Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seasonal Falling

1. Today I walked to class and it was perfect.

Steely clouds rolled across the sky. Cold wind whipped through the buildings on campus. Fire colored leaves shook in the breeze, quivered, spiraled to the ground.

I clutched an apple, fingers cold. The sharp snaps of the crisp apple kept me company on my walk. Frigid juice filled my mouth with the flavors of fall.

2. This weekend I went home and it was perfect.

Brilliant trees, animals, corn mazes, pumpkins, Mama's food, fires, stars, and guitars. My wonderful friends met my wonderful family; my two worlds collided and exploded into something even more beautiful than I would have guessed.

The trip back to school was easier, because I had the best of both worlds all weekend, New Friends and Wonderful Family, a dual existence bridging the gap between my two lives.

3. I woke up this morning with a happy sadness, a hollow fullness; this part of my life is fleeting, yes. But it's beautiful. I miss my family and I adore my friends, but times when they are all together is rare. This chapter is like a fall day, on the edge of change, about to turn into something completely different, but today? Today it is what it is.

And it is perfect.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home and Free

I find that the life of a college student is intrinsically centered on the concept of constant transition. Classes change every semester, roommates change every year, apartments are moved between, and friends regroup frequently; the very stage of life itself is an in-between phase, the lost years between a bygone childhood and an impending adulthood.

Because of this, the idea of "home" changes dramatically. When I am at school, home is wherever my mother is. I don't consider myself to be overly-dependent on my mom, but there are days when I just want to curl up in her bed and not talk about anything particular, just everything that comes out. My psychology class teaches me that this is a normal relational phase, but I don't want to demean my homesickness to science; I just really love my mom, for the most part. As soon as I get back to that wonderful, white farmhouse, though, a knot forms in my stomach, and I want to turn around and go right back to school, my apartment, my room, my own space...home. No, Mom and Taylor aren't there, but my friends are. My life is.

I hate the fluidity, the ambiguity of something that should be so solid. I hate wanting to exist in two different places, the two little globes connected by a thin strip of concrete known as US 131. I hate the idea of going back home too often as much as I hate the idea of leaving to go back to school -- the changes make me sick the way that a constant, little draft would. The worst part is, I'm at the point in my life where I feel like I don't belong in either orb.

I can't help but to think of a song my sister and I used to sing when we were little. Back in a simpler time, a better time, we would act out the scene of Belle in our living room as we sang along to "Home." There is a line in the song, the importance and depth of which was completely lost on little girl ears, but to hear it now is to know it. "Nothing lasts, nothing holds all of me." I can't get past the painful, beautiful truth that throbs through those lyrics. My childhood home, the haven of my past will always be a sort of home to me...but there is an odd sense of it not quite fitting anymore. In the same way, while I know that I belong exactly where I am here at school, there is the strange, innate knowledge that it is meant to be temporary. The whole thing is part of the most wonderfully awful phenomenon I have ever lived through.

Growing is never painless; good things always require work. This transitional phase of life is amazing, it's just that I can't help but to feel rather nomadic. Is this normal? Am I the only one trying to understand where I belong? Or is this just another aspect of the constant search for self-definition? When it's done, what will I look back and see? An exhausted girl with too much on her plate? Or something different...something deeper that I cannot recognize from such a close vantage point?

I guess that only time can tell.