Of Sadness & air plants

For the first time, until two minutes ago I forgot what my blog looks like.

I have within the last three months mislaid my detachable keyboard to my Surface, not knowing exactly where it might be, as it isn’t necessary for Netflix binging.

I had to dig my journal out of a box this morning and go on that familiar hunt for pens.

Fortunately I haven’t developed cramps in my fingers in typing thus far, but this all goes some way towards explaining the aching agony of my soul of late to say that I have not invested any time in writing. Writing reminds me that I don’t do it enough and that makes me feel guilty so I don’t bother. My head tells me there’s nothing interesting to say.

ArchesBut dammit I’ve spent the last year moving, from the UK to the East Coast and across the states to the Northwest. And that surely must be tell-able. But it feels like nostalgia and not something that will help in my present, especially on days like yesterday when my five year old bursts into tears at not painting a dog’s mouth the way she wanted it and I know instinctively that this has little to do with the art project. I see the photos of friends we’ve left behind which she has pulled off her cork board to look at and I know she is feeling the same way I do: lonely and sad.

Here’s a story: we downloaded three films for our 6 day drive cross country – Coco, Ferdinand and Inside Out. The first two I’d seen, but not the latter. She would never watch Inside Out to the end, saying that it made her ‘hot’. Only a few weeks ago I realized it’s the story of a little girl whose parents moved across country and she had a hard time emotionally dealing with the sadness. Parenting fail on a grand scale.

So we watched it together in bed yesterday, curled into a blanket. Like a typical 5-year-old she didn’t watch it with great attentiveness all the way through, but I had to leave the room to ‘pee’ for fear that I was going to turn into Sadness in the flesh, on my face on the bedroom floor. And did I tell you (no I didn’t since I forgot about my blog) that I have had one celebrity encounter while in Portland? The one and only voice of Sadness (and also Phyllis from The Office (US)), smiling sweetly at me over a display of shoes at my store.

I knew that this move would be hard, really I did. And it has met every expectation in that regard. I thought it would take a year, and a year it’s been (5 July). But I didn’t really factor in the two-step move we’ve taken on, only just settling in Portland in April, so really that countdown button has been reset and I’m bracing myself that it’ll be next spring before all feels right again. So how do I cope, let alone thrive, in the meantime?

Thinking of rootedness and settling down, it just doesn’t feel like something that can be forced, while hoping that we will move to a new neighborhood instead of The Pearl (which lies just outside of Downtown) and that we will transition as jobs come into place. This brings to mind those air plants that are trendy right now. They don’t require dirt to grow and thrive, though in the wild they do need a substrate and the right conditions of course. Perhaps life right now and indeed over the last year, and maybe even eternally in some ways, for the Schellerts has been lived within a terrarium to protect and nurture us til our roots meet our new home (read communities, neighborhood, contextual identities). In the meantime, I know for certain I need soul watering that keeps me going, and that includes writing as a form of self care.

Til the next post, homies.

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Of Sadness & air plants

Moving ‘home’: an introduction

Equipped with the passports of our two home nations (one set which was hot off the press), my family returned to the US this past Wednesday. I look back at myself a week ago, sat in a London cafe not unlike the one I’m in now, reading back on journal entries from the past two or so years. How my heart hurt then. I  wrote like a woman abused by a lover, a lover who could totally do without her but she was unsure if she would survive without the lover. I looked back last week at these entries written about my love/hate for London and knew that this decision to return to the unknown and uncertain States was the right move.

I’m glad I did get to grab that sliver of time to reflect because here, in this cafe today, having come to mull over the theme ‘home’ for a storytelling event I’m taking part in next week, I keep fielding that internal question that has come every day: what the hell have we done. I knew the question would come and I don’t doubt moving has been a mistake, but I am struggling in these early days to know where to find my foothold here. Technology, culture, politics – they’ve all moved on so far out of my grasp. I truly feel like a foreigner in this landscape, however I do feel that I am able to connect to these people as my own. I feel a warmth there as I most always have with Americans in their open, honest and friendly approach. And now, again, I face a question I never stopped getting in 13 years of UK residency: “Why did you move HERE!?” Particularly now, people are a little baffled that at this time in history with so little appearing to be holding people together, why would we move HERE.

I look forward to using every opportunity to write about my experiences as an American returning to the states after so long. All your prayers and well wishes are warmly received!

 

 

Moving ‘home’: an introduction