My hometown is Rochester, NY. I went to Syracuse University. Yep. Upstater.
The audio in my car is always on, and on LOUD. I’ve been dancing (and car-dancing) my way through my time in my hometown, preparing for closing on our new second home (which already should have occurred as you read this).
“Of course you are!” you might say. “You’ve got a loving husband, two adorable dogs and a beautiful new home. You’re healthy. Why wouldn’t you dance?”
All true. And yet… attempting to “go home” again is fraught with dance-stopping triggers of all kinds. When you’ve left your family home for almost 50 years, re-entry can be a rough ride. Add to it being a Californian in a city with so many who hold diametrically opposite and vitriolic views on just about everything and you can imagine the variety of ways my buttons could be pushed.
“Can’t touch this!”
And that’s happened in small ways, but also in really big and significant ways. In ways that, in the past, would’ve sent me into spasms of anxiety and upset. Now, I just keep on dancing.
“It’s a credit to how much you have grown over the years you’ve been gone that you can dance through these difficult situations almost unscathed,” observed my “gay husband” last month. As I danced my way out of home stores today I thought about that.
MC Hammer appeared In the very first past life regression I ever had, singing U Can’t Touch This It cracked me up–but I got the message. He was reminding me that I’d grown strong. (So I’m letting him write the subheads for this post!)
It’s because I DID leave my small city to build a life on my own that I have been able to grow, that seems really clear now. The ups and downs of creating my own life and career in a city in which I knew no one were much bigger than I could have ever thought. Yet that experience shaped and formed me in amazing ways. I built confidence in my own abilities. I grew resilient in heartbreak and disappointment. I knew I would be ok no matter what.
I still know that.
The ability of any one situation or person to bring me down, to keep me from dancing, is almost nil. It’s not like they haven’t tried.
“Break it down!”
I love being in my hometown and enjoying the best it has to offer. I am happy to reconnect with cousins I haven’t spent time with in years or maybe ever before. We really do have great conversations. Friends who have been thousands of miles away are now in communication daily. I love being part of their every-day lives and having them in mine. My social calendar is full of so many fun activities and laughter. And at the same time, I remain in constant contact with my California loved ones and colleagues.
I was born a Rochesterian, a second-generation American raised by parents who were children of the depression (and of immigrants) in a Rust Belt City. That, I believe, has been a grounding force my entire life. I used to joke that the stork dropped me off in the wrong place, but the truth is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I am, in fact, a proud Californian, living in a naturally beautiful state that values people and wants to give them a hand up. I will always be a proud Californian.
“I told you, homeboy, you can’t touch this!”
And I’ll keep on dancing through whatever life hands me. Here or on the other side.
BTW, I AM a past life regressionist, myself, now. Want to know more? Info is here.