My hometown has a horribly homophobic history. Things have happened there in my lifetime that seemed designed to chase young fags out of town.
Unbelievable things have happened in the last decade that seemed to dare us to just try coming back.
When I left there I believed I had severed all ties with the place. And when, little by little, most of my family left I was sure I’d never have to go back.
As we spread out across the country to create new homes in new places, I developed a feeling of rootlessness.
In 35 years I’ve moved at least 23 times. When I asked around I found out that these numbers are not out of the ordinary. Very few of my friends still live in the towns where they grew up or in the houses where they were born.
What are the implications of feeling that there is no future in the places where so many of our early memories are made?
Like our relationships with key people in our lives, can our unresolved feelings towards our old hometowns affect our ability to create healthy new relationships with new hometowns?
Growing up there was like being in a room with only enough oxygen to keep me just barely alive. If it had slipped into the Thames and sunk to the bottom I would not have missed it.
Were the few remaining trees of this so-called Forest City to burn to the ground-taking all vestiges of the old colonial settlement with it-I wouldn’t have shed a tear. Rather, I would have sprinkled faerie dust on the ashes of the hateful, homophobic city of my youth that it might be redeemed in its rebirth as a culturally diverse and harmonious paradise.
I went for a quick family visit recently and while there I ended up spontaneously taking care of some unfinished business. Nothing major and nobody got hurt. I’m talking about those moments in adulthood that help to nudge more pieces of life’s puzzle into place.
Not epiphanies or revelations, but delicious little moments where clarity is created and peace settles in.
I connected with an important friend from elementary and high school that I had lost touch with. I shared parts of my life with my sister that I’d never shown her before. I went fearlessly into places and spaces that had once been so intimidating to me. And I had the best sex I’ve had in far too long.
And I came away with a new realization. Just because the place I’m from doesn’t want to include me in its history doesn’t mean I can’t include it in mine.