This morning I packed my bags and marveled at how I had come home with half a carry on bag full of clothes and was leaving with a huge checked suitcase and a very full carry on bag. I said goodbye to the snow and hugged my family goodbye, and hopped on board a plane packed with college football fans bound for Florida. The Colts lost and I gained 50 degrees back. It’s nice to be back in Miami. But the switches between spaces are always moments of readjustment. Leaving Indiana always reminds me of a poem I wrote when I left for college, which was the last time I have lived long-term in Indiana, and most of it still rings true for every visit since:
REFLECTIONS OF HOME
The sky is gray in the winter
But the spring brings lovely green
While summer burns with a lover’s touch
And the fall takes away big dreams
–But it’s Home
There’s no place like Home
As the old saying goes
But what do you tell all the people
Who make it their home
Because they do not know
That there’s a world beyond the pastures?
–It’s my Home
I want to tell the people that hating is not the answer
I want to let them know that the world is so much bigger
To let the children know that there are options
That coming back is fine, but only if it’s what you want to
I have to let them know
You loved me once, though I am different
You love me still, though I went away
I went away to find the answers
To the questions that you gave me
And now I’m back with open eyes
To see Home all the better
I hear the gossip of the women ready to tell you your worst news
I feel distant from the girls who married after school
Jobs and husbands and bills are not my life
And I watch the face of she who recently became pregnant
The eyes of all follow her as she walks down a lonely street
But what do you expect when you give pressure to the girls
To find a love by age sixteen and marry off come graduation
You there, girl I knew when I was younger
Is this the life you chose or the life they made for you?
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to go off to college?
Or even just to see who else could claim your broken heart?
And boy, the one who told me all your secret dreams
Did they let you out to find them,
Or tell you till the land and pull the weeds?
And I wondered long why you closed your gates
Why you were so scared of imminent change
If you never meet your neighbor
How do you know that you really hate him?
Do not let the older generation beat you down in hate
There are no gates where we live, so open up your hearts
I feel your eyes upon me when I make my way back home
I hear you whispering about me,
Asking why I left and where’d I go?
You don’t believe that I could ever be happy elsewhere
You don’t believe that I can make it out there
But I can
And I am
–And it’s Home
Despite the fact that no one looks like me
Despite the fact that your business is never your own
Despite the fact that it’s the sight of bittersweet memories
Despite the fact that once you leave, it’s hard to find your way back
–Do you want to? Do I want to?
But I never want to come back and feel like this is not home
I do not want to lose these feelings of connection
But I can come back home to see just how far I’ve come
I made it, despite everything else
I triumphed and am thriving
Because I can always remember
That where I’m from and where I’ve been
Is not who I am or where I’m going