Eldest Sis and I were finally able to converse at length today, hitting many points. As usual, just like old times. Unsurprisingly, we return to the same stories of the same people, the same reasons and the same realizations;
My mother will miss me when I’m away, but she’ll never stand in my way or hold me back.
Home will always be home and I must consciously remember this – don’t stray too far, she chipped in.
I remember what she told me the first time I left, about needing to go away for a time and learn that my life is mine – that I have dreams of my own to chase after and so on.
I expressed my frustration about always being defined and introduced as ‘the one who’s studying in the States.’
It’s as if whatever I was before leaving and how I’d gotten myself there never mattered. It’s as if whatever plans and hopes I have for myself and my future – about choosing to be home for good after this, for instance – none of it matters. It’s as if I’m less interesting as a person had this not taken place. If I hadn’t gone away, I questioned, what would I be then to them? Am I less of a person, would my self-worth be measured lesser?
Again and again, we’d reach the same conclusions:
I feel responsible for actively deciding to leave again, prolonging something I could’ve postponed. But I told her the truth, the irony that even when I am home for good in a couple of years… I don’t intend to spend my twenties being near or in the family home. I want to work in smaller towns in other states, maybe cross that South China Sea once more except with a longer length of stay. I want to live in less privileged settings in my own communities, I said – I need to, because I need to learn what true hardships are actually like, experience them myself if need be to grow as a person. Our mother doesn’t know that, I confessed. She thinks I’m only planning to spend two years away, tops.
Wish for what you want. Work for what you need.
– Carmen’s grandmother from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I reassured my soul-sister that home will always, truly, stay home in my heart, mind and soul regardless how many things change in the interim of being away. I don’t necessarily see this as a good thing, but I don’t consider it as something bad. I remember everything leading up to being able to leave 3.5 years ago including this realization, one that’s so clichéd and yet true: home is home, it will always be that, but my dreams – they lie elsewhere.
My dreams, they’re bigger than my heart can contain and my mind can imagine. They’re out there with souls, pulsating beats and lives of their own. I don’t fully understand them – I never do – but I understand enough that it is foolish to impede, that they cannot be contained.
I cannot be contained.
This isn’t simply a desire then – it becomes a responsibility. Want becomes need, dreams become honors to uphold. Think of it as amanah, she said. “Believe that He’s entrusting you with these gifts, telling you to do well with them because you don’t know what else and more He has in store for you in the future.”
This sounds crazy, but deep in my heart of hearts I think I am… meant for something more, bigger. Greater than whatever my mind can even perceive now. This perpetual homesickness and yearning for the family home will always prevail – it’ll be the roots that keep me grounded, but it won’t keep me there.
You can take a road that gets you to the stars. I can take a road that will see me through.
– Nick Drake
So, like with all things – I accept.
I accept with an open heart and mind, steeling myself best I can for the road ahead, already reminding myself that I’ll make mistakes and hit plenty bumps along the way. It’s a lonely path to tread I’m all too aware and I don’t know what’s in front, but I know that I’d rather walk towards it and find out as opposed to standing off at the sidelines wishing I did.
Cheers to another memorable summer to look back to and poignantly remember, now a clinch of toast for the year ahead – bucketful of dreams, hopes and all the wonderful things and feelings, once more. It’s time for Round II.
It’s almost like I’m 17, then 19 again, facing the future – but I’m not.
I’m 22 and bravely facing… The present. Carpe diem!