Saturday, February 06, 2010

"You have to venture out before you can know what it is like at home."

Something that someone said in my English seminar last Thursday that has resonated with me. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to leave home to go to university. The day finally came four years ago in March, when I found out that I could go to Canada. As soon as the possibility materialized for me, my life began to slowly transform. In my last year of high school, I'd like to think that I knew that I needed to go away. There were a lot of things in my life that I wasn't pleased with. I was overweight and (slightly) self-destructive and just not living up to the potential I now know I have. I don't think at the time I realize how much of an impact an environment has on a person. And now when I go to visit my family, I find that that side of me surfaces every so often and I find myself longing to leave again.

Stepping out on my own has given me the chance to know who I am, independent of the influence of my family. Yes, of course I love them dearly. And there are many arguments to prove that I am still very much of product of my childhood environment; or maybe just that gene pool. But I've truly come to find out that I'm much different from the person I thought I intimately knew for the first 18 years of my life. My first year at UBC was largely defined as a process of navigated myself. I found out that I'm actually very disciplined and more dedicated to what I do than I had experienced at home. I still don't know what at home inhibited me from this -the side that I've come to know as the 'real' me.

I think what's been odd about this whole process is how, off and on, it's led me to feel estranged from my parents and brother. Especially the time when my brother said to me, "Who are you? You never leave the house. You're always working or working out. No one gets you." It was a moment where I realized that I didn't really fit in, and even though I've worked through that, there are still moments when I feel a bit on the outside. I'm not yet officially Canadian. I don't really identify with America or California. I'm a country-less nomad in between systems. I think about this sometimes, and it really freaks me out. It's also exhilarating. I've found a place where I belong, and soon I will belong to it.

As for home, I think I've also come to know it better. It will always be the place where I'm from. I will always be a bit of small town girl with bigger ambitions. I will always dream of riding my horses, but walk the streets in stilettos.

{photo by V.}

But I think that, for me, it's better to say that you have to venture out before you can know what you are like.

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