It is a little bit hard to be a guest blogger. I thought it would be easier, because I read Trista's blog, and I know Trista, and sometimes I stalk Trista. You know, in a friendly way. In an admiring way. I thought, I can do this.
I am just barely starting my own blog. On it, I don't know what to say. Can I post a part of a bad "poem" I wrote? Shouldn't there be some sort of cohesive thread pulling all of my posts together? I don't know; and that's with my own blog. So here, as a guest, I think, I shouldn't write that, that doesn't make sense, that doesn't fit here.
Today I have been thinking about the notion of home. I went on a bike ride, and here in Iowa the temps are in the 90's and the air is thick (weather page says 63% humidity). As the summer wears on, it will get more humid, stay this hot.
I was born in Idaho, moved to Iowa when I was eight. At eight, I breathed in this heavy air and thought, this is not mine. Maybe once during the next fourteen years did I think of Iowa as home. Iowa was hot and humid and lonely and, sometimes, so cold your bones feel frozen, so cold you feel like you could break. So, for fourteen years I longed for the west, defined myself by mountains and dryness and evergreens. When I got married, my husband and I were both planning on continuing with school and I pushed heavily for Utah, and that's where we ended up.
And then something strange happened. I found the brown a little bit depressing. When we visited Iowa in the summer, I found the green here surprising and wonderful and alive. Now that we're living here again, I feel like I'm home, although I feel it grudgingly and with some disbelief. It is hard to find our that you are not who you think you are.
These are the definitions of home, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictonary (what did I do before I had this installed on my computer?): where one lives, where one is free from attack, where one flourishes or originates, the finish, correct position, instictual territory, focus.
There are a lot of implications, a lot of ideas, a lot of places where someone could find a home, or fail to. Sometimes I don't feel at home in my body, in my extended family, in my various places of work. I almost always feel at home with my husband, with my sister, with my parents. What is interesting is how we try to make little homes, want to feel at home in places.
In my last post, I was writing about my first trip back to Utah. When I flew into town, I felt like a visitor. Driving around town felt like deja vu, like I was viewing the city through mirrors, like I had heard about it but not lived there for three years. But when I was twenty-three, I knocked on the door of a house that I'd played at as a kid, the house of a girl who I'd been best friends with until I was eight and hadn't seen since I was twelve, and talking to her parents felt so natural that I kept thinking about the red lipstick we used to put on before we played My Little Ponies.
My favorite movie when I was a kid was The Last Unicorn. In it, the last unicorn is transformed into a woman in order to save all of the other unicorns. While she is a woman, she begins to forget what it is like to be a unicorn, she falls in love; and when she becomes a unicorn again, she cannot forget what it is like to be a woman. When I was a chubby kid, I used to wonder what it felt like to be thin, what sitting on the couch or walking down the street felt like; and when I was thin, I remember thinking that it felt like nothing. Nothing felt disappointing then, but now I know that nothing was also a nice way of not wondering, not wishing.
I started college as pre-vet. I liked science, liked animals, liked the idea of being able to take care of things. I was very interested in all of that. But what kept me up at night was reading, or writing really, really bad poetry that I meant so much and felt so hard that sometimes I would just sit there and hold on to that feeling while Simon & Garfunkel played on the CD player. Suffice to say, almost eight years later, I am not a vet.
I have a long history of not feeling at home, and of misunderstaning home, and denying it. I don't feel at home now, writing this. I feel stupid, thinking, why would these people who read Trista's blog care about me? But, if nothing else, I bet that at least some of you know what I mean, that it is so hard sometimes to decipher what should and could be very easy if we could accept ourselves a little better.
There is a moment, bike-riding in Iowa on one of these hot and humid days, that you feel a little break, that a breeze catches your body and you take a deep breath; and, though you might have been miserable, suddenly you feel peaceful because youre body is moving and the breeze is blowing and even though the air is heavy, you feel okay, because it is something that is surrounding and touching you, and you feel like you must be part of something and connected. In those moments, you sink into your body a little bit, and it feels good.