I am home. At home. Away from home. Home is where my heart is.
From 1985 to 2009, and again right now, my heart was/is in Round Rock, Texas. The Austin Metro Area. The hill country. The Highland Lakes. The giant, steady oaks.
Since 2009, my home has been Guatemala. It is my chosen home. This, the USA, is my given home. The USA and my whiteness and middle-classness have given me privileges I didn’t even realize were great privileges until adulthood. The privilege of never being hungry or penniless. The privilege of choice, of homeownership, of travel, of higher education, of career sampling and switching.
I haven’t been here in Texas in September since the year 2008. (As a teacher, I always had to report back to school in August.) This September will be spent entirely within the borders of my country of birth, here in central Texas, then west Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and finally the Golden State of California.
Yesterday, on the new moon solar eclipse, I (probably not coincidentally) came across my personal horoscope/birth chart, prepared by Susan Miller many moons ago, and a purple folder filled with essays written for Mrs. Bridgewater’s second period English class in September 1995. The cover features a collage of magazine pictures that somehow relate to my personality. In the foreword, I explain why I have chosen each image. I wrote:
“… by including the caged young wildcat, I am trying to demonstrate my feeling that while at school, my fellow students and I are trained like captivated animals, performing at the sound of a bell, told what to do and when to do it, even locked on campus until the final bell sings its long-awaited song.”
I went on to say that “All prejudice in the world should be demolished and people from all walks of life should lean on each other for support and assistance.” The project includes essays on my first memories, tennis, my best friend, family Christmas traditions and my “all-time favorite movie” (back then), Rebel Without A Cause.
This September, I am going back, waaaay back, into my personal past. Reflecting, remembering, rejoicing, mourning. I am haunting the buildings and streets that my child self and my teenage self and my young adult self explored, with new eyes, with a new perspective. We will tread the same path west along highways that I tread with my grandparents in 1990, with my parents and siblings later in the nineties, and with Amie Jan when we moved to the SF Bay area in 2003. A lot is coming up, and I notice a desire to escape, have a drink, eat something deep-fried or sweet and forget about it. Yet I choose not to escape. I choose to explore and expand my awareness.
This September, my best intentions are to be present, patient and expansive. I do not need to get into arguments over canned tuna fish. I can simply choose not to eat it.
Have a great month!
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