finding my way back home.

Summer is almost over. I go back to work one week from today yesterday (I’ve been working on this post for 36 hours). My job is relatively easy, but it’s emotionally taxing and I try to disconnect pretty thoroughly over summer vacation in order to be able to keep doing it when school starts again in August. This summer, though, I’ve struck out way past the sandbar into very deep water, and I can barely see where I came from anymore. Part of that is being very, very ready to leave this period of my life and move on to the next part. Part of it is the rollercoaster past month of surgery, recovery, and family events. 

For the past four weeks, I’ve been disconnected not only from my school-year job, but from most of the rest of my life. I’ve been staying at Leslie’s place while she was away, because it was physically easier to manage than my apartment, and because it took me away from visual chaos and thoughts of work while I was healing. It’s been a tremendous gift to be able to do that, and it helped a lot. But I didn’t realize until this week just how absent I felt from myself. I was disconnected from my home, and from the work that usually grounds me. I was hyper-aware of, but unfamiliar with, my body. I’ve felt like a stranger in my own mind, first ruinously sad and more recently, manic. Since Friday, my mind has been going non-stop. I’m writing all the time – most of it completely unnecessary and some of it actually foolish. I’ll talk to friends and while the words are coming out of my mouth, I’m thinking, that isn’t what I want to say. I laugh too easily. My hands tremble. I changed my Twitter bio three times. I’m swearing even more than usual. It’s a big improvement over the sadness of a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still uncomfortable. And much like the sadness, I’m trying to just let it run its course. And trying to write this blog post, which has been tumbling and tangling in my thoughts for two days.

I got the go-ahead to go back to working out this week, and I expect that will start to help with the crazy mood swings soon. It hasn’t made a dent yet, but I’ve only been to the gym three times and I’m not up to my full routine. The complication I was afraid of after the surgery turns out to be nothing worse than slow healing because of low circulation. That, at least, has been a huge relief, and should also improve with exercise.

My move to Portland has been in a holding pattern for what feels like forever, and I’m aching to be done with my job and move on. I’m not able to do that yet, though, so the point of all this wordiness (I do have a point) is that I need to find my way back into my life, and through that, back into my job for as long as I need to keep doing it. 

The first step was to move back home to my own apartment yesterday. Home is an idea that’s been on my mind lately. Right now, I don’t feel like anyplace is home to me. There are people who represent home to me, but that’s a more intangible thing and not really what I mean. I mean the place that you look at and think: this is mine. This street is mine. The light from this direction is mine. The smell of the air on a January night is mine. That nauseatingly dull city council meeting about the zoning lines for recycling services is mine. I’ve been talking to some friends about where they live and what makes it home. No surprise, there’s no consistent answer to that question, but it’s an interesting conversation. A friend of a friend recently decided he wanted to live in Australia and less than two months later he’d sold everything but his camera and his clothes and was there. He’s blissfully happy.

Where was I? (I’m trying really hard to just keep going and not abandon or rewrite this for the 9th time.) I was moving back into my apartment. I think my train of thought here was that I was dreading coming back to my apartment, which has also not felt like home for some time. There was the mouse incident, which made me feel like an alien in my own space, and all the packing that had to get done before surgery made home feel inhospitable. When I got here yesterday, I unpacked and spent a couple of hours wandering around and picking things up and putting them back down again. I went to bed around midnight, and woke up again just before three and haven’t gone back to sleep (it’s 8:43 a.m. as I type this sentence). But somewhere around five this morning, I felt that familiar peal of ownership. Maybe it was just several hours of acclimation. Maybe it was the tea-and-internet routines of insomnia. But I am definitely home in this cupboard of an apartment.

These feet are my feet. This blue wall of my closet bedroom is my blue wall. These are my books in my bed. This is enough for today.

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