Homecrashing: When A Homecoming Goes Awry
another gem from EDP Contributing writer Marissa
The idea of ‘home’ has always been something that alluded me. Even after 8 years in California, it was hard for me to call it home. I was settled in and I had a California license to prove it but somehow calling it my home seemed like a betrayal. Being from New England, I was fiercely loyal to my family, friends, and the Patriots. I grew up in a small town and had a friend group that was thick as thieves. Deciding to move away from a loving family and a close knit group of friends wasn’t an easy decision, but I knew it was the right one.
I always knew I wasn’t going to settle down in California, but I never knew when I was moving ‘home.’ After staying in the same apartment for the four years I was in Los Angeles, I was feeling burnt out. When I got the opportunity to travel to Paris, I jumped at it. I figured a change of pace would restore my love for LA, but alas, it did not.
Without another city in mind, it was time to move back to the East Coast. My time on the West Coast provided me with life long friendships that split my heart open to the idea that family extends to your friends. The bonds I created singlehandedly made the move a great decision. #noregrats
As for the trek back to my hometown, in my head, I’m thinking this is about to be a beautiful homecoming.
My family would be thrilled and my friends would cry happy tears. I mean, even after all my time away, I would cry every time I left for the airport… so people had to be anticipating the moment this decision would come.
A few weeks in, it dawned on me that my expectations were a bit far fetched. Not even my brothers dog, Thor, did his usual happy dance when he saw me. (Why yes, I was basing my self worth on the reaction of a dog. This is your first clue as to what mental space I was occupying.)
Here’s the thing - people will move on with their lives, just as you will with yours.
My friends were getting engaged, buying houses, moving into the city and my family was locked into their routines. Just because I had uprooted my life to come home, didn’t mean the red sea was going to part and suddenly we would be transported back to high school — where family dinners happened every night and friends gathered every weekend to hang out. HARD NO. [Quick side note: Moving home side effects may include reverting back to old behaviors and habits from when you were younger and longer than normal bouts on social media. The demons of my past sure had their ideal homecoming, that’s for sure. Not today, Satan.]
With my self confidence shrinking to a new low, desperation started to kick in and it wasn’t a cute look. Watching my friends lives unfold over social media went from being a source of happiness to a highly triggering affair. Wait, why were my friends hanging out without me and where was my invite?! My ego was the size of a freight train and going nowhere fast.
When I had exhausted all of my options, it was time to surrender. The only person I was really battling was myself and this narrative that I had built up in my head was the enemy. The reality was that I just hadn’t settled into my new normal. Some decade long friendships didn’t survive the time and distance apart, but the beautiful part about it is that you begin to appreciate the ones that did so much more.
If you find yourself in the midst of a move back to where you grew up, here are a few tips to help make an easier transition:
Be open to surprises:
First things first, drop whatever expectations you may have of how a situation may or may not play out. When you’re completely open to letting life do its thing, you will inevitably be met with beautiful happenings. An old friend from high school made a point to make hanging out a priority and it turned up some of my favorite memories from being home. Let people surprise you.
Honesty is the best policy:
Make sure you’re not being petty when it comes to things like reaching out or telling someone how you feel. Pay attention to your actions and the actions of those around you — no one owes you anything except their word. I remember one time in particular I was sitting in the car with a girlfriend just telling her how pathetic I felt. Sharing when you feel your lowest with someone close to you takes away the power it has over you.
Choose those that choose you:
The people you surround yourself with will either choose you or they won’t. There’s a big difference between having a healthy friendship and you keeping the friendship alive. If you have to force it, there’s a good chance that it has run its course. No matter which way you put it, this sucks. I will say, the sooner you accept this reality of life, the sooner you’ll be able to release unrealistic expectations and unnecessary attachment.
Invest in yourself:
I used to put my relationships before myself. I thought this was the ultimate sign of love and loyalty. Turns out, it’s the quickest way to plummet a relationship into the fiery depths of its demise. You probably read it a lot, but it’s ultimately true: you can’t take care of anyone if you don’t first take care of yourself. If you have no idea how to love yourself, you’re going to be shit at loving those around you in the long run. When I say invest in yourself, I don’t mean go and get a facial or anything that has to do with the external part of yourself. I’m talking sitting down and figuring out where you fall short and exactly what you bring to the table in your relationships. Until you do this, you will continue to attract friendships and relationships that don’t quite live up to what you want them to be. It’s also worth mentioning that this increases your ability to enjoy your own alone time, a crucial skill when you feel like no one wants to hang out with you.
For a while, being back in my small town with no date in mind to leave, I was scared. Add in my exorbitant expectations for my poor friends and we were looking down a very dark road. When I decided to embrace the uncertainty, that’s when it got exciting. It’s crazy how much you’re able to enjoy the present when you’re not hyper-focused on the future. When I stopped sweating my hard exit, I cherished the time spent cooking meals with my brother, doing puzzles with my grandmother and hanging with my friends became a treat instead of a necessity. Truth be told, tomorrow is never guaranteed.