When you tell people you’re heading home they always ask if you’re ready and I’ve always said no.
I’ve basically tried to avoid my hometown like the plague since I graduated high school and went off to college. Which is weird because I actually loved high school, I sobbed when I had to say goodbye to my friends and I knew when I came back nothing would be the same. I knew my friends would continue with their lives without me and make new friends, I knew that my old job would be filled and that someone would take my starting spot on the field because that’s how life works.
Fast forward 5 years and here I am, about to head home for the first time in a long time, but this time I have no plans. I graduated college, I moved out of my apartment and I don’t have any plans.
When you tell people you’re not ready to come home they always ask why and I always thought the answer I told them was the right one.
I told them I thought my hometown was toxic. I told them that no one here ever leaves or grows, that the same drama would still be going on that I left so long ago. I told them it didn’t feel like home anymore.
But coming home made me realize that’s not what I’m scared of.
What I’m scared of is losing myself here. I’m scared of falling back into a routine, of becoming involved in the drama and even worse becoming the same closed minded person I used to be. I’m scared of losing all the progress I’ve made by leaving here, including the self-love and acceptance I’ve found on my own out in the world.
That’s hard to admit and it’s hard to accept.
My biggest fear is feeling like I’ve failed and coming home makes me feel like I’ve failed, even though I haven’t. It makes me feel like I didn’t accomplish much because I’m right back where I started. I’m right back to the Jeep I used to hook up with boys in the back seat. I’m right back to the dirt roads I used to drink a little too much on. I’m right back to eating at the same restaurant I used to collect my paychecks from.
I’m right back to everything I left behind in my past and it’s hard to keep growing when you’re back to where it all began.
When I said I wasn’t ready to come home it didn’t mean I wasn’t ready to see my family or my friends or run into a long list of old faces in Walmart. When I said I wasn’t ready to come I meant I wasn’t ready to lose myself, I wasn’t ready to feel like the old version of me again, but I do, every time I pass that welcome sign on the drive in I feel like I’m back to my old self, no matter how far I’ve come since then.
But that’s hard to admit and hard to accept, so I place the blame elsewhere because it’s easier to lie to everyone else than it is to lie to myself.
I go back to thinking about my past loves, I think about turning down those roads we used to get lost down just to listen to a sad song and think of you. I turn into the old me again, the one who used to cry for fun, the one who depressed herself partially on purpose because she didn’t think she knew what being happy felt like.
I don’t want to be that person anymore, but it’s hard to outrun it when you’re in the same environment. It’s hard to grow in a place that is so suffocating, but I’ve got to try.
It’s easy to say I wasn’t ready to come home because of everyone and everything else that’s here, but the truth is I wasn’t ready to come home because every time I do I turn back into the same person I was in high school and to be honest, high school me was a bit of a bitch.
But that’s not who I am anymore. It’s not who I want to be, either.
The only thing to do when you’re stuck with no place to go is to keep moving forward. This time I won’t let myself get stuck in the same rut everyone else around me seems to be stuck in and I’ll do better, I’ll be better.
I owe that to myself.