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Homelessness

Home. A place of belonging. Where you feel like you’re most yourself. A sense of security and comfort.

I’m 35 years old and I have no idea where home is. Right now, the overwhelming thing I feel is just lost.  I feel adrift. I have no sense of what anything is right now.

I’m sure part of that is related to my parents divorce. Part of that is because I just moved cross country. Part of it because I don’t have a job. Part of that is because I don’t have a long-term place to stay.

But it feels bigger and deeper than that.

I don’t have any real answers or sense of where I’m going. I don’t know what I want. I just feel adrift.

Maybe that’s a good thing. I have low expectations. I’m willing to go anywhere.

No idea.

Something needs to happen soon. I say that like I have any control over anything. I don’t. But it does. I say that more as a plead, prayer and a desperate cry. Something. I need insight, clarity, wisdom and guidance.

I have moments where I can rest in the knowledge that God will take care of me. I have times when I feel at peace surrounded by his love. I also have moments where this feeling of intense disconnect threatens to choke me.

I’m gonna go eat some chocolate.

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Processing Life

These past few weeks have been difficult.

I’m interviewing for two different jobs. My dad is moving to a new house, so I’ve been helping him pack. I’ve also been traveling 4 hours back and forth from OH to IN to be with my aunt during chemo. Not to mention watching my nephews thrown in along with prepping for a big craft fair this Saturday both by making chocolate for my dad and jewelry for my mom. Oh and my dad had knee surgery today, so I sat at the hospital all day.

I’m exhausted. Emotionally drained. Physically tired. Soul weary.

The weather is turning cold. The skies are grey. The trees are naked and I feel like it all matches my mood right now. I’m on edge. Little things are bugging the crap out of me.

I’m not hopeless. I’m not freaking out about anything. Life is just stressful right now. I also realize that some of this is part of the aftermath of my parent’s divorce. As the oldest child I am now called on to stand in the gap, a lot. There are needs to be met. There are things that need to be done.

I’m also realizing how much of a team married couples are. When one of those people is removed from the equation there is a giant hole. With the move my mom would have packed, organized and transferred all services. My dad is responsible for finding the heavy lifters and getting it all moved. My dad didn’t stop to think about the things my mom usually does. This is just one example of many. As I step in to help I am hit with a wall of sadness and grief. There is a pain in realizing they are no longer a unit.

I could say no. I could walk away. I could draw harsh boundaries but I want to help. I want to encourage. I want to be involved. I just haven’t figured out how to do that and still take care of me yet.

I realize I need more me time. I know I need to find space to rest emotionally and spiritually. It’s just hard right now. I’m shuttling back and forth between my mom’s house and my dad’s house. I’m hoping that if I get the job I want it will buy me some space.

I especially feel responsible because my brother has removed himself completely. That is how he is choosing to cope. To me that is unacceptable. I can’t do that. Perhaps that is because I’m the firstborn and we naturally assume these roles. We naturally feel obligated. We are used to taking the reigns.

So it’s a whole bag of emotions. I need to get them out. I need to release them. Crying is part of it, but I also need to be creative. I think that’s why I’m so irritated right now. I haven’t had the time I want to focus on this show. I have had zero time to take photos. I haven’t been to a museum in a while. There have been no festivals to enjoy. I am also on people overload. As an introvert I need time alone. I have no space to be by myself. I have no space to call my own. I miss all my stuff that has been in boxes for almost two years.

So there’s a lot going on. It’s not life or death and I feel like I should insert some positive thing right here, but I can’t. It would be insincere. It’s not that I don’t feel positive. I can see lots of evidence of God moving in our lives. I feel settled into my skin more now than I ever have before.

It’s just hard right now. I’m jonesing for a trip to CA. I need to be with my peeps. I’m hoping it will work out that I can go for my 35th birthday. We’ll see.

Thoughts About Ohio

Here are my preliminary thoughts and feelings about moving back to Ohio.I was hoping that by going back to the motherland I would feel an overwhelming surge of emotions and answers. I thought that in a flash I would know it all. I know its silly to think that a you’ll just get a feeling and know. I was hoping that would happen so I could just make up my mind already. Instead, I’m a little more pensive and introspective about why I want to go and what that means for my life if I do.

I was able to see the city with new eyes. I hadn’t lived there since I was in the 5th grade, my perspective has changed a bit. For one everything seemed smaller 🙂 It is so different from Orange County and California in general. I mean its slower paced. The roads are smaller. People are friendlier. There is significantly less to do. Everyone owns a house, including teenagers. I mean the cost of real estate is so cheap it makes no sense to own a condo.

The pros and cons on both sides are significant.

I had a great time with my family I usually do. I breeze into town for a few days, have some laughs, and a few special meals later I’m back out. Could I handle being there everyday? My brother said I forgot what its like to be with my parents everyday? I get to see them with their visitor face on. Everyone, including me, is on their best behavior. We do all the big, fun things together. Would I be able to handle the monotony? He is the good child that stuck around and I am the prodigal wanting to go back. I am a novelty in Ohio to my family and other apparently. I even think I’m cuter there. I had guys talking to me all over the place, the supermarket, the airport … then gain maybe that is just friendliness I’m not used to in L.A.

In California I have zero family obligations. I come and go as I please. I haven’t lived near them for 10 years. I think i want to be on the family track – watch my nephews, bring my mom down out of the rafters, talk to my dad about ministry stuff. But daily? I know no one, what kind of life would I have? Most of the people my age are married and living in those inexpensive homes that abound with their 2.5 children. Being single is hard enough, single in the mid-west I think is a whole different type of experience.

I also realized that I can’t move back expecting to have the family I wanted in my childhood. I can’t expect them to suddenly know me, get me and totally understand why I do what I do. I would have to draw serious boundaries. I can’t be the people pleasing teenager I once was, adhering to their ideals of who I should be. But aha, therein lies an important thing – I need to be sure of who I am and what I want.

I have a feeling all of my restlessness will follow me to Ohio. I need to put old demons to rest and be settled in my own skin. Then I can be happy wherever I am.

Family

I’m emptying my brain in this post as I think about family, Ohio, Mexico and my relationships with all those things. Just wanted to warn you that I’m thinking out loud.I leave for Ohio tomorrow. I’m going back to see if I want to live there. Am I ready to leave California, my home for more than 10 years, to be closer to my family? There are so many pros and cons on both sides. My main motivating factor is my nephews. I want to watch them grow up. I also want to recapture a sense of history, connection and family with them. We’ve been very disconnected for a while.

What’s keeping me here is familiarity and great friends. I have an amazing support network that is better than my family most times. I can count on them in every way. I really do love my family, but I wonder if moving back there would slowly suffocate me. Would I really be alone there?

At 18 I left Mexico and moved to So. California for college. I feel like at that moment my parents and I parted ways. In some ways, after that they weren’t really a major part of my life. I’m sure they have a different take on that, but I felt alone. I didn’t realize that going to college made me an instant adult – I think someone forgot to add the magic adult powder to my drink. I feel like I was thrown in the deep end of the pool and told to swim when I didn’t know how. I had to figure out to do everything on my own in a country I hadn’t lived in for years. I was lost.

It’s funny because my dad makes a big deal about Mexicans having an amazing sense of family. Unlike white families they don’t kick their kids out at 18, but are there for them to continue to support and nurture them. That wasn’t my experience. They came to visit me twice in four years. My mom said coming to see me in school made her sad and jealous because she didn’t get that in her life. At 18, she got knocked up with me and had to flush her dreams down the toilet. Isn’t it amazing what sticks in your brain. She probably doesn’t even remember saying that, but I even recall what she was wearing when she said it.

If I wanted to see them I had to go back to Mexico, a place I hated. I didn’t feel like I had a home anywhere. My brother left for a while, but he went back, married a Mexican and has stayed close to my parents ever since. He did it the “right” way. I was the rebellious one. Then again, I left, I didn’t stay close. If I had stayed would they have been more active in my life?

At 18, I don’t know if I wanted to leave my parents as much as I wanted to get the hell out of Mexico. My time there bordered on traumatic. For example, we moved to Mexico and none of us knew how to speak Spanish. As a result, I was put in a lower grade, instead of going into 7th grade I was put into 6th. Now let’s think about this. Most Mexicans are short, so their children are downright diminutive. I am a virtual jolly green giant compared to them. I felt like Billy Madison or Robin Williams in that movie where he ages like 10 years a second. Then there was my favorite, when the teacher, who still blamed the U.S., and therefore me, for stealing Texas and California asked me what it was like to be white. I still don’t know how to answer that? I don’t even have a snappy comeback. Even now as I contemplate that question I just sit with a puzzled look on my face. I can feel my eyebrow furrow as my head cocks to the side and I ponder the implications of that question. What in the world is she talking about?

Why this regression down the highway of hell? I dont’ know. I lost my train of thought and was suddenly catapulted back to standing in front of the classroom trying to defend my forefathers and race, of which I am only half. Should I have offered retribution? Maybe I should have offered to call the president and see what we could do? At 12, I just went to sit down.

My parents were in Mexico on a mission from God. There were a lot of good things about Mexico and our time there, but also enough to shatter our family, we lived an image of what family should be. Acted like we were supposed to. Yet, we lost our ability to be a cohesive unit. We were all individual islands fighting for survival.

I digress. What does living in Ohio mean? Am I giving up my independence? There would have to be some serious boundaries. I just want to be a part of my family again. I want to be a part of the holidays, BBQ’s, I want them in my life. But in some ways when I go back there I become the 18 year old who wants to be protected, loved, supported, nurtured by her parents. I don’t want to be her anymore. I don’t like the role I play there. I want to be the 29 year old, educated, successful woman that I am in CA. Can I be that in Ohio? My family sees me a certain way, I don’t know if I like the image of me that they have. But do I know what they really think?

But again, I have to go to them. I have to do it on their terms. I just broke up with my boyfriend because he only wanted me in his life on his terms. Should I let my family get away with it? What about me and what I want? Problem is, I don’t know what I want or where I want to be.

That’s not entirely true. I want to be loved for me. I want people in my life who seek me out. Who care how I feel and what I think. Thank God for my friends here. They are my family.

 

4 Comments:

Jeremy said…
I think you make a good point about your friends and that they provide you support. As to your question about whether you should hold your family to the same standard as a friend or boyfriend, ehhhhhh …See, you pick your friends. You can’t pick family, and so there’s sometimes a built-in incompatibility that just sucks sometimes. My dad and I get along great as long as we don’t talk about anything that matters to me. I used to be bitter about that, but now I realize it’s just the way things are. As I get older, I’ve come to value what camaraderie I can squeeze out of that relationship rather than trying to make it perfect for the sake of perfection.

Maybe you don’t need support from your family, but if you’re gonna move back there you better be sure you’re going to get it somewhere. You’re right about not wanting to be 18 again; you’re better than that, and regressing for the sake of your family members’ own issues would rob the world of something great.

(gets off soapbox)

12:30 PM
Marti said…
Thank you for the thoughtful insight as always Jer. I should put stalking you as one of the pros of moving to Ohio :)You’re right, we’re stuck with our families for better or worse. But letting go of expectations is a bitch. How do you do that? How do you downgrade what your family is supposed to be for you? I want to. I want to let go. I want to move on. In someways I think that’s why I held onto Brian for so long. I knew we weren’t right together, but he represented family in a tangible way. When we talked about marriage I thought I was finally going to get my own. Not the best reason for getting married I know. But with him I felt like I had a place where I belonged. Maybe these are just some residual MK issues. A sense of belonging, knowing your place in the world

12:43 PM
Jeremy said…
I’ve always thought it’d be an honor to have a stalker, but I think Ohio’s a little far away from Mizzou (unless my geography is as fuzzy as most Americans’).I don’t know if downgrading is in order. Honestly, I don’t know what the perfect relationship with my dad would look like; would he be interested in everything I am? would he see the world as I do? I don’t know. People are imperfect, so there’s always something out there.

Instead, I just try to see my relationship with my dad as what it is, and go from there. What makes it hard is that I have an incredible relationship with my mom, so it’s very very easy to compare those two. And my dad sees that too; he knows we’re not super-close, so he probably makes that comparison. Thing is, we still can’t seem to do anything about it, maybe we’re just built differently? So it is what it is. Some people are just not built to be close, I’ve decided. Some people would call that a cop out, I say it beats the hell out of fighting for the 1-2 weeks a year you see each other.

1:07 PM
Marti said…
Ohio is not that far from MO. I’m sure I could even do a fair amount of stalking even from CA if I set my mind to it 🙂 Are you tempting me?I guess part of it is learning to accept people who they are with all of their good and bad points. I guess if you can do that then the expectations are minimized because you will become more cognizant of what they are capable of. Granted, that is a purely intellectual answer. The reality of it is that I think we’re born to want a relationship with our parents. But given temperments and personalities maybe that just isn’t possible. But you learn to love one another as individuals and go from there. I know that my dad’s only truly interested when someone is talking about God, ministry, sports, gadgets or cars. Other than that he’s tuned out. So if I want to talk to him I tend to talk about one of those categories. Other than that he goes into counselor or pastor mode and tells me what to do. He likes to reason you down until you submit. My brother on the other hand is a pastor who loves sports and cars so they have a TON in common.

Bottom line … I have no idea. LOL