Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Not Homeless or Hopeless

Have you ever seen a deer in the headlights?  The animal stands frozen, paralyzed by fear and blinded by the headlights that are fast approaching.  Wide-eyed, motionless, with a blank expression, they do not know which way to go.  It is as if they are stuck right where they are: directly in front of harms way.

I have experienced this unfortunate encounter several times throughout the past five years since I left southern California.  And although I get so frustrated by these stealthy creatures for standing frozen in the middle of the road, I have to say that I can relate to the psychological paralysis that takes over, upon facing a fast approaching threat head on.

There is a question I am frequently asked, that induces a similar physical reaction to that of a deer in the headlights.  The question may be presented in a number of ways: Where do you live? Do you live in Nashville? Are you keeping your Michigan address? What about Los Angeles: you ever think about going back? Are you going to go to New York for good?  So, where do you call home?

All of these questions approach faster than I can anticipate; shining a bright, blinding spotlight directly on my face, and I am frozen.  The whites of my eyes reflect the oncoming collision and I stand there for a long, uncomfortable silence.  My mind goes blank.  I am motionless and short of breath. 

Where’s Home??

Uhh… ummm… well, yeah… I umm, love Tennessee… but wanted to be here in uhhh Michigan for the summer and uh my family. Sure I love California…it’s where I was, ummm born and uhhhh, raised. 

New York, mmm hmm yeah, eehh I love it there too. Hmmm I have no idea when or how long I will be in NYC. 

Where in NYC; the outer boroughs or in the city?   Sigh…

For God’s sake: It is a simple question.

But each and every time I am asked, I think: Gosh, I seriously need to come up with a better answer.  It has to be streamlined, polished and holstered for safekeeping. 

They say, “Home is where your heart is.”  And perhaps that is why it is such a difficult question for me to answer.  My heart is being pulled from the four corners of the United States.  It’s complicated.

My roots were firmly planted along the golden shores of the California coastline, and every time I return, I am brought back to myself.  California runs in my blood and is forever a part of me.  And yet, there is no place quite as warm and comforting than the South.  California may hold my roots, but Tennessee is where my arms grew stronger with each passing storm. My friends down South hold my heart in their hands, and for that reason alone, part of me will forever remain there. 

And in the great north, I am immersed: in the vastness of nature, of creativity, family time, and my little four shift a week job, working behind a bar.  It is a perfect summer: shared with my family, while simultaneously saving up and preparing for the move East. 

But how can I possibly say all of that when asked where home is?  The truth is, I don’t really know the answer to that question.  And I suspect, it will take a while longer to figure it out.  For now, home is wherever I am surrounded by love.

More often than not, I feel A-OKAY.  But when the question is presented to me of where my home is, I can’t help but feel a little displaced.  But even though I don’t have an answer quite yet, I think I will have a lot of fun finding out.

I may look like a deer in the headlights, but don’t worry: come fight or flight, I will find my way home. 

Until then, home is for me, an address associated with a certain state of mind; rather than confined within the walls of competing state lines.  



2 oz of Vodka
1/2 squeezed lemon juice
Splash of sour mix (optional)
Dash of Simple Syrup
Shake and strain into a martini glass
Garnish with a sugar rim and a twist

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