June 18th 2017 was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the sun shone indifferently through the wispiest clouds. I remember the sky that day – deep piercing blue, radiant, untouchable. Not giving a shit.
I dropped my best friend off at the airport and in his hug I already felt the tears coming; he had helped me move to my new city and was now flying back home, leaving me to deal with the achingly inevitable process of adapting to a whole new place all by myself (which was 100% my own decision). I drove back from Baltimore, My Chemical Romance blaring from my stereo but me being too numb to perform my usual singalong, and as I pulled up to the HomeGoods parking lot I knew I was about to make the Niagara Falls jealous – half a second after I applied the parking brake my eyes spilled over the pooled tears of someone as lost as a puppy in a new home, a feeling of desolation so powerful it was like God had personally reached a hand down and pushed me into a hole 3 miles deep into the Earth.
The memory is mostly of the feeling – the more I cried the more I realized I was crying as if I had something to expel, something to stream off of me, as if I wasn’t just crying tears but actually crying my heart out. I’m talking about crying so violently it was more like I was attempting to create a new river, river Me.
I’m not a crier. I’d moved by myself before. In less prepared situations, to places I wasn’t even looking forward to. People who know me know me to have an easygoing mood and a smile on my lips at like all times but not many really see this side of me (aren’t we always hiding the bad parts?), the terrified as shit little girl who stops once a year (give or take) to fervently question her life choices and physically accept them as they are. I don’t know that I’d ever been so scared. It was the start to my new, real, out of college, unsheltered life. It was the hardest part of the journey: the beginning. How do you just put on your shoes and start walking in a different direction without a map and scratched up sunglasses on and at best wearing some wavering courage?
I didn’t know then the first 3 miles of a marathon are always the worst, just like the first 3 days in a new city paralyze you with overwhelming feelings and the first 3 shots taste the most awful. I might’ve felt mature then but I swear I knew nothing. I cried just as excessively the following two days. I got home from pretty awesome first days of work to my semi empty, box-full, small as hell studio with so much potential and cried to my air mattress as if the future of all living animals on the planet depended on how much water I gave them. I was sobbing so loudly I might’ve been confused for the nearby firehouse, had someone been listening closely. It was the feeling of someone who had hit rock bottom, with no way to climb back up and a dense flow of ice cold water dropping upon their head.
I tell you this because on day 4 I was smiling. What felt like the end of the world just twelve hours prior was now, well, nothing. I didn’t even have one trace of that terrible ache that had attacked me, that deep overwhelm that had claimed half a tube of mascara; the storm had passed and the waves were good for surfing again. No more tsunami. All had been washed away. Which I guess is the whole point of reaching a breakdown point – so you can break through and keep going.
Pack up, unpack, decorate, move, remove, redecorate, pack up again, move, unpack. Some people have less expensive, less taxing addictions. To each their own. I’m not gonna cry about this apartment – moving out of here just made me think of all the tears I shed back then as I close this door smiling, ready, reaching, itching to continue my journey where there are no beginnings and no ends, just the long walk to some not yet known destination.
Maybe home isn’t just the hearthy house but it’s the collection of all the people and places you’ve given a piece of your heart to, never all together except in your love and your constant feeling of yep, this is where I belong, everywhere at once, in different places, at different times.
“I’d rather be this walking metamorphosis
than having that same old formed opinion about everything”. (Raul Seixas)