I have been thinking the past few weeks about my wariness about going back to the US for a visit. I could blame it on me being a “bad flier”, or maybe I could recognise that there’s more going on there.
I’ve spent more than half my life away from the place where I grew up. When I go home, inevitably we all fall into our old roles, and my maturity falls away. I end up regressing to the teenage state. It’s even worse when my other sister travels up to our hometown as well. Guess who else is going “home” when I do?
At least this time I will have Mr Moggs with me (maybe I should start calling him “The Duke”). He’s never met my youngest sister, and we’ve both not met her child or my other sister’s youngest two. The Duke (hey, I like it!) and I have been married almost 9 years, and most of my family have only met him once.
Then there’s my middle sister’s husband. He’s a crap stirrer if there ever was one. Oh dear is he one. Not to mention the general embarrassments that are sometimes brought up by relatives or friends. It’s not that I’ve pretended to have a perfect past. It’s not that I’ve pretended to be someone I am not. It’s that by living so far away, by forging a life among strangers, I have been able to let go of things I should be able to let go. I don’t know if it’s typical, but I feel that around my family I am trapped by others’ definitions of who I am and reminders of past screw ups from which I’ve learned and moved on.
This anxiety has overshadowed everything and is making it hard for me to write or even concentrate on anything. Not to mention the fact I feel like I need to stop eating for a few weeks to minimize my cowishness.
But then I remember that I just need to breathe. All this projection is not going to prepare me any better for any obstacle that might come up during my visit. If anything bad happens, I am not likely to be able to anticipate it. I need to let go.
I am going back to possibly say goodbye to my parents. I am going to take nice photos of the beauty in an early New England autumn. I am going to show my family that I love them and have a nice visit. Then I am going back to my real home here in London.
Hopefully I will be able to churn out a less neurotic entry on a totally unrelated subject before I leave.