ... not Iowa, if that makes sense. I spent so much of my formative years there that it is hard to let go. Iowa will always be where my family is, where I formulated my opinions, where I learned ABOUT myself. But it wasn't until I left, it wasn't until I started my life 10 hours away from my hometown that I began to learn about WHO I was. Thank you for this raw post. Again, it resonated with my own heart, which sometimes is still confused as to where it should be.


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