I drive on Highway 49 when I go to visit my family outside of Jackson, Mississippi.
It’s a highway I’ve known my entire life.
There’s the boiled peanut man.
Well, there are a lot of boiled peanut men.
There are also a lot of sweet potato men.
Antique shops. Roadside flea markets. Mom and pop diners.
It occurred to me, while driving this stretch of road yesterday, that it’s been a year since I’ve moved back to Mississippi. I’m very nostalgic about dates like this. Not only has this year gone by fast, it’s also been a whirlwind.
I still don’t feel like I’ve caught up just yet.
I’m also still struggling with my sense of place.
It’s been a hard season for me.
I was lucky to have a few months off when I moved back.
My mom, nonchalantly placing $20 bills in my shoes before she left for the morning.
I struggled finding work in Jackson, so I moved back to Hattiesburg.
Still, I find myself a little wobbly, and a little out of sorts.
So many people I know have found their niche. Their people. Their lovers. Their pets. Their homes.
I’m having a hard time figuring out what it is I want. What a luxury.
I sense that I am so close to learning something about me and my life. I have doors open for me, and a lot of doors I feel I’m left knocking.
Not religious enough.
Not healthy enough.
Not social enough.
Not southern enough.
It is a needy feeling, sometimes in my belly. Some days, I connect deeply, and others, I still feel so homesick for that thing I used to have.
I’m really trying hard.
I’m working a lot, and I’m carrying a lot of weight.
I’m carrying my past, present and future. All of which, looks a lot like me trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
With that being said, I have felt so lucky to have all of this back.
What I lost, was tremendous.
But coming back home, I gained something else.
My wild and precious community.
Who feed me.
Pray for me.
Pull me in tightly.
And let me, by some miracle, into their lives.
It has been a wild, wacky year.
I broke a bone.
My roof caved in.
I started to build a home.
I forgot I knew how to sweat appropriately.
My dad got married.
My second nephew turned one and I got to feed him hotdogs.
I met a
I got a bigger bed.
I planted flowers with my niece and nephew.
I started a tiny business and am excited and terrified.
A few deep breaths, and I resonate with these words I have tattooed on my arm.
these things take time.
and I look in the mirror, with some weepy eyes, and proclaim: