Wednesday, October 31, 2012


A little over a year ago I moved from a tiny town in Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah, filled to the brim with aspirations and fears and the feeling that my life was really going to begin. I knew no one besides my grandparents. I had no job, no school, no plans for the future. I remember driving around a corner and seeing the nighttime skyline of Salt Lake City for the first time on my own. Looking back it feels brave and out-of-character for me.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I felt the absence of my family and friends  as a near-constant ache. I had lived out-of-state for college, but it had never felt permanent. I became very familiar with the sinking feeling of being absolutely lost. I filled out an absurd amount of job applications. I wondered if I was making a huge mistake. I cried myself to sleep more than I ever have before.

In fall and winter I (slowly) learned to navigate. I got a job, albeit one that I didn’t enjoy. I met people. In short, I tried to convince myself, and everyone else, that I knew what I was doing. While I fell in love with a new library and the Capitol Theatre and Temple Square, the feeling of being an out-of-place visitor still lingered in the back of my mind.

I don’t make friends quickly or easily; at least, not lasting ones. I tend to be terribly shy around people until one ordinary day I am not, and never am again. If that explanation doesn’t make sense to you, well, it doesn’t really make sense to me either. I was bottled-up and quiet at church, work, and pretty much everywhere else. But I was able to open up around a select group of people-- the cast of The Frog and I. They were my friends when I desperately needed friends and seemed to like me when I desperately needed to be liked. God bless those wonderful people.

It was a poignant and bittersweet moment when I looked around recently and realized that somewhere in the day-to-day and the change of seasons this place had become my home, not just the place that I lived. It wasn’t the new house, the new ward, or the new job that had come with the spring, though all of those were great.  It wasn’t just the new friends in the cast that I joined in the summer. It was a culmination of every familiar landmark, every inside joke, and every late night walk downtown, along with a thousand other factors.

Home, I think, is the most beautiful of words. It’s full of love and hope and acceptance. It’s a warm place when you’re cold and a comforting shoulder to cry on when you’re sad. For me, it means that I can be my own strange self without a trace of embarrassment. It doesn’t mean that times are always good or easy, but there are people that you care about to make it easier. I lived here for months and months wishing for the return of this feeling of belonging, but it built itself back up in pieces so small it took me months to notice it was complete.

Home is truly where the heart is.

No comments:

Post a Comment