The last few weeks at school have been difficult. The academics are not what was challenging me. It was the realization that I couldn’t recognize myself, that I felt like I had become a caricature of the vibrant person I thought I was. I had been struggling to reconcile the feeling that I was a stranger to myself while I was in a place that is still not my home. It’s difficult to recognize bleakness in yourself until it hits you hard. It’s even harder to track down and fix whatever is at the source of the bleakness. Being home for the last few days has lifted me out of whatever gray funk I was in back up north, renewing my faith in the power of the strong sun and a verdant garden to restore the spirits.
Something I came to realize at the beginning of first semester is that, socially, all we bring with us to school is an identity that exists within ourselves. This ability to determine myself based on what I showed to the world was initially empowering, but with time it has become something I kind of despise. I’ve become so adept at showing others what I want them to see that I felt like I no longer had any 100% strength true-form Alexandra left inside of me, or if I did it seemed buried and a bit banged up.
Coming home, I have been constantly bombarded with smells and sounds and sensations that bring back vivid memories of life at this time a year ago, when my identity was much more certain and I was finally at a point where I didn’t feel like I needed to prove anything to anyone. A year from tomorrow I would find out that I was going to Berkeley and three months from last Friday I would become a legal adult. So much has happened so quickly in the last twelve months that my head is spinning and I’m trying desperately to orient myself in my new environment.
A week of sketching leaves and rocks in my beloved garden, of throwing myself into the ocean, of talking to my closest friends for hours in the sun, of listening to Latin jazz while reading Apartamento and of dreaming, dreaming, dreaming has allowed myself to finally find myself again.
I’ve remembered what if feels like to be my true self, surrounded by people who love me unconditionally. I feel safe here, I can say what I want and laugh always and dance whenever and smile endlessly because, God, could it get any better than this??
I am at peace and I feel myself wholly here in this moment. For the first time in months, I feel that I am truly home.