Sunday, July 10

coming home




We were driving back into Los Angeles tonight, the 101 to the 134 to the 5 and as we passed Griffith Park I said out loud to Jorge, "this reminds me of the day we moved back." And then it struck me that it was the 10th of July, and in fact a year ago today we were driving that same stretch, except we were in a Uhaul full of an apartment and the last four years of our life in San Francisco. It was a strange way to remember, but it's true of how I feel about it. I wasn't anticipating the date as some big marker, it snuck up because while it's an important anniversary in the timeline of our lives, it's not that unusual. I had been waiting for it.

On the first day of 2010, I could barely sit up in my bed, alone in my room for the first time since I had the panic attacks the day before, and I was having my first therapy session over the phone with a man who I had only previously taken a meditation class from. He was my last effort and only real hope for an explanation, a comfort, anything really. I must have said something about home, I was probably talking about home a lot actually, so he asked me, "In what place do you feel yourself thriving the most?" My gut instantly led to home. It made the most sense because I had been thinking about moving back for the past year or so before that, but I was too scared to leave my job, our life there and my closest friend. In that moment I knew the decision had been made.

My life has been magical in many ways and when I needed things, they have shown up. But this was devastating and there wasn't anything good about it. It happened so fast and the state I was left in for months was painful, it seemed so wrong. But if I hadn't had panic attacks that turned into agoraphobic anxiety, then I would be stuck in another way and it would have pushed it's way through somehow.

I used to go to acupuncture weekly and take herbs for anxiety, I meditated twice a day and spent a lot of money on therapy. I fought hard, but I also felt like I needed to do all of those things just to wake up the next morning and still be myself. And now I only occasionally practice those rituals and the last time I talked to a therapist was my last session before I moved. I don't need them anymore. I gave myself what I needed, home. I allowed myself to do what I needed to do, I just didn't know I needed to do it, so my body told me so, it was the only way I would have listened, really.

I could have kept on living hundreds of miles away from my family, living a nice life on my own, but I am always very aware that my mom and dad are getting older, that the longer I spend away, the more we don't really understand each other's lives. Actually, I feel like I was able to have a better relationship with my parents because I was away during those years, because sometimes talking on the phone opens you up in ways that is rare in person. But it wasn't enough. When my nana and popi died, I was also very aware that my mom and dad had a full life with them, even though they died fairly young, I had this sense that their connection was complete.

I had a free ticket after they died because I was still in college and I had no need to be home, I wanted to be far away because I dealt with my grief better that way ( I was the only one that went to grief counseling), and I really healed. It was my chance to drive away in the wind and do something different. But the window was closing and I didn't mind because that was always the plan. When I visited and noticed my parents aging more and feeling less close with Mona, I knew things were changing.

So when I look back on this year, that's what I see: myself but lighter, free of breathing problems and fear, no heavy pain in my chest or worries of allthosecrazyandirrationalthingsiworriedaboutwithanxiety. When people ask how life is here I always mention how great it is to be saving money, and maybe that's my pleasant general explanation. This is all what I'd really like to respond with.

I feel closer to Mona and realize that I can only laugh that hard and that long with her, I follow her to her room at night just so we can keep hanging out and I know that I've learned more about her and she about me. I have rebonded with my parents, I am part of them again and I see them in their older years for who they are. I have grown closer to Jorge with now two moves in our relationship, undertaking new routines and navigating our life together, together. I respect his patience, capacity for love and compassion so much more. I feel from the ground to my heart that everything about the past year or so was meant for these realizations, these gifts.





Whimsy Being said...

happy one year, marisa! your journey is a beautiful one and it's so great to see you so happy in your new life chapter :)

Natalie of Fashion Intel said...

What a beautiful post, it is rare to read such truth and honesty on a blog. I can relate to that feeling of wanting to be home.