Cafe Hitch-hike


The hometown is calling

Whew, I hope all of this visualization has a point and goes somewhere. I've been working with my mentor more with this, and it's not pleasant. It's one thing to touch on the pain of something that happened long ago and then quickly put it in an emotional file and sock it away. It's a different thing to come up with a corrective response to it. An example would be that my 8-year old self felt neglected by my mother, so I touch base and respond to it. "Hey, let's get something nice to wear... why don't we do your hair?... Look at this good meal we had!... this is our home, and it is safe, quiet, and very comfortable, see?" In other words, nurture the part of me that felt a certain way.

It felt really weird to do this for myself. I sometimes counsel friends and family. I am usually able to offer a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear, except now, I'm giving it to myself. I'm surprised how little I usually do. I'm good at being like a tough father, "chin up, and keep soldiering on," rather than a nice female relative. In other words, my mentor suggests that I do the things I do for others, except for myself for once.

About 2 months ago, my youngest sis Rosepetal invited me to the hometown at the end of May because Mom will be visiting. We were going to keep my visit a secret so we could surprise Mom. A few days ago, I heard from my brother Deebo. He wanted to know what it was like to fly because he had never flown before, and I told him what it was like. He was visiting to Michigan at the same time as Mom and me. He later told me that Rosepetal helped him get a flight for the same time Mom would be there, and I told him about Mom's visit.

I didn't know Rosepetal wanted to also keep Deeb's visit a secret, or Mom's visit a secret from our brother! About 2 seconds after Deeb and I chatted, I got a WTH? message from Rosepetal. After some exchanges, the 3 of us agreed that if we keep this among ourselves, we can still surprise Mom. But, Rosepetal made a bad call with expecting Deebo to keep a secret (hahahahah!). Anyhow, we'll see what's up.

Rosepetal is planning a surprise visit for Mom at the end of May. She paid for Mom and Deebo's tickets, and this kind of generosity is unheard of in our family, so I wondered what really was up. I was worried that she or someone had a bad announcement (like maybe she's dying) to get us to come back at the same time. Well, I think (and sure as hell hope) it's just a visit for Mom. Rosepetal noticed that Mom has been rather depressed since Uncle Joe died.

The only sibling who can't go is Lana. She broke her probation last year, so she can't return to Michigan because she has a warrant. I wish she didn't have the warrant and come! Lana got into a mess a couple of months ago, and dragged our mother into it. She has largely stayed away from everyone, but we send each other occasional texts. My siblings and I all agree on certain things about her. She's amazingly shrewd, but doesn't apply that to the decisions she makes. I miss her so much and everyone feels concerned for her, and wishes she could clean up. I'm afraid of the day where she won't be able to come back from whatever happened to her.

Bernardo has been back in touch, and we plan to meet each other in Michigan. However, I seem to get all or nothing when it comes to interest from guys, so guess which side this is? The other day, he texted me his idea for me to move to Michigan, get my doctorate at his university, and have him as an instructor (he teaches 1 doctoral class a semester). I wrote back, "You are proposing a change in my career, my job, my finances... My life." We've been talking once in a while for the past few months, and then started talking more regularly these past 2 weeks. I felt this was rather abrupt. Maybe I'm jumping ahead of myself, but is this another guy I get to piss off because I didn't follow his wishes? Great, he can have a seat at the table with the rest. My eagerness to see him rapidly diminished with that message.

Last summer, Bernardo appeared to want instant everything, and I'm like waaaaait a minute here... I thought when we got back in touch, it wouldn't be this way again, and I hope it doesn't. It's partly that I don't want a long-distance relationship. I've already been there, and it's having one foot in one place and another foot in another, and not feeling fully present in either one. Also, I'm not about to pack everything up and make a major change to my life just for him. I worked too hard to get what I've got, and I'm not going to step away from it just because some guy is into me (and I'm still getting to know him). Bernardo's head may be in the clouds, but mine are not. I'm not being a buzzkill, it's me maintaining some boundaries in my life!

Well, one thing all of this points to is... going back home. The last time I went was with Rafa, and being with him largely buffered me from any miserable thoughts. This time, it will be just me, face-to-face with everything and everyone. I now know it's hard for me to see my siblings because it reminds me of the pain and difficulty that were such a regular backdrop of our family life. It's hard to look at the distance that grew even more between me and my siblings. It's hard for me to go to Michigan for that same reason.

Mom asked me to accompany her to Michigan a couple of months ago, reminding me of a promise I made to her when Uncle Joe died. I thought I could do this and do something for the family who couldn't make his funeral. I told her I changed my mind. When she asked why, I felt a heavy feeling and snapped at her that going back reminded me of the difficult times. It always seemed like there was never enough of anything to go around, and everything felt like a struggle. Mom seemed a little hurt by my words and replied that I had friends there, got my education and also got my start there, but I told her it hurt to go.

Getting away from it helped me make a new and different life for myself. God knows I've sorted and made plenty of sense of those feelings and memories, and organized and filed them away the best I could because I thought I had to do that. My siblings told me they figured I ran for my life and don't blame me for doing that; they also accurately thought I wanted to stay away from Mom. But, I suppose I'm going to have to face up to running away. I suppose I have to return to that terrible dream where I was an adult and stuck in my step-father's house, but when I return, I will tell myself it's all right to step out and make a new life. I wouldn't be running away this time, but just.. creating the kind of life I wanted rather than escaping one I didn't. I wouldn't look at the hometown with disdain, but say I simply found greener pastures elsewhere.

I then see Bernardo and think of other things about him apart from his wishes. He was another Mexi-Rican like myself from the hometown. We already had complex connections with each other apart from our own, and we had very similar trajectories with our lives. He's a person from the hometown who is also calling me, but he's not the only one...

The hometown is calling me. I have no designs to move back, but... with this visit, I just hope I am able to face whatever the fuck it is I need to face, get through it, and maybe find resolution or maybe even peace. I have just over a month to prepare...

downwind | upstream