Foreign to Familiar

Coming back to a familiar place after a period of significant change is always strange.

It highlights the multitude of differences between what was and what is. A relationship might feel so comfortable, and yet a piece of you knows that it is not right. A place might bring back so many old memories while simultaneously making you want to crawl out of your own skin. Even walking down the street you’ve lived on for years may feel both foreign and familiar.

On the one hand, you are the same human being who was here before. You slept in your bed, walked down your street, interacted with these same people. The routine of everyday life…or in my case, the lack of it…in this world seems to fit like a glove and you fall right back into it. This is what you know, what you’ve always known here.

And then you are hit with the harsh reality, you are not the same. You cannot live the same way. That glove that used to fit perfectly has left you feeling constricted and frustrated. Is it possible to navigate a familiar landscape differently? It must be. I have known countless amounts of people who have been able to do just that, but I am struggling to figure it out.

I am here – laying in my bed (which isn’t actually my bed considering my mother gave it to my brother…still bitter about that one), in my bedroom, in my house, in this neighbourhood, in this city. I went to a grocery store – I remembered things. I went to my church…and realized that maybe I don’t fit there anymore after all. I talked with a friend, and I realized we had very little to connect over anymore.

This discomfort is the evidence that I have been transformed. It is evidence of all the hard work I have done over the last few months. It is clear to me that the self I have brought back to Canada this time around is entirely different than any self I have brought back before.

For me, I think that navigating this familiar landscape differently means pulling out a map and charting new routes to take. It means establishing new connections, creating new memories, and maybe reorganizing ;). I also think that maybe it’s okay to bring a few familiar people along for the ride.

I really do feel like a foreigner in a familiar land. And maybe I’m okay with that.


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