I’ve always hated where I am. Since I was a child, I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere. There was always something not quite right. Whether it was stares or rude comments from strangers, or just general negativity, I’ve always longed to be somewhere other than where I was.
When I was 15, my sister gave me a copy of “Desperately Seeking Susan” for my birthday. I popped it in the VCR and holy crap. New York City and my idol Madonna all in one. My adolescent brain couldn’t decipher between fiction from reality at that moment, so I saw this woman I wanted to be, being 100% herself in this magical place. At that moment I thought, “Fuck this place. I belong in New York!”
Fast forward a few years, through my teen angst and into my equally angst filled 20’s. I ended up there. My dream come true. But was it?
NYC wasn’t like the movie I saw, and my problems didn’t magically disappear just because I could be myself and dress how I wanted. It was much more complicated, and I was an emotionally messed up twenty five year old that wasn’t quite ready for what I jumped into. I couldn’t be who I wanted to be, because I still didn’t know who I was. One thing I didn’t think about was that everything in my head, everything that made me feel like crap, I took right along with me. But only this time, it was more disturbing and more intense. More in my face, I guess. How could this happen? I thought this would fix everything. No, it didn’t. In fact, it made me feel even worse. I was in a city with millions of people, and I was nobody. At least I felt like nobody. I was still broken and angry. I brought my sad high school experiences with me. I brought my horrible relationships with me. I brought it all. Sure I could dress how I wanted without the whispering as I walked by, but it didn’t matter. Everywhere I went, I felt like my skin was ripped off me, and my shattered soul was exposed to everyone I passed. I’m not sure which was worse, feeling this way, or coming to terms that NYC wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. I thought it would save me and it let me down. It was the hardest thing to face in my life.
So I eventually ended up here in Vermont, and I felt the same way. I lived here for 10 years before I made a close friend. I’ve been here 14 years and I still feel like that fragile 25 year old at times, trying to finally feel safe somewhere. People are rude and self-absorbed. No one smiles at strangers. No one seems to care at all, really. I go out and run errands for a couple of hours, and after I feel so emotionally and physically depleted, that all I can do is cry. Something as simple as giving a smile to someone and not have it appreciated just breaks my heart.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a few places, like Florida where my niece lives, as well as Illinois and California, and oddly enough, I loved them all. People are friendly there. I feel at home in all of these places. But is it real? I’m not sure. If the problem was within me, wouldn’t I feel unhappy everywhere? This is what I struggle with these days.
Do I belong somewhere else?
I do believe that I belong somewhere other than here. I just feel it. But I don’t know when that will happen. I’m here now, and I have to make it work. If I’ve learned anything from my experiences is that moving away to “the perfect place” doesn’t work. Issues still need to be dealt with, regardless of where I am.
So what I’ve decided to do, is bring the spirit of these happier places back here with me. I’ve just returned from California. The laid back vibe and kindness had a huge effect on me, and I’m going to try to keep it going. If I can keep that with me, I should be ok. That’s the true test, I think. Keeping that serenity within me no matter where I am. I think I get it now. And if I finally move away to that perfect place, I’ll be ready. The ghosts of who I was will follow me, but I won’t be afraid anymore. Until then, I’ll try to hang on to that positive energy, and find my place in where I am.