It is always so hard leaving Cleveland to head back to LA. I’ve lived in NE Ohio all my life. I left in February 2013 to move to Los Angeles, Calif. to be with my boyfriend (who was my best friend for 19 years before that). I visited Ohio three times last year, and this was my first trip back this year. I’ve been in Ohio for two weeks, and leave tomorrow morning for Chicago for a week.
There’s a quote from the movie Garden State that sums up exactly how I feel each time I leave Ohio:
“You know that point in your life when you realize that the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore…all of the sudden even though you have some place to put your shit, that idea of home is gone…or maybe it’s like this rite of passage…you will never have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, for your kids, for the family you start. It’s like a cycle or something. Maybe that’s all family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place.”
I knew moving to LA would change me. That was the point, after all. I wasn’t doing much with my life when I lived in Ohio before. I have a bachelor’s degree in speech therapy and audiology, but I was working three part-time jobs for minimum wage. I had no direction. No ambition. No purpose. I left my parents, two brothers, two nephews, and pup to live in LA. To find myself. Whatever that means.
I always have a similar experience when I come back to Ohio. My trip starts off with me despising being here. It’s dirty, the weather sucks, and everyone and everything is the same. Then a week passes, and I realize how much I love knowing where I am driving, how much I love the thunderstorms, the ability to see friends and family at the drop of a hat, spending time with my nephews, and the comfort and support that I don’t usually get in LA. I realize that Ohio will always be my home, even though LA is now my home. I honestly feel like I have two homes. It’s such an interesting feeling.
I spent time with my older brother, Chris, whom I rarely talk to anymore, and my nephews Toby and Eli tonight. I took Toby to his soccer practice and we picked up dinner for Chris, and then played in the backyard. It was a very simple evening. An evening that happens a lot for people and they wouldn’t think twice about it. But it meant so much to me.
My nephews, Toby and Eli. <3 (taken tonight while playing in their backyard)
Now I am at my parents, packing up all my things, and I just want to cry. But the thing is, I’m not really sure why. I’m very sad to leave. I don’t know when I will be back. I’m sad that my parents are selling the house I grew up in, so when I come back, I really won’t have a home. I’m also happy that I have a place that I miss so much. A place filled with family and friends and people I love. It’s very bittersweet. I noticed that I stopped saying goodbye to people. I didn’t say bye to my dog Emma. Or my dad (although I thought I would see him again before I left). Or my mom. Or sister-in-law. I think that’s because I don’t want to accept that I am leaving. It’s been a year and a half since I left Ohio, and there are so many things that I can’t stand here, but it’s still such an important place in my heart. I can’t seem to let go.
And I don’t think I want to.
- Have you ever left home? What was your experience with creating a new home for yourself?
- How do you define home?