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I wonder if, on some level, I enjoy the stress of moving; it creates excitement in my life and gives me something to look forward to.
Have you ever felt like you don't belong somewhere? It feels like I've spent my entire life searching for this illusive place where I belong. I'm yet to find it. In approximately 20 days, I will be driving 4500km across the country, back to where I was born. For a long time, I've felt disconnected from the place where I currently live and it's never felt like home, I've never felt like I belonged here. So when I went through my existential crisis here, one of the first things to resonate as a part of my re-birthed identity was my home; my soul and ancestral home. Once I discovered it, it was only a matter of time until I decided to return. Now, with 20ish days to go after nine years away, I'm packing...
When you begin the process of a house move, you realise how much crap you accumulate - even when trying to live a minimalist lifestyle - and while it's therapeutic to throw out stuff that finds its way into the house, I wonder when I'll get to the point when I can stop moving; when I can find a place where I feel like I belong, where I won't need to be packing up my life over and over again.
To give you some context (if you haven't read my other blogs), at four, my family moved us from our home surrounded by extended family to a small country town, where I never felt I belonged. Ironically, I'm returning to the exact town to try and remember who I am and to discover where I belong. I've moved house 20 times in my 45 years. Twenty times I've packed up, been packed up or packed up my children to move. They say that moving is one of the most stressful times in your life and so, I've been effectively choosing that stress! Why?
At the moment I'm in the midst of packing and cleaning and, while this move doesn't feel as rushed as before, this transition period is taking a while. So, to help me cope, I'm going to make a list of my pros and cons of moving house (this is also an exercise in procrastination!):
Get rid of clutter and junk and emotional rubbish
Meet new people
Feel the excitement of possibilities
Don't build deep connections with people if we don't stay long - am I afraid of people knowing the real me? Am I running away?
Kids don't have a home base
Have to say goodbye
I wonder if I've been spending my entire adult life trying to find a place where I feel like I belong because the trauma of the childhood move? I wonder, if on some level, I enjoy the stress of moving; it creates excitement in my life and gives me something to look forward to. Someone said once that in a hierarchy of needs, that I have a need for variety - and it's true - I get bored - in homes, jobs, relationships. It's not because those places and people are boring, but because I'm driven by the excitement of change. What if this excitement covers up my grief about moving away from my extended family as a child? What if I use it as an avoidance strategy to deep intimacy with others because I'm afraid of being hurt? Because if I stay somewhere people might actually know me; the real me. I'm reminded of Vianne in the movie Chocolat, she reminds me so much of myself, how she travels from place to place, never settling down for long. Are other people like that, or is it just Vianne and me? (Let's be honest, she's not even a real person, she's a character!) Maybe it's just me.
So, back to my original question about belonging, where do I belong? And will I feel that belonging once I move? Even once I get to my next destination, it can't be my permanent home, because we will be renting, so there is at least one more move in my future after this one. Ultimately, I suspect that belonging is an inside job; to feel that I belong will need to come from within me and will not be influenced by external factors. But I am hoping that this move will help me to remember who I am; before I lost my way, before I had an ego death and started the remembering of who I really am. But most of all, I want to feel that deep satisfaction and expansiveness of being in a place where I know I won't have to physically move house again; where I can unpack my books and photographs and put them where they will stay and not be in this uncertainty I feel now of belonging both everywhere and nowhere all at once.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2019
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