I wrote a more upbeat post for today and trashed it. My heart wasn’t in it and my mind was elsewhere.
You probably saw my tweets yesterday whining about going home. It’s hard to explain where I’m coming from and I don’t expect a lot of people to understand. For such a homebody, I sure do complain a lot about it. It’s a lot more complicated than that, though. There’s a difference between where I technically am from and where I feel like I belong.
Whenever I go home, I’m filled with a wide range of emotions. Obviously it’s nice to see my family, sleep in the bed I grew up in, eat home cooked meals, and spend time on the couch with my parents. Having internet and television and not having to use a semi-public shower isn’t so bad, either.
Why, then, do I start crying the minute I see the welcome to NH sign? Why does all of the anxiety that I work so hard to get rid of all summer come flooding back the minute I have to think about going back to the town I grew up in? Why does it not feel like home?
I can answer all of these questions with one phrase. My eating disorder. I left my town in my worst state. I went to a place that I felt safe, happy, comfortable, and confident enough to allow myself to recover. In the past, I’ve always retreated right back into my old habits of restriction and/or compulsive exercise. Now that I’m in a much better mindset and have since recovered from the disorder, you would think those anxious feelings would have subsided, but they haven’t. I no longer go home and revert back to old habits, but I still have a very negative view of my town.
I did a really great job at staying busy over Christmas break this past winter, the longest I’d been home since my disorder was at its worst. I got through the first month of summer by traveling between Rhode Island, my happy place, and my house in NH, so that I never felt trapped in that place again. It brings back a rush of emotions about my senior year in high school that I don’t want to repeat.
I came home last night after dinner and while I didn’t have any of the eating disorder thoughts, I still wasn’t happy. I was counting down the hours until I’d be back at the boat again, trying to figure out how to spend the least amount of time here possible. I know I make it sound all bad, and it isn’t. I have friends here, but they’re all back at school already. I love my zumba instructor, but she’s away. I’m only home for 24 hours and then I’m back in Rhode Island for three more days. Technically after that I’ll have one more night at my house in NH before I leave for school, but I’m even trying to convince my parents to let me stay on the boat instead of coming back here before we go.
It’s hard for them to understand, I think. They don’t see the anxious feelings I have. I get restless here even though I can go wherever I want. I’m no more tied down than I am anywhere else. I have a really hard time calling NH “home.” It isn’t home to me. Rhode Island is my home now. It makes sense, since I’m there for the three months of the year I’m not at school. I’ve created a life there, even if it is a little atypical and my “friends” are people who work at the marina or my coworkers. It’s the place I love and have continued to grow and find who I am.
They say home is where the heart is. And while my house may be in New Hampshire, my home is in Rhode Island.
Do you have a place that feels more like “home” than anywhere else, even if it isn’t necessarily where your house is?