I started to write a post about “home” when I was in the air on Monday, and it’s proven a lot harder to say anything than I thought, and every photo I took this week sort of layered into a vaguely connected thread.
Coming back from England, we approached Pearson from the lake, because of the winds. I see planes in this pattern from my condo all the time, and it always seems like they’re coming in driftingly slowly. We did sort of laze into the landing, and I had a long time to locate and gaze at my actual building.
I had put my camera away in the “seatbacks upright” flurry, and even my compact was unreachable. So this is from my iphone, and my building is there somewhere, honestly.
I’d been upgraded again (using every damn one of those hard-fought points), and cushy in my little pod, as we floated into a slow landing, I had a flash I’ve felt just suspended above “home” for several years now. B and I split up in 2006, and since then, I’ve technically lived in (counting) an upstairs apartment in the home of friends, my loft, my BC cottage, my rented tiny place I kept here, and my current condo. And I’ve had “semi-home” spaces in N’s place in rochester and now the Shire. (I realize, when totting it up, that it seems to count as a kind of home for me if I have a toothbrush and a desk there). Not to mention the time Finch and I spend in Austin. (Another desk, another toothbrush).
I had dinner last night with my friend P, and she asked me if I felt fragmented, and if I regretted my rebounded move out west. She’s like a heron or a crane that one, diving right on the exposed fish, almost unerringly. I didn’t really know how to answer. I know that my week was spent feeling a certain sense of something I learned a word for long ago studying literature and art — the unheimliche. Freudian term for the sensation where the familiar feels unfamiliar, the opposite of cosy.
“I’ve only known you as a nomad,” said P. She hadn’t realized that when I was with B, I’d lived on the same street for 15 years.
I was at B’s today to fetch her and a friend for brunch. Her house used to be my home. My little goat with the snapped off leg is still there in her dining room, along with a photo of me, impossibly thin, impossibly young, looking bemusedly at a drill, during the time we were renovating the house.
More unheimliche. My home and not my home, still a warm space, but now filled with an assortment of people in the Dykes to Watch Out For tradition. An old friend, now divorced herself, who lives in “the pit,” her oily little dog, assorted lovers and foreign visitors and mentees. Queer family that I’m on the periphery of, layered into the space, but not “of” it.
I left my buttery, maroon coloured Swedish leather jacket in England (another hazard of the peripatetic life), so I dug an old jacket out of my closet to wear last night.
It dated from about 10 years ago, during a more queer-identified time in my life. I was surprised it still fit, and I looked at myself before I went out, sharp fancy cats-eyes glasses (Rapp, in Toronto, recently, at great cost), northbound leather jacket (eloquent but muffled), jeans (bought at an Old Navy in Harlingen texas), Rhinestone Cowgirls tshirt (Austin roller derby), and red fluevog boots, and wasn’t sure how it all fit together anymore.
I had lunch with my cousin the other day, and he said it seemed to him that I have crafted my life deliberately, with a sense of purpose. There was a kind of admiration to his tone, which surprised me, and which I appreciated — I don’t know him well, and I wasn’t sure how the choices I make “read” to someone who works in the corporate world, is happily heterosexually married in an edge city with a charming toddler. I appreciated that he could see a through-line that I can’t always see myself. I fumble to name it — a kind of adventurousness, wanting to do work that’s meaningful to me, a kind of fitting in as much as possible, a kind of willingness to try something that always seems to be a higher context than not trying something. (Within certain parameters. It seems I’m no longer that willing to try things that interfere too much with my *sleep*. Or digestion).
I do have a high sense of restlessness, though, the “one foot on the dock and the other in the boat” sensation more pronounced than it has been any other time in the past seven years. I’m certainly *happier* than I’ve been during most of those years, and content with the work I’m doing. Feeling very privileged to do work where I can draw something like this, and capture the unnamed, and get paid well for it.
I look happy in photographs taken of me. Feeling loved, feeling very lucky. Looking around more — and finding birds, or people’s expressions, or a five dollar bill on the ground.
And. And. And. Restless, and feeling like the fragmentation is going to need some integration soon. Feeling something about consequences, that any choice I make about how much time I spend with my sweetie and where is consequential, that I should be less blithe about it. Something about aging, about realizing that my dad died when he was less than three years older than I am now, that my grandmother was a year older than I am now when I was born. That I have limited “prime earning years” left, and somehow have to combine that with wresting the best meaning I can out of the work while I’m in a “sweet spot.” Just the briefest, briefest scent of scarcity where I’ve always operated from abundance. Scarcity of time, space, resources, limited capacity to be with my sweetie when he needs my hand in his, limited capacity to think while rushing around.
So on days, when I do have a bit of time, my mind feels like this.
Not my car, but it might as well be. Feeling like that a lot of the time, with long lists of things I should or could be doing, and instead, I throw all of my energy into doing something like cleaning my refrigerator.
I spent a long time Friday cleaning that stupid fridge, and then being inordinately proud of myself and gazing at the odorless, foodless shelves. And, in doing that, and in getting ready to make dinner for my sister, I actually forGOT to take a daily photo. First time this year. (This one was taken Saturday morning). Somehow I feel like my sense of self-discipline just slipped off the edge this week, parallel to my increasing sense of unease about everything around me. Suddenly the familiar sense of home in many places, bed where I find it, is unfamiliar, uncanny, needs a different kind of scrutiny.