Move it!” huffed a grump.
A lady said I looked lost.
Foreigners stick out.
I wondered if anyone had seen me drop my purse onto the platform floor before I quickly stooped to pick it up and exited said train car. I stumbled out onto the platform, rattled and paranoid. I’d always visited big cities for fun on a weekend or full week, but even after 3 months of living here and several trips on the subway, I still had feelings of paranoia- I wondered if people would follow me, or when I’d get mugged. Funny thing, I’m more likely to lose anything always.
“Move forward, please.” As I stood in line at the Post Office in South Huntsville, in Alabama, I was weirded out to realize that I, (a relatively fair-skinned Latina) was the darkest person there. Still, though I lived where Trump supporters would be boldly vocal about what language your phone calls should be in, there was a familiarity and comfort I found that I did not think I would miss. From parking lots to late-night drives… hiking, to accessible farmer’s markets, my memory fades to black intentionally as I try to move forward.
“Move that to that box.” Moving days were always in the summer… every time. With Natalie, they were stressful but fun. I wasn’t in Florida when my mom and sister moved out of the house, I grew up in. I was in college at the time, but my sister tells me she cried when she saw the house empty. I’m sure the sun sizzled in through the window and nearly blinded her (as it usually did) as the light bounced off the white walls of the room we shared growing up.
This time, I moved myself. Sure a few people popped by, but the heavy box duty was all me. I hate how when you get older, the heavy box duty is all for you.
One day, Nat said, “dude,
I do not know where I’m from.”
Do I even know?
They say home is where the heart is but when you hop from street to street and state to state, where does your heart stay? Does it come along every time? Can it keep up? How long does it take for a person to feel adjusted or acquainted with an area? For people with anxiety, many things can trigger episodes of paranoia and stressful situations.
Whenever possible, try to think of when you felt most at home (internally). Was this a memory, place, or feeling? Lately, since I’m not too fond of my corner in the house in the dead-end, my home is starting to look more like a person. I’m learning to create a space where I am at home with myself. My home is becoming me.