Last week I went back to my home town where my brother and sister-in-law live. It was where I lived from ages 8 to 18. When people ask me where I'm from I still say Southern California, but I realized this past week that I don't feel like a California girl anymore. Although maybe I never really did.......
My Mom has always been a fan of the Beach Boys and I grew up hearing "I wish they all could be California girls...." What do you think of when you hear California girl? Long blonde hair, deep brown tan, 5'7", about 110 pounds, trim and fit. And maybe like a bit of like, I don't know, like a valley girl accent, like totally for sure? I'm sure that you readers, as smart as you are, have no such misconceptions. And I'm living proof. When I lived there I went to the beach probably about once a year, I rarely had a tan, I'm only 5'6", my hair is blah brown, and I think I was 110 pounds in about the 4th grade, but I don't remember because I wasn't paying attention then.
But really, none of that matters. I lived in California and I was a girl, so I was a California girl. So what if I lived in the High Desert where the only trees were these hideous joshua trees that were no good for climbing, lived on a horrible dirt road, had lizards on my pillow, scorpions in the silverware drawer and rattlesnakes in the garage? We really did live in a neat place. We were 30 minutes from the mountains and a ski slope, 1 1/2 hours from the beach and disneyland, and pretty much about 2 hours or less from anything else you could ever want to do, if you could see through the smog and survive the horrible freeways with very rude drivers. (I know, not everyone there is, but holy cow there were a lot of rude drivers this last week.) And we had amazing sunsets and storms.
But going back I realized something. There's no pull for me there anymore. I don't belong. I have fun and I enjoy it but I also can't wait to get home. I so wish I could be close to my brother but even that isn't enough draw for me. I remembered the beautiful sunsets from my childhood but when we were there all I saw was this yellowish glow. The smog has moved up over the mountains and over my home town. The town has grown, but at the same time it hasn't. Things have changed, but they haven't, and the thing that has changed the most, is, well.....me.
There was this moment last week when it all came back to me so strong. The feelings, smells, sounds, sights, emotions, everything came back and I felt as if I was that girl again. And that moment was really enlightening. I have this tendency to look back on that girl and wish so much that I could be her again. Full of faith that came so easily, the future wide open before me, excited, energetic, active, hopeful. So often I look back and that's what I see and fear I've lost it.
But I realized I haven't. It was an amazing realization. I'm still that girl. Only better. Oh, thank heavens I finally had an epiphany, better! Hallelujah! And I also realized that I am so glad that life has taken me where it has. In this little Utah town that I hated so much at first and now love. With this little family that came quicker than I originally planned but that I love fiercely, and tenderly. And here is where I belong.
*That last picture is ironically of me with some gals on our choir trip to Disney World in Florida. I'm in the white shirt with sleeves in the back. It's the closest I could find to show that "me" I was talking about.
Caution! Sharp curve ahead...
5 weeks ago