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Thursday, December 28, 2017


I paged through the anthology, looking for words that would describe the somewhat empty echo inside me, twisting the spiral silver ring on my finger with its inscription The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and found myself wondering which step I was on. Did my journey have more than a thousand miles, because it must needs be one that had traversed the globe multiple times, criss-crossing until my life map looked like a badly tangled ball of yarn a kitten had given up playing with?

It was a melancholy night. Swirls of life seemed to be mixing together faster than I could put them into their proper boxes, labeled work and friend A and friend B and creativity and adventures and so on. Being the strange mix of personality I was, where I treasured quality time with a friend but floated in more than 5 or 6 circles which did not overlap, I did not know how to balance the internal expectations I had to ensure everyone's holiday season was filled with joy and good cheer.

Having made the grown-up decision to stay in the country during the extended Christmas break meant that my days were spent either in my dorm room or out with friends. I kept my phone close by, ready at any invitation to leave the cold tiled all-purpose room where I would sit on my bed avoiding the chores I knew I should be doing. Why did holiday seem to spell baseboard and fridge deep cleaning, sorting of that drawer I'd been stuffing papers into for the last six months, and such like?

To a friend I wrote, Christmas will be strange this year, as I do not know where I belong. I'd always spent Christmas with family, even last year when my dearest sister had flown thousands of miles, on a peak-season ticket, to spend 10 days with me out of which she was sick with a bad cold for half of them. Suddenly I found myself facing a holiday by myself that used to mean sleeping in, waffles and fake turkey and warm dinner rolls with cranberry sauce, a plastic green miniature tree on top of the heavy-duty wood stove we hadn't used in years because of its fire hazard, and stockings filled with little surprises stacked next to brightly wrapped boxes of various sizes. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself.

Then Christmas Eve found me in the home of two dear friends sharing food and laughter, leaving the house just in time to catch my very first midnight mass. On Christmas Day we spent another evening together and I found myself steeping in a deep sense of peace that reassured me I was indeed where I belonged.

Perhaps this wistful questioning was not one limited only to the adult TCK who couldn't return to childhood traditions, feel comfortable spending Christmas with relatives, or prepare familiar family recipes to celebrate the season. Perhaps there were others who also didn't know how to best handle a time defined by family--by those closest and dearest to our hearts. Perhaps some wished for the days to hurry by so sad memories would not linger long.

Am I already in the middle of the thousand-mile journey, or is each morning the first step on an ever-evolving revolution of a wheel set within a wheel? I am not today who I was yesterday and tomorrow I will once again change, perhaps micro-cosmically but still significantly. In the midst of the Olympiad symbol where I stand, parts of me split between realities that still do not inter-mesh, I pause for a moment and contemplate. I am where I belong. I belong where I am. This is the simplistic beauty of it all. Each step brings me closer to integration yet further from definition, because who I am will never be the same. Perhaps I will only ever find the stillness in your calm certainty. I am where I belong. I belong where I am. I belong with you.

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