Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Bigger isn't always better

Any time I explore this topic of ultimately having wanted to leave California and move back to Michigan, I feel the need to say that California will always have a piece of my heart.  I have friends there who I miss dearly and we cannot wait to vacation there!
As a kid and teen, I grew up, lived in and rarely left my one little corner of the earth, Detroit Michigan. I didn't feel the need to, really. And I guess my family didn't either.  I liked the seasonal changes as each fresh season proposed new wardrobes, activities, and outings with friends.  I liked my hometown sports teams, I liked going to Wings' games.  I liked being around my loved ones.  

When I decided to go to college, I struggled.  I wanted to stay local and do the whole go to community college and work gig, but knew I would be best served if I got away for a while due to a long history of a rocky home life. I chose California and bid adieu to all that I knew, all that I ever knew and traded in my snow boots for year-round flip-flops.  I bought brand new Tommy Hilfiger luggage and was going to embrace it - I mean, it's freaking California, right?

There was something so glamorous about it, too, leaving my little Southeastern Michigan suburb for a school in Southern California.  I would fly back home for holidays and summer breaks, but then always and inevitably pack up and head back to my new life out west.  And everyone seemed so impressed.  At our Michigan wedding reception, someone even said to me, you've built this whole life for yourself in California, that's so great. I smiled and nodded (as every bride does at her wedding reception) but took a pause and thought is it weird that I prefer Michigan to California? That I want to move back? It seemed that any interaction I had involving a where are you from? led to wow, that's so great. Maybe that's because it implies challenge and accomplishment, maybe it's the simple fact that California has palm trees and Michigan...does not.

When I moved back to Detroit, now with my family, I was elated, over the moon, wholly happy, but it didn't feel glamorous in the slightest.  It felt pretty unglamorous, actually.  The statement we're moving to my hometown felt like it needed to be followed with that sad, little cartoon sound effect womp womp. And I felt down about it, leaving this perceivably glamorous life.  No more Santa Monica trips or Sprinkles cupcakes, or scenic drives on the 101. The most "scenic" it was going to get in my Detroit future was a daily route with 7-11s and small burger joints.  And for a second I was totally bummed. For the entirety of our marriage, we had worked to move here, and all I had was this feeling of embarrassment for moving home. Why?  'Cause I'll no longer be the one who lives in California? 'Cause I'll no longer be looked at as worldly?  Or well-traveled?  Or successful?  Gratefully, that feeling was fleeting, as it should have been.  I hate to admit I cared, even for a brief moment, about such shallow concerns especially since I haven't felt this whole since I left back in '09.

It's supposed to be 26 degrees tonight, it's now practically pitch black at 5:30PM as we've fully entered Winter, and my entire family is currently residing in a basement, and I've never been happier. This certainly is the lesser of glamorous lifestyles. Them potholes, crazy and unpredictable weather forecasts and months of cold speaks for itself, but it's my little corner of the world. I've seen Rome and Ireland and Paris, have lived in California and Washington, and I couldn't be happier to be back in little, old Detroit. It may not be seen as Glam Capitol of the World, but it's home with class and character and for that reason is the Capitol of my Heart.

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