As far back as I can remember, I’ve carried a constant feeling of homesickness every time I am away from my dwelling. While the feeling has manifested itself differently over the years, it’s always there. That gnawing discomfort that sits in the base of your stomach, tugging at your heart-strings with no mercy.
It all began one day when my Mom let me know I’d be starting kindergarten. At first it sounded like a great idea, but when I saw the bright yellow school bus chugging down my road, my stomach hit my kneecaps. I frantically ran into my backyard, giving my Mom and Aunt a mad-goose chase to grab me before the bus drove away. I thrashed about and yelled out, “I just need to spend time with my Barbies!” Life priorities, after all.
Much like a bad 1980’s comedy movie, when my Mom brought me to the bus my body mimicked an octopus, spreading arms and legs wildly in every direction to block my entrance through the door. After a solid ten-minute rodeo show, I was finally pushed on the bus and proceeded to sob the entire way to school.
By elementary school, cunningness was needed. Tears and red cheeks were simply not going to get me out of being away from home. The school nurse quickly became my best friend when I began having daily stomach aches and “sickness”. Generally, I would make it through the first thirty minutes of school just fine. However, as the time ticked by my anxiety would grow and off to the nurse I would go. My Mom adjusted to the daily phone calls of, “Can you come pick up your daughter?” And some days it even worked!
Middle school and high school were the lands of migraines. At first it was easy to complain of a migraine, then go home to take the medicine. But those tricky nurses were smarter than I assumed. Before long, they requested my Mom bring my migraine medicine to be kept at school. They would allow me to take it, lay down for thirty minutes, then head back to class. Once that happened, I waved goodbye to the migraine medicine and took off in my car mid-day throughout my entire senior year.
College held my interest for awhile, but within a short period time, I was begging to be picked up every Friday and dreading the return to the dormitories on Sunday night. Even though I had typical teenage feelings about my parents (“They suck! They don’t understand me!”), home was the only place I wanted to be.
I wish I could say I’m cured. That I’m almost thirty years old and never have a homesick day in my life.
But that would all be one big fat lie. Sunday nights I still grab my stomach and give my boyfriend that terrified look. Monday mornings are pretty much my worst enemy, as I fight off tears and head to work. Monday through Friday I bumble around in a nauseated state attempting to think up ways to stay home (Flu? Fighting terrorists? Moving to a foreign country?)
And let me put this out there for the record, it’s not about actually working. I love working and my job. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old and started working full-time years before my peers (and before I even needed to). I’ve always been a perfectionist in my work and at times, a workaholic. I love setting goals and reaching them, while also providing a perfect end product.
And it’s not about being out of my physical housing either. In fact, if I stay indoors for more than one day, cabin fever is knocking at my door with a smoker’s cough and an abrasive attitude. I’m not even shitting you.
In all honesty, the cause of my homesickness is completely unknown to me. It hovers in my life like the thickness of a humid summer night; I can’t shake it and it never goes away. No matter how much I turn a blind eye or attempt to think positive thoughts, it stays sitting and poking me with reminders that I am not where I want to be.
Homesickness, you’re a bitch.