I’m currently sitting on the steps of the front porch of my parents’ home in Orange County, California. I am on my last full day of my trip back “home.” It’s been a short trip, since I didn’t know how long exactly to plan for and didn’t want to use up too much of my paid time off, but it’s been a trip full of things to be done and emotions to think through nevertheless.
While I grew up here in the Golden State, spending almost twenty years amongst the beaches, the coastal weather, the movie stars and all the glitz that Cali has to offer, it no longer feels like home to me. The house I knew so well doesn’t seem to mesh with the current changes that were made to it. The landscape of my childhood haunts have changed vastly and many of my friends have moved away. While some of the sounds are still familiar, such as the rail cars that are currently clacking away on tracks not too far from my parents’ home and the small planes flying overhead, taking off and landing at the local municipal airport, others seem so strange they are jarring. I don’t remember them. So much has changed that this land feels foreign to me.
I am reminded of the lyrics from a song that seemed to define part of my adolescence. It feels a bit apropos as I sit here writing in the cool of the California morning.,
“I’m left wondering why I feel so all alone, why I’m a stranger in my own life.”Sheryl Crow “Every Day is a Winding Road”
Now, please don’t misconstrue my words. I am enjoying my time here. But what was once familiar has now become unfamiliar. My home is no longer here, though I often tell people it once was. While there is magic here in the way the succulents are blooming and the wild parrots scream at me from their perches high above, this is just a place to visit to me now.
Instead, my home is now the life I have made with the other half in our own little swath of the Midwest. It’s with the community I have there, the friends and family of choice there (or as one of my friends call it, my “framily”). While I will be coming back “home” to my parents in the future, it will no longer be my home, but theirs. This life is no longer mine, though it once was. I have shed the California girl image and have become that of a Midwest writer instead. The chapter of my youth, alas, has been closed.
It’s the story I have written. It’s the story I will will continue to write.
But until I leave here on a jet plane tomorrow, not knowing when I will be back again, I will enjoy the moments I have here with the family I have left behind. It is, after all, part of the magic.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory