Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

The Growing Pains of Moving Away and Returning Home Again

Chloe Platt

Watching from the sun-stained window of a slowly moving car I see neatly painted houses fade into each other; aged amber relenting to the subtle sweetness of powder blue. I admire street signs and myrtle trees and antique stores where I once bought presents for a lover, a friend. I note the ways in which things have shifted: the park bench where I professed my admiration now shaded by overgrown blackberry bushes.

I see too, in the blur of a small town passing by, a young woman. She is familiar to me in all the important ways, but ultimately out of reach—fuzzy at the edges.

And as the car drives further and further away I know her less and less. When the magnetic bounds of my small town no longer ricochet in the breadth of my body I say goodbye. To her, to this little town, to all the landmarks of my youth.

I consider how strange it is, truly, the manner in which we are moved through life. To spend 18 years engraving my initials into the corners of this town, and to leave them behind for another generation of uncertainty to mark over. To arrive in a new city, knowing no one, knowing not even myself, and to look towards four years of starting over, rebuilding, existing. 

I am not special in this way, in making the decision to move somewhere new and figure everything out again. I struggle to believe I am special in this feeling.

It isn’t that I loved my hometown, that I was happy there. It isn’t that any of us have a subconscious desire to stay where we are. At least, I don’t believe it is. It is something about becoming a person in a place, only to become a somehow changed person in a new place.

It is that sometimes I feel my identity is tied to certain places, and that they stay there once I leave. That I may come back and visit them, but I may never be them again. 

We come to university. We decorate our dorms and apartments. We form friendships. We begin and end jobs. We take classes we love and classes we hate. We change majors. We change minors. We fall in and out of love. We drink too much and sleep too little. We sleep too much and drink too little. And all the while we are inevitably changing.

Every day the same person and yet entirely new. 

I return home on holidays, sometimes on long weekends, and within the confines of my small apartment I can feel the presence of a younger self. Unresolved thoughts and feelings find their way back to me, having been forgotten in the vastness of my new city, my new life. 

Days later I collect my belongings into a backpack and, a long drive later, remind myself of who I am now. Who I might be tomorrow.

And I must believe that my mind is a house, within which all the girls I have been scream and twirl and question. And I know that they are with me always. And yet, there is something visceral about returning home, a setting where I am reminded of myself.

Maybe these are the years of moving away and returning home again. Of watching yourself fade away from the rear-view mirror. 

The years of growing pains. 

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Chloe Platt, Managing Editor

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