Monday, July 7, 2014

Click Your Heels Or Run Like Hell

There's so many trite terrible sayings about going home again that I couldn't even pick one for the the title. Yet, I'm feeling a mix of all them right now.

I love going home and seeing my family and our close friends. I love eating pizza and wings and swimming in my parents' pool, getting ice cream and the local dive, and fish frys in Catholic country. The church I was baptized, confirmed, married, and had my own daughter baptized in is there, in all its splendor, up on a hill, overlooking the cemetery where my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and unfortunately, some friends are buried. I know the best bakery, and the worst traffic intersection. Down that dark alley way, the one you might think is scary, is the place where my mother grew up--a house big enough for three people and yet it housed nine. They were dirt poor, and I mean that quite literally. My mother married hometown royalty, and it was quite the scandal that my dad married the poor street urchin. The nativity that they put out at Christmas? My grandpa made it.

And yet, oh God, I escape. I feel it all slowly closing in over me, cloying, insidious, pulling me back in, slowly boiling until it's too late to get out.

One of my cousins moved back recently. Her husband is also a patent lawyer, and he got a great job with a company that has its headquarters recently. She pounced on me when she saw me; we've always had a lot in common. This time, she was desperate to talk, and even used that word. "It's like getting married really young, then getting a divorce, growing up for fifteen more years, then reconnecting with your ex and trying to fall back in love with your ex. It's not working." I gave her a hug. "It's not forever, S," I told her. "You guys took this job so that more doors could be opened. If there's ever a good time to be stuck here, it's when the kids are small." "Yeah," she said. "It's just that I've never been more miserable."

We talked. There's no diversity there. It's a strange place; it's a conservative island in a sea of liberals, and it makes the people very defensive and feel like they are victims. The constant living in the state victim-hood causes reflective reactions to all viewpoints that aren't in line with their value. Yes, I am know I am really generalizing, but S and I were picking up on the same things. The moment S or I say anything that isn't what someone agrees with, there's no dialogue, thoughtful discussion, or even argument--you just get frozen out. I can see why S is miserable--she's isolated. She left Buffalo, moved to DC and reveled in the culture there, converted to Judaism and married her Jewish husband, and came back to Buffalo. They didn't want her and her experiences and her opinions and her new religion anymore.

Hanging out there on the horizon is a chance for Vor. He could pick up his old engineering company as a client, which would be huge. He could also become their major in house counsel. But that would mean moving back, and I...I feel like I would lose myself, slowly, day by day. I like living here; I like my job; I like my family.It's just theoretical at this point, but man, what an amazing chance for him and for us, truly. But..what about me? What do I do? Try to rebuild a career there? Or just stop?

I feel sick thinking about it. I feel terrible that I'm not breathless with joy at the thought of being closer to my family, whom I very much love. I feel ill about raising Lis in a culture where every one tells her to get married and have babies ASAP because that's what those of us with lady parts should do; where your math teacher tells you that all girls need math for is to count beans; where you are explicitly told it's better to be pretty than smart.

This is so theoretical. I am just going to leave it that way. It's not like I'll go to sleep and discover that a tornado dropped me back there, expect it would be the reverse--it would suddenly be all black and white, no color.

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