Ch-Ch-Changes

Just got back from the UU Fellowship. It’s a gift how much better I feel after each service. I’ve even offered to sing a solo part soon. Oh lord. Nervous about that. I don’t have what you’d call a ‘pretty’ voice. I sing tenor. Odd for a girl. I have a strong voice, just, like so much about me, a bit odd.

And therein lies the rub gentle readers. It’s this oddity. I was a strange one when I lived here. I moved away and I’m still odd, just a different variety. And that is making reintegration a bit difficult. I’m not sure why I thought it would be completely simple to fit back in here, because it isn’t. Now, it isn’t horribly difficult–like it was in Barrington or completely wrong, like it was in Chicago (exceptions know who they are), but it isn’t seamless.

Of course. Of course it isn’t.

But it felt so right, so good that I got too relaxed and forgot to look at the nuances.

Everyone here stayed present in my memory as they were in the past. I knew they grew and changed, had lives, got married, got careers and with child but emotionally they stayed static in my mind and heart. And now I’m seeing people (and places too) and finding 20 years is as long as it sounds like it is.

This is what they mean when they say you can’t go home again. Home isn’t the same once you leave. It is something you discover as a small child–that things and people continue even when you can’t see them, but perhaps, with some memories and some folk who were so important to you, they are amberized as you take that drive out of town.

I didn’t leave with many bad memories or thoughts either. Oh yes, there was that destructive relationship and the difficulty with my family. That got me on the road to San Francisco–but I’m thinking here of the people I admired and emulated. The sisters with their beauty and strength. The vixen with her amazing ability to be both kind and devasting to all maledom. The various guys with their encyclopedic knowledge of music, late night basketball games and intense intellects. The girl who stole mine and others hearts for a while that instead of lamenting that loss I tried to become like her. I tried to take a part of each of them into me and grow using their examples.

And I think I did that.

But you know they aren’t they same. Those things are still a part of them all, but we’ve all had kids, gotten educations, married, married and divorced. We’ve all well, grown up.

And there’s an angsty teenager in me that sees my old friends and is so overwhelmed with joy and longing that she’s tongue-tied, embarrassed and desperately trying to prove that she grew up and became just as cool and amazing as they were when she left.

And there’s an adult in me that grew to be even odder than the child and cares less and more about that simultaneously. And wants her friends to know that she grew up and became herself finally.

And both of these are me.

And they don’t really know me anymore and I don’t know them either. Not really. I hope we have this opportunity. I hope I can not relax into the past and instead work at really knowing them in the present and future. I hope I get the same chance.

This isn’t going to be easy is it? I’m surprised how much it hurts. It almost feels like I’m losing my past somehow, my own mythology–because these aren’t memories anymore they are people. Good people, interesting and kind and difficult–not two dimensional notes in my old diaries.

I hate being different from them, but I’ve been gone a long time. What is fresh for me is old news for them. What is commonplace for me isn’t for them and vice versa. Even the way I communicate, the way I say things–well it is the ironic, dark, flippant and overly informative communication of a large city–not the more measured and reserved tone of the small town. I don’t know how to dress or how to wear my hair (‘why should I care/if I have to cut my hair/I have to move with the fashion/or be outcast). And some of this doesn’t matter and some of it does. But it all has to be understood.

All of it.

And what I will and will not change. What matters and what doesn’t.

What matters. What matters?