So perhaps this wasn’t an ideal time to start blogging. I had the misfortune of getting my wisdom teeth yanked this week, which all in all was not too bad. I can get behind napping all day and smoothies for every meal. It did, however, mean I had to take the first part of the week off of work and return to mild suburbia to stay with my family while I recovered.
This was the longest I’ve stayed with my family since moving out, which was as lovely as it was bizarre. I miss my family a lot, so it’s always great to see them, especially my little sisters. I wish I was around to gossip with them all the time (that’s probably their worst nightmare, though). I miss my pets, I miss a fully stocked fridge that I didn’t have to put together myself. I miss home things.
Right before I left, I had a discussion with my coworkers while we were closing the store about moving to the city. We agreed that it changes you, and the way people perceive you. I don’t mean that you move there and all of a sudden you’re a different human being; but little changes start to seep in. They’re all changes that I embrace, even hope for, but even so I can feel them the most when I visit my hometown. My coworker talked about going to the grocery store in her own not-so-mild suburbia and getting stares of unfamiliarity from the people of the town she grew up in, presumably because of the intangible effect that comes from living in the city. And the more time I’ve spent away, the weirder it gets every time I come back. Everything in this town is familiar, I could navigate my way home blind, but slowly I’ve started to see it and feel it differently. I used to smile through every social obligation, not thinking much of overbearing strangers. And now I’ve become defensive when the dentist brings up my future, and I feel suffocated by the PTO moms asking me what I’ve been up to.
I really don’t think that it’s a subconscious sense of superiority, because that’s not who I am or what I feel. When I first moved into the city, I was bewildered by every interaction I had. People are different there, and I didn’t know how to match their level of casual coolness. Everyone oozed exotic, fashionable, romantic, messy experiences. I felt like I had something to learn from everyone I met; from the antique lamp shop owner on my street, to my tattoo artist, to my coworkers (especially my coworkers), to every new friend and acquaintance I’ve made. They liked music I never heard of, they referenced movies I’d never seen, literature I have yet to read. Their jokes came with a sharp humor that was brutally honest and unfamiliar. I strived to be on their level, and as soon as I started to give up and think that maybe I just wasn’t going to get there, that I’d just be a mild suburban person forever, I sort of just fell into it. Their music became my music; their TV became my TV (I mean have you seen Drag Race? I’m fucking obsessed) and I identified with my new friends in a way I didn’t know I could. The city became my friend. My mom told me that I had “an air of city girl glossiness” about me, and she didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I wore it proudly. I’m earning my city girl glossiness.
Now, coming back into mild suburbia, I feel the same sort of bewilderment that I had when I first came to the city. I don’t know how to match their level of whatever it is my dentist oozed when she gave me unsolicited college advice with her cold fingers prying at my teeth, 2008 Coldplay playing softly in the background. I don’t think suburbia is bad, and I don’t think the city is better. I prefer the city and the culture and mindset that comes with it, and I prefer the city version of myself. But none of that makes suburbia inherently bad or good. It’s just not my place right now. And none of that means I don’t love coming home, because I do. It’s home.