It’s been long–too long–since I last posted here. All for the sake of sanity (my own, my readers’, if any exist…) I held back, I sought out alternate ways to express myself, I hid behind the appearance of anonymity only the internet can bring, with its nameless and faceless blogs and accounts. Thus I neglected this space, came as far as thinking I would never use it again … and then, today I realized I was subconsciously waiting until I felt “in control” again. I was Humpty Dumpty, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men took their sweet fucking time, and were never able to put me back together again. It took a Queen to do that (and more on that never … some things, I’ve learned, I prefer to treasure as a very personal memory).
Now I feel ready to come back to this space, refurbish it, reclaim it. Just in time for the holidays too, which brings me to the idea that finally sparked my return. Holidays don’t feel real anymore. Atypical work schedules and Grinch-y life partner aside, the holidays for me have lost the luster and excitement they used to have 15 years ago. “Obviously!” you would think to say, but it sometimes seems that there are still people out there who heartily enjoy all that jolly pell-mell. I wish I could too…
But today, as we drove through the neighboring light-speckled streets, a wave of nostalgia hit me. It’s like a memory imprint in my mind, reactivated by patterns of light and temperature, and it brings back an era of bittersweet joy and endless possibilities. I was 19, 20, 21 … I was in college, and then not anymore. I was hopeful, then disappointed, ultimately destroyed … I was just starting to know myself, and was terrified at the conflict between my choices in life and what I really was.
These times of uncertainty and fear came hand-in-hand with the sensation of gaining a family anew. My father had recently remarried, and we spent their first few years travelling back and forth to their new home among the mountains. Holidays were a combination of trips into the chilly unknown (particularly, the homes of family members and friends we didn’t know yet) and heady celebrations with friends and family at home. During the holidays, the local streets turn into tunnels of colored light. These became involved into a Pavlovian association to my era of dangerous explorations and intoxicating glee at the prospect of just being young and alive.
So now, I traverse these tunnels of light, I look out the car window, and I can almost feel the clammy wind on my skin, the wondrous sense of anticipation before a night full of liquor, laughter and fun … and I realize that all of this is over, has been over for nearly ten years now. Lights, alcohol and food cannot buy the rebirth of my naiveté. That was the main ingredient, and that is already lost and dead. My father and his wife have moved far away, my brother too. My little sister and I are now involved in life partnerships, thus extending our lineup of family members and increasing our commitments and responsibilities. All of us have started making our own homes and families now, regardless of how unconventional they may be.
Never again will I hop into Dad’s red Trooper to head to a 2-hour tortuous drive into the mountains. Never again will we carelessly light up bundles and swathes of firecrackers. Never again will I be able to go back home and feel unconcerned by bills and paychecks, to just lay down my head and have somebody else take care of me. I’ve grown up. And it may hurt a bit, or a lot, but you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.