However as the trip went on, I couldn't ignore a nagging conflict inside me. The last time I was home for an extended amount of time I was there to be in a play. It was a moment in my life where I had just left years of working 9-5 as a therapist in a hospital environment. I felt liberated in many ways. I was happy and on fire. It was a summer of late balmy nights, local bars, memorizing lines by the water, doing what I love, listening to the same much loved albums on repeat as I drove around town, and quality time with friends and family. I felt young and wild and free and bursting with possibilities and life. During my recent visit home there were times it felt like slipping on an old article of clothing that you expect to fit a certain way, but after wearing it around a bit you notice the seams are pulling slightly in a way you didn't remember. Had it always fit like this or had time shaped me into something new? I started to wonder if maybe it wouldn't be quite so easy to go back home in the way I always knew it (ugh I hate being wrong).
There was a strange dissonance between effortlessly clicking back into the girl I was last summer and feeling about a thousand years older after the physical and emotional torment of the last six months. It made me think of that trauma theory that one re-experiences the trauma in a new way with each stage of development. I feel like that might also apply to being placed into various environments. The sense memories of home lit up my recent struggles in a new and unfamiliar light. As part of the theatre community of my hometown I saw many, many friends and acquaintances at the play. There was an instant comfort with everyone, but also this odd feeling that I wasn't sure if the person I was speaking to was aware of my deepest, darkest personal reflections (cuz, ya know, crazy me went and put them on the INTERNET). It felt like I was re-experiencing my trauma through the eyes of all these familiar faces and they were re-experiencing me through the eyes of the trauma. Part of me desired to be recognized for the trail of tears that I have walked and another part desperately wanted to keep that from everyones' minds so I could be carefree, fun Becca again. Doing fine. Doing just great. The city is wonderful. No complaints. Thanks for asking.
No matter how much traveling home made me long to morph back into the woman I was a year ago (who had no idea what was about to hit her), being home also shone light on the ways this experience has helped me grow. I feel more deeply than ever (I hear my closest confidents collectively groaning and saying, please! enough with the feelings! she feels deeply enough! no more! we surrender!!) and I take nothing for granted. I absolutely see the world in a very different way than I did just one short year ago. Yes, there has been more pain, but I have to imagine that with that comes the increased potential for joy. Maybe I was initially hoping that going home would magically transform me into the same old hometown Becca who isn't scarred by miscarriage, or infertility, or surgery, but by the end of the trip, I realized I wouldn't want to go backwards anyway.
So no, I guess you can't go home again and expect to be the same version of yourself, but you can allow home to be a touchstone, a magnifying glass, and most importantly, you can let home evolve right along with you.