I finally have the closure I sought for so many years.
When I first moved to Texas in the 90s, I was never at peace because I missed my home in Michigan. We moved back and forth several times, nearly always because I wanted to and my husband just went along with me.
Then when we moved back to our Michigan hometown in 2002, we realized right away that we had made a mistake, but we were stuck. It wasn’t as easy to undo our decision.
I spent years being so angry at Michigan as a whole because our lives were so difficult because of problems like unemployment and underemployment that tend to be more common there.
At the same time, I overly idealized Texas as my “true home.” I finally got the chance to move back to Texas almost five years ago and I’m still grateful for that opportunity. I think it is where I need to be at this point in my life.
It took until some point in the past year, but I stopped hating Michigan and stopped overly idealizing Texas. I’m glad to be in Texas overall, especially because the job outlook is really great where we are and because we’re in a suburb of a big city with all the amenities and access to entertainment that brings. I also really appreciate the mild winters since I have more pain when it’s cold.
But it’s not perfect. Though I’m happy enough to be there, I still dislike certain aspects. I don’t like the overall conservative views in most of the state and the politics built upon it. I’m not like a native Texan in the way I think and never will be. Particularly as my MS gets worse, the hot summers bother me a lot more than they did before.
So I’ve been in this state of feeling like I no longer hated Michigan and no longer had Texas on a pedestal for a while. That kind of leaves me feeling like home is nowhere. But I wondered what would happen if I tested that by going home to Michigan for a visit.
I’m back in my hometown right now for the first time since I left, staying with my parents for a visit. I was really worried that I might come back and want to move here again because that happened so often in the past.
Instead, I’m finding that I can still acknowledge this place as my home — my attitudes are much more those of a native Michigander than a native Texan. But it’s only my home in terms of where I’m originally from and what shaped me.
This was my home at one time. But it’s clearly not anymore.
I don’t have any desire to move back here. Virtually nothing has changed in the time I’ve been gone. Some areas have gotten much worse. I still want to be in a bigger, busier place. A lot of places here seem stuck in the past (my god, there are so many Applebee’s and they’re all always packed.)
At the same time, I don’t feel like I’m any better than anyone else for having gotten out. I am just the kind of person who loves big cities. I was 10 years old the first time I realized I wanted to live in a big metro area, when I visited Detroit for the first time. I’m just finally doing what I had always planned to do.
I think I have finally learned to make peace with where I’m from and where I am now. It feels good to know that I can go home and be glad to see everyone, but I will also be glad to return to my life in a busy, crowded suburb of a big city.