Friday, March 8, 2013

So, where's home?

I'm participating in Lisa Jo's 5 Minute Friday today. We're commanded (ok, encouraged) to write for five minutes and hit publish without worrying about whether it makes any sense. The prompt is "Home." So here goes:
Five Minute Friday When I was 19, I transferred from a small liberal arts college in southern California to a big university in Ohio. I was hiking boots and flannel shirts and earthy beaded necklaces and no make up. And even though my parents and dog and little brother still lived in Podunk, Ohio, I was known as the "girl from California." A misnomer I never had any desire to correct.

When when moved to Maine, I shoved my fancy DC suits into the back of the closet and frequented the LL Bean and Patagonia outlets until I had fleece for every day of the week. I didn't want to be the girl from anywhere else. I wanted to feel as if I'd always lived a mile from the ocean, as if I'd always been a mom to the toddler boy and baby girl, and never that joyless workaholic lady from corporate HR.

When we moved to Ohio, I already had the outfits. I could dress the part for the PTO, the library, the preschool drop-off. I added running clothes to the mix, and when I ran out of closet space, I sold the suits. It's here I've struggled most with identity. I'm no longer working--not even part time. My kids are now elementary aged. (What!?) My life is now more easily defined by the ages of my children and by what my husband does, as opposed to what I used to do, back before we needed at least one of us to have a sane and predictable schedule for the sake of the kids and our marriage.

In a few months, we'll move to Alaska. I think about the move and wonder how I'll answer the questions about where I'm from, about what I do.
So where's home? Um, here, hopefully...
So what do you do? Laundry, mostly. But I'm looking to branch out and maybe grow some broccoli and killer tomatoes. I like to run for hours at a time, and I eat a tremendous amount of cheese.


I don't usually like to end a post with "I eat a tremendous amount of cheese." But five minutes have passed, and rules are rules. As you can see, home and identity are intertwined for me. I let go of my big bad career several years ago to be a stay-at-home mom, and I've moved just often enough to feel like an outsider but not so often that I can pull off the hip and adventurous persona.
Between you and me, whenever we move somewhere new, I'm reminded that I still have frighteningly high levels of junior high insecurity coursing through my veins. I'm hoping that when it comes time to make some new friends, I'll at least have the wisdom not to lead with the part about the massive cheese consumption.


  1. No, no, lead with the cheese. Trust me on this.

    Also, I have not moved nearly as often as you, and I think if possible that makes home tied even more closely to identity. When I moved out of Orange County (a mere 25 miles away), I had a sort of identity crisis. Not because I think of myself as being typically Orange County that way it's construed on tv, but because it had been home and where I wanted to be for so long that I felt lost. Now I have my own little house and it is crazy and covered in piles of books and it feels like home anyway. Ooh, I think I need to do a five minute friday post.

    Love you, Jo.

  2. Jo, your post makes me want to know you. Especially since you ended with a cheese confession. I'm several years behind you, just letting go of the professional identity, settling back into America after 5 years abroad, trying on another home. Your words are insightful and leave me feeling hopeful that even without a new wardrobe, I will be able to think deeply about finding home and making home. Stopping by from FMF!

  3. Heh. Massive amounts of cheese. I would totally be your friend. I mean, I am, but if I wasn't, and you led with that? I'm in.

  4. I am an east coaster living in Alaska. Are you moving to Anchorage? If so our best races are late summer (we even get a color run this year!)!