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Ungrounded.

When I was between 7-9 years-old, I got wickedly homesick. Sometimes I couldn’t stay over at friends’ houses for even one night without being thunderstruck with paralyzing sadness and loss. It had never happened before age seven and not really again after age nine. After one particularly bad night at a friend’s house where I tried to get my parents to come get me or her parents to drive me home, and they all wouldn’t because it was the kind of holiday you stay off the roads, (July 4th, maybe?) it took me some time to recover. When I was safely back home and surrounded by family and friends at our kitchen table, I was offered a delicious lunch by my parents and I turned it down because my stomach didn’t feel quite right.

“I’m still homesick,” I said.

“But you’re home now!” They replied.

“I’m still carsick,” I said.

“But you’re no longer in a car.” They replied.

They were right, but so was I. In reality, I was still moving against my equilibrium’s will. I felt like I was floating somewhere above my comfortable reality but I couldn’t quite settle down. I felt uneasy, unbalanced, ungrounded. My whole reality had been shifted and I was out of orbit and in a different atmosphere. It only took me several hours to a day to recover and feel grounded again, but I never forgot that ungrounded feeling. It shook me right to my core. It shook me out of my core.

It happened sometimes throughout my life. It still does. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes I take a different route home. I come home from the west, when 99% of the time, I come home from the east. I walk inside my home, and shake my head and blink a lot. I feel like I’m in the atmosphere of the west and being so used to the east, I feel temporarily ungrounded. Everything looks and feels slightly different for several minutes. I feel a shift and I feel almost homesick..even though I’m home. Home feels different. It feels western. I’m used to eastern. I imagine to some of you, this makes no sense at all. And maybe some of you are thinking, “Yes! I can’t explain it well myself and I’m not 100% sure she’s making sense, but somehow it resonates.”

If it at all resonates, please let me know.

The day after Scarlet’s birthday/birthday party, after my parents and sister had left, after all of the presents had been put away, and yes, after we had come home from brunch from the west and not the east, I felt ungrounded. I felt so sad and what was odd was that I thought it and I said it aloud to Cassidy, and a few minutes later, Scarlet hugged her doll and said, “I’m so happy. So happy.” And I wanted to be. I felt that weird feeling I had felt all of those years ago after being homesick at a friend’s house. I felt out of my life’s orbit, floating above my grounded reality and norm. I felt like I was different, changed, shifted against my will. Sure there was the birthday letdown and there was also the shift of going from being the mother of a one-year-old to the mother of a two-year-old. There was talk of real estate and distance and saying goodbye to my family while hearing Scarlet say, “No, goodbye.” There were memories of having a one-year-old with a bad dog-bite, and of course, of having a newborn and being in the hospital room, sleepless and exhausted. And a little happy. And a little sad.

I was out of orbit because I was circling so many places at once – the distant past, the not-so-distant past, the strange present, the uncertain future. I was lying in a hospital bed with a newborn on my chest. I was holding a one-year-old, delirious from anaesthesia. I was singing “Happy Birthday” to a two-year-old with a buttercream cupcake. I was thinking of ex friends and new friends and new neighbors. I was thinking of a future that includes more of my parents. I was thinking of a future that includes having money and a solid career and a house. I was thinking about losing neighbors and getting new ones. I was all over the place. I wasn’t locked and secure in orbit, where I’m used to being. Too much to think about.

I was everywhere at once. Which meant, oddly, that I was nowhere.

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2 Comments

  1. One day, when I was living in Westfield, I borrowed Grandma Bella's car to go and sub at a school. I felt so lost going home and all the suburban neighborhoods looked alike. All the suburban houses looked alike. I got back to the Klein's house but I wondered…"What if I am at a different house but it just looks like the one I know?…..What if these people are really different people who just look like my family? What if I am in an alternate universe?"I don't really believe any of that but there is a tiny corner of my mind that asks "Do you really know where you really are?"

  2. Totally can relate….I feel ungrounded alot…most of the time in the morning when I wake up I feel homesick. It goes away as the day goes on, but as soon as I wake up, theres an emptiness that isn't filled until I put the day into motion and my mind starts to add to the "nothing"…..Sometimes I'm so ungrounded I just have to go home and force myself to "ground"..or a scarletism.."recharge"..reset….

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