What used to be home is a very poignant concept for me right now. In Seattle, my relationship of 3 plus years ended abruptly, awkwardly and without closure – when my now former partner, completely rattled with grief and depression chose to run away from his demons (and me apparently) and move back to our mutual hometown of Duluth, Minnesota.
The only thing that I really had choice in was whether or not I stayed in the house we shared in North Seattle after his departure. I chose change. The house was dark, heavy, neighbored by douche bags, bad traffic at all times of day, and angry people walking from the bus stop. It was also filled with memories and his self-destructive angry and depressed energy. I chose radical change and managed a relocation to South Seattle where I now live, not with a partner or a co-op, but just two other adult women in a super modern large, light-filled energy efficient home 5 blocks from the light rail.
You can't go home again. My now former partner is attempting that. I hope that works out for him. I prefer transformation to going backwards. So as my dog Odin and I are now sitting on our 4th floor rooftop deck overlooking Columbia City, Seattle, I can admit it was not easy getting here. I didn't write the entire month of July because the process of moving and separating was just that hard. I cried a lot, I screamed in frustration, I laughed in the face of destruction, I felt like shit, I lost my shit, and eventually I moved all of my shit across town with some help. I also managed a visit to Duluth, Minnesota for my twenty year high school class reunion and a personal clearing of some stuff from my proverbial emotional skeleton closet. Above is a picture of my Grandma Agnes and Grandpa George's former home on Skyline Parkway, Duluth, Minnesota, overlooking Lake Superior's harbor. It used to be smaller and all of the yard was garden – it is now a mansion (for Duluth) and surrounded by manicured things.
My parents sold my childhood home, and their home of over 30 years last summer. So going back for a visit to my hometown where I now have no family involved actually figuring out where I was going to stay in Duluth and scheduling time with my brother in St. Paul. I also had to deal with my own demons – feelings of failure showing up at a class reunion of people (most of who are successfully married with children) being just separated from the person I thought really was this time going to work out and be my life partner. Despite everything I've done or seen, written or published, I hold a deep sense of shame that I can't seem to make relationships work. The truth being that very statement – no single person can ever "make" a relationship work – it requires two whole persons invested in trying. I have to let go of being a person devoted to fixing someone else to stay co-dependent and avoid loneliness. I was not quite at this place of truth when my feet touched down on my homeland – but I got there before I left.
Luckily, one of my best friends in this world still lives in Duluth and has an extra bedroom, solving the whole lack of familial place to stay issue. The result of a reunion is the reuniting with people who live in the area that I lost track of because of who knows what and time, and nothing defeats demons like reuniting with old and good friends, fun, travel and adventure – even in places you used to know well.
The lack of parents in town also meant showing up as an adult. No inner child parent relationships to engage in – just spiritual adult business here. So there I was, voluntarily going to my home town for my twenty year class reunion – expecting to have fun of some sort, or at least a pleasant experience, semi-scared to see what might happen when I saw people. I was beyond pleasantly surprised how healing the process was for me.
Duluth, Minnesota is not my home, but it is definitely where I am from. As a place it gives me an anchor built out of the deep dark cold waters of Lake Superior and the cold winds of a Minnesota winter. It also gives me bright sunshine reflected off the lake, a light blue summer sky and a fresh water wind that cleans all karmic staleness.
The smiles of old friends, happy to see me, inspired by my photos, writing and adventures was more than I could ask for as a gift to bring light back into the battered places of my heart. I was able to let go of all of the old crap I was holding onto in my thoughts about the town in my lonely borderline alcoholic experience I had there before my move to Seattle 10 years prior. As well as my resentment for it "taking" someone from me in Seattle. I've seen many a Minnesotan leave and move west, and many a Minnesotan return, because the pull of our homeland is that strong.
I was able to take in the songs and music of my favorite band Trampled by Turtles, at the annual hometown show, on the waterfront, not with melancholy but with celebration of our town. I was able to let go of the remaining attachments causing me sadness about the loss of my partner and let the undertow of Lake Superior drown them forever in its cold depths to give me back my energy and light for a better tomorrow. I was able to have a good cry, have fun, and be vulnerable with old friends. Thank you my homeland, home but not my home, I am glad you are there for me when I need you. I will probably visit again, someday.