Monday, December 12, 2011

Home is not where you live, but where people understand you.

(love that quote!)
Anyway...I don't know what it is that turns me into a pacing, stressing, emotional mess when I think about returning to The Wasteland. (The town of my birth does not deserve a real name.) I'm not really afraid of being there like I used to be...most of the bullies are either out of town, on drugs, or knocked up and therefore too busy to notice me anymore. I suppose, the feeling lingers...going anywhere in town and hearing a disembodied voice yell at you, "You're still not good enough!"
But what is good enough, exactly?
I think good enough is being able to leave.
My school counselor from 11th grade said I would probably never be able to live independently. He assumed my mental illnesses (mostly anxiety) would keep me from graduating high school, living on my own, and working.
The school social worker (who worked closely with the counselor) told my mom that the best option for me was to institutionalize me before I turned 18, so I would be "taken care of."
Farther back, the principal of the school I went to in junior high said that if I transferred somewhere else, I would only be running away from my problems and I would never learn how to make "real" friends. (I wonder if he told that to the girl who killed herself because of excessive bullying too...)
Add that to the daily pressure of teachers' kids and church leaders' kids harassing me for problems outside of my control (and since they were the "good kids," of course, no one ever did anything about it), and anyone would start to feel like they were worthless.
After six years of near-constant uprooting, I have finally distanced myself from that place. I have no bond to this town filled with closed-minded, condescending strangers.
Yes, I will still be there, but only as a stopping point between the busy city where I first "found myself" and the home of a few good people who treat me like family. In Fargo and in Staples are where my happiness lies.
There, I find people that have never told me, "You can't make it." People that accept me for being average...or better than average...or less...whether my anxiety is managed or uncontrollable...if I'm financially stable or on food stamps...if I'm wearing this season's clothes or hand me downs.
That is what "home" is. Sometimes you need to leave where you were born to find where you belong.
Only after "running away" did I find people who tell me repeatedly that I am not worthless.

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