| The Road Home |

The Road Home: Chapter 10

And I… I’m okay being me, even if I’m not entirely sure who that is


Joining the newspaper is the perfect way to join a new school. I get to meet people and be part of something. And, besides, I love writing, so it really is a good opportunity. I write (under a pen name, of course) an article for the first issue on how to welcome new students and make them feel comfortable in a new school. (Heh heh.)

I’m quickly swept up in the new school environment, busy with the newspaper and classes and so much homework. There is a huge jump in terms of workload and academics, and I’m just busy all the time. And busy is a good thing. Believe me. There is less time for friends and socializing — and less time to think. Sometimes you want to think. And sometimes you just want to live and not have everything be so heavy. You know?

Aliza and I write to each other and indulge in very occasional, expensive long-distance phone calls. Although I had expected the pain of leaving my best friend to hurt for a long time, it’s much less raw than I had anticipated. Partially that’s because I’m the one who left rather than the one who stayed behind. It’s also because we’re still maintaining the friendship. Of course, I don’t think so much about how she’s doing, only about myself. Human nature, right?

I find a nice group of girls here and begin to develop friendships with them. I don’t have a best friend anymore, but that’s okay. I have the group… I do occasionally think about Katybeth and enjoy telling my new friends about my encounters with her. They think the South sounds crazy, and it’s fun to become a storyteller. When you’re good at telling a story, it doesn’t matter as much what you say as how you say it. So I can choose when and how I want to get into the nitty-gritty feelings of all our moves and my discomfort. I can just share interesting anecdotes and, yes, even kind of reinvent myself the way I had wanted to (even without the sparkly bracelet).

But the more time I spend with these new peers, the more I realize I’m different from them, from everyone really. They spend so much time trying to get their hair just right and choosing the right clothes and doing the right extracurricular activities. And I… I’m okay being me, even if I’m not entirely sure who that is.

Maybe there has been a point to all those moves. Of course there has. Hashem wouldn’t have put us through them otherwise. We weren’t just running on an endless wheel like our chinchilla in the car. We were packing up — and moving on. As if, in all those boxes of stuff, were also the really important things, the things I realized about myself and wanted to bring along — my personal strengths, my desire to stay connected with people, my sensitivity toward others, and a whole lot of self-awareness.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 782)


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Tagged: The Road Home