Right now I’m stress-eating Triscuits and hummus because writing this post is making me anxious. It’s great to be home, but I can’t sleep at night. I laze around all day, reading, napping, applying for jobs, doing work for my internship. When 11pm rolls around and the family retreats upstairs, I head down to the basement feeling tired and try to arrange my body on a futon I swear was comfortable once. And there, in the dark, in the night, for the first time all day I really wake up. An hour later I can be found furtively lapping up ice cream in the kitchen; a while after that I’m back in the basement crying, because I can’t sleep and my stomach hurts and I hope my mom doesn’t get mad at me for eating all that ice cream.
It’s weird being home. It’s wonderful spending time with my family, so normally, so casually, unlike when I was a little girl and my grandma would come up from Hoboken and my mom would set us both up in the living room so we could “visit.” Artificially constructed social situations are not exactly my jam. This just feels like I never left. Except when I actually lived at home I spent all my free time trying to get out of the house, and now I just want to hang out with my mom.
My mom gets me. We share jokes, she knows my back story, we like to spend our time in much the same way: walking and reading, exploring new places and new food, talking to interesting people. She talks more than I do — being home I realized both my parents talk so much and have such strong personalities it’s little wonder I grew up to be an observer.
I’m learning a lot about myself, coming home after being gone for so long. I’ve realized that I spend a lot of time thinking about my hair and cute boys to distract myself from thinking about things that are more difficult and more important. I’ve been boy-crazy since pre-school and can remember all my crushes since I was three. I’ve noticed that I want to hide whenever my brother Matthew’s dad, who was my step-dad until I was 12 and then wasn’t, comes over. I just want my dad to listen to me. It’s probably good that I’m taking a break from dating so I can stop obsessing about men, for once.
Las weekend I drove down to Kentucky with my dad, and then over to Michigan, and then back to Buffalo two days later. I loved the father-daughter road trip, chatting in between my naps. I loved listening to country music and NPR. I hated sitting still for four straight days and eating crap food surrounded by people who don’t really get me. Listening to my dad talk reminds me of listening to men in Seattle monologue about things I know a lot about. What I don’t know is how to cut in. Or maybe I don’t want to: it’s a lot easier to smile and say okay.
At this present moment I am 24 years old, but really I have regressed to being 12 again. I have pimples on my chin and I stopped getting my period and I’ll eat ice cream for dinner if left to my own devices. Prolonged adolescence is real. Who knows how old I’ll be tomorrow?