Walking down my New York City neighborhood street, I inhale the crisp fall air as deeply as I can and slowly let it go. Every touch of anxiety leaves my body as confidence and intention fill the void. God, it feels good to be home again.
Just five days earlier, I expected similar relief as I arrived at my southern childhood home for the Thanksgiving holiday. For years this place brought me a sense of grounding, a reminder of who I was when the insanity of my new urban dwelling deprived me of all energy and understanding. But it seems as though that connection is fading faster than I ever thought possible. Where I’m supposed to feel the most like myself, I now feel the most lost. I’m the stranger standing in my parents’ living room desperately connecting with past memories that seem irrelevant in the present to everyone else. I no longer fit into the perfectly framed photograph that is this family. Because I’m the one who left.