What they don’t tell you about moving back to your hometown is how absolutely out of place you will feel. There is this building excitement of the day when you’ll get back “home” and the unrealistic expectation of sliding back into your old life rhythm where everything and everyone will just pick up right where it left off. You know it’s not possible, not even the sliver of a truth exists in that statement…but still, you hope. Because that’s what we do best right, hope?
I’ve been back in Charleston just shy of 7 months.
Seven months full of brutal honesty, new challenges, embracing change, struggling to accept it all, and keeping my head above water. I had all of those unrealistic expectations coming back home. I thought this would be a safe and easy place for me to be supported during Eddie’s deployment. I thought I would be able to get back into the folds of friendship and family easily and feel restored during this time. I don’t want to say that I was wrong, but I definitely wasn’t proven fully right. In fact since I’ve been back home I’ve felt more frustrated, hurt, bitter, mean-spirited, broken, isolated, and judged then I have in a long time. It’s odd how hard seasons in your life seem to get harder before they get better. Even though I picked up on it from past visits, it’s still hard to swallow.
Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but these are all things I’ve felt since being “home”. I use the quotations because I’ve quickly come to realize that my home is Eddie and well, he isn’t here right now.
I’ve been trying to process WHY I’ve been in such a weird and hard place emotionally. I’ve caught myself looking BACK at myself and thinking “ew, Amy, why would you respond that way, it’s very unkind”. My tone can be short, my fuse lit, and my patience thin. I don’t like this negative attitude I’ve been carrying…it almost feels like a chip on my shoulder. I’m thankful I’m at least able to recognize where I’m standing and am making active steps towards changing my attitude.
Yes, this is hard.
Yes, I have lost friendships.
Yes, I don’t know what I’m doing.
Yes, I feel stuck in limbo.
Yes, I miss my husband, my partner, my lover, my friend, my confidant.
Yes, I will get through this.
While at my counseling appointment the other week I finally figured out the why behind Charleston being so hard for me. The last 2 years (before moving back) I had this sense of freedom. Freedom to be who I truly am, to learn more about myself, to grow and be challenged, to embrace and love myself and my personality. I was able to meet people, interact with them, build friendships all while not having to feel belittled for who I was. These people didn’t have expectations, history, or past baggage weighing them down, they just got to know me and liked me or didn’t. It was a growing experience full of isolation, self acceptance, resilience, and challenge. I then came back to Charleston expecting one thing and was faced with something completely different. There is history here, and history can be haunting. It can follow you around and snap at your heels. It can deteriorate friendships. It can hold onto grudges. It came make you feel crazy and isolated and judged. I feel like I walked back into a net and I can see the freedom I had, yet I can’t reach it.
I’m slowly cutting off the ropes.
I’m figuring out WHERE I fit in here and WHO I am to friends and family alike. I don’t really know where my place is any more and while I had hoped beyond hope I would have been able to not re-start here I’m learning I will HAVE to re-start.
I still have a handful of close friends (thank’s y’all!) here that are investing in me and me in them…but I have to start making new friends and I’m trying. Adult friendships is hard (duh, I’ve posted about it here). I’m also learning how to live in the limbo of not having my partner here for a while. Often times I feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to process all the emotions and can respond poorly, or not at all. I’m working on that and many other things during this season.
I have realized that God has me back in Charleston to sort through my stuff before Eddie gets here. I need to close some chapters, do some dusting of the heart, and clear out some junk so we can start a life together, in my home town (and his favorite town) as husband and wife. Things are going to look different because they are meant to be (and have to be) different! I’m not 28 year old single Amy living in Charleston with a bunch of hurt. I’m (almost) 31 year old Amy who is a wife among many things who needs to find her new place here. I’ve seen so much growth in the few years I’ve been gone that It’s good to be forced to re-start. I couldn’t pick up the life I had even if I tried, and honestly I’ve outgrown that life. It’s time to start walking through Charleston with a new heart, attitude, mind-set, and appreciation.
It’s all humbling.
It’s all hard.
I know it will all be worth it.