As we drove straight down highway 35, from Wichita to Oklahoma City, from OKC to Dallas-Fort Worth, from Dallas to Austin, I studied the landscapes, buildings, and skylines, and I wondered where in the world I would finally feel at home. When people ask me how I feel about Kansas, I don’t know what to say. We moved here out of necessity, to keep me alive, and to keep our heads above water financially. We were both reluctant, and it was a sacrifice, but this has been home for my husband before. It is still foreign territory to me.
I like Kansas in September. I love the sunflowers. That’s a start, right? One month out of the year is better than no months out of the year. And if we happen to be out at sunset, I like Kansas then too. I don’t like the flat land otherwise. I don’t like the lack of trees. I don’t like the weather. I feel lost, like a wanderer, but really, that’s not new. I loved Kentucky. I loved the blue grass, the horse country, the hills and the trees, and our school. But it was temporary. I always knew that. I loved North Carolina, except that my family lives there. That poses a bit of a problem.
But as I was gazing out of our Rendezvous window between sessions with screaming babies, I wondered when and where I would ever feel at home. Are we relegated to Kansas and Nebraska for the rest of our existence? Lord, please, let it not be so.
For all means and purposes, our family lives here in Kansas. And they are everything. But I need trees, hills, and an ocean within driving distance. I NEED them. Well, I don’t NEED need them, but it sure feels like it. I keep thinking that time will help Kansas to feel like home, but three and a half years into it, I still feel like a rejected transplanted organ.
Like I don’t belong.
Maybe that is the constant feeling: A lack of belonging. And we know that the feeling of unbelonging probably originates from a sense of rejection of self. How can I belong outside of myself if I never feel like I belong in my own skin? I am not at home in myself, and if I cannot find a sense of home internally, I will always feel like an outsider. So how does one really take up residence in her own skin? Does anyone know? How do I settle in to this self, not just body, but my own personhood? I would think that it starts with being willing to consider myself as a human being who is worthy of care and love. I would start with acknowledging that I do not have to live an apologetic existence. I don’t have to live my life as an apology for being born. Crap. That concept is overwhelming.
God, how do I change my relationship with myself? Why do I have to live inside of the person that I hate most in the world? It is torture, pure torture, to hate yourself so much. And it goes so much deeper than appearance, to the essence of who I am. Where did this self-hate come from? Does everyone struggle with such an internal shame-thrower? Of course I don’t feel like I belong—but no physical move is going to fix it. It has to be an internal shift. It really has to be an internal rebirth.
I think that there are changes taking place. I suppose it takes time. I am now willing to entertain the idea that I am not a despicable sociopathic human being, that I may have something valuable to contribute to the world. I am sometimes able to accept that I am loved even if I don’t feel lovely. I have taken steps to care for my physical well-being, even if that care is primarily because of the love that I have for my husband and children who need me to be well. I suppose that this process of coming home to myself is one of slow healing and shifting, not an over-night quick fix.
Lord, bring me home to your love for me so that I can come to see myself in the light of your truth. Help me to grow my roots into the rich soil of you, and bring me to a place of restful belonging so that I can become and place of restful belonging for others.