“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.” ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I began this blog with The Journey about mine and Jaz’s trip to Germany last November. About sludging through snow and chatter of foreign-ness. What I did not do is finish the story. It was a good trip, visiting Dachau and Neuschwanstein. Eating delicious foods and shopping the Christkrindlmarkt. Talking to elderly ladies on the train about huge pretzels and walking through history. What I did not share was the story of our last night. Jaz was long asleep, snoring beneath the feather comforter beside me. Our wake up call was scheduled for six o’clock, so we could catch the train and make our flight in time. The hours passed and I could not sleep. There was no tossing or turning. It wasn’t that kind of restlessness. It was more of a falling apart. I’d struggled with depression through the previous year and, in hindsight, was in the final gasps.
Military brats are always at odds for an answer when asked, “Where do you come from?” We don’t come from anywhere, yet everywhere. There was a time in my life when I gave a list. Montana, Texas, Nebraska, Germany, South Dakota. Years passed and I simplified my answer to where my heart belonged. Germany. That was my home. It made sense, being the crucial time in my life when I grew from child to teen. I remembered most and was affected by most. Germany was my home.
At the end of our visit to Germany I lay awake, unable to sleep and crying, because I came to realize that Germany was no longer my home. Watertown had never become my home, even though I owned my house and worked a good job. I cried that night at the desperation and fear of my homelessness.
Home is more than where you lay your head at night and the address where you receive your bills. Home is where you wrap yourself in peace at the end of the night. My house in Watertown has no peace to keep me warm. Everything here is a chore, a fight, a weight that I carry. While I have always been honest, I have not lived my life honestly. I’ve pasted a smile on my face and convinced others that I’m living exactly the life I want. Owning a house, independence, travel, security.
All the while, secretly wanting more. I want so much more. I want to finish my degree. I want to live with art shows and concerts and experiences. I want to take chances, not because they are rational or logical, but because I believe in them. Maybe even the possibililty of love somewhere down the road. “I want to live until I crack, crack with too-muchness.” ~Anais Nin. Every day in Watertown feels like a prison, chained by a future of safety and silence trying to fit into a culture that doesn’t reflect who I am. My friends see it. Over the past year, one asked, “What are you still doing in Watertown? Doesn’t it smother you?”. Another said, “You have too much talent for this town. Why don’t you run?” I never ran because I never believed in myself. It’s a risk to pack up my son and move away from our safety net. Things can happen. Something could go wrong. I might not succeed.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ~ Paulo Coelho
I have always been afraid to fail. No matter where I’ve lived, I never had a home with a cozy blanket of peace. Instead, I swaddled myself in fear. As successful as my life seems, with the house and trips to Europe, they were simply band-aids for what my heart has been aching for…which is more. More for me and more for Jaz.
Since this decision, I feel a tad crazy. I think my friends would agree as they listen to me bounce around ideas that seem to have come out of the blue. Little do they know that I’ve been researching English Departments for years, receiving emails and updates from several on a regular basis. The circumstances of the past weeks have accumulated in the perfect sequence, God‘s timing, to push me out the door of a home I’ve never found comfort in and off to another world.
I figure it will be a year of saving money and selling my house. There is no immediacy, but I’ve made up my mind and there is no going back. Jaz and I are both excited at the prospect. Fortunately, he’s young and carries more courage that he lets me borrow when I start to revert.
Over the next year, though, I have decided to edit “Dolly“, putting “The Weight She Carries” on hold. I wonder if I put “Dolly” aside for the same fears. Dreams don’t go anywhere locked away in chains because they aren’t good enough yet. After several months away, I’m rereading what I have and am willing to admit, in a public forum, that it’s good. I might even admit to a little pride.
In writing “Dolly”, I tackle the theme of Home at the end. I shared my homelessness with her and need to help her get through it. If I can do that, maybe I can find my own home, not made of sticks and cement, but made of peace. The kind of home that wraps you in a warm blanket with the knowledge that you are giving the world your best, despite the risks. The comfort of practicing Liberty in the face of fears. The faith that God will be with you.
It doesn’t matter where I lay my head as long as my son is at my side. While he was sleeping and I was fighting tears nearing 4am, I went outside for a cigarette. It was a warm winter night and the streets were quite. A delivery van parked on the sidewalk and I watched the driver carry in a flat of brotchen for the breakfast buffet. When he was gone, a song came on the radio. I’d never heard it before, but it broke the night. I like to think that God had something to do with it.