By Anna Myers
“Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but ‘Mom’s’ probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either.
You can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now.
The song is over. The coffee’s done.”
I first read these words what feels like a million years ago, and I remember a sharp pain in my chest and thinking, “Ah, this tells me something, I must have felt like this at some point.” I hadn’t.
I hadn’t felt like this, not truly, not until now.
Until this morning, when I woke up in the bed of my childhood room and sipped lukewarm tea from my favorite red mug and cuddled my dogs and everything was the same until it was all different.
It’s a strange feeling, and it doesn’t sit right.
I shut my eyes and I so desperately want to pretend I’m 12 again, but there are lines around my eyes now and a heavy weight in my stomach and I am not 12.
I will never be 12 again.
I just turned 22 this week and my childhood room doesn’t feel mine anymore. There are boxes full of things I’ve never seen and shelves filled with books I’ve never read. My diaries are still in the grey box on the top where I left them at 19, but I know what’s going to happen if I start going through them, and I’m not quite ready just yet.
My tea is cold now, but I keep drinking it because I need to feel something besides this paralysing stupor.
It’s wistful and melancholic, almost sadness but not quite. I’m not really sad about where I am in life, and I definitely do not wish I were 12 again.
I just don’t know how to deal with knowing that every passing year I leave my childhood behind a little more, because soon it will be so far gone that I’ll struggle to remember. Soon I’ll be saying, “Back when I was 18…” like it was a million years ago, because it will feel that way.
I will feel strange walking around in a city that I grew up in but left at 19, because I will have spent too much time somewhere else to be able to still call it my home.
This is not my home anymore, and it’s not my city.
London is my city, but I don’t have a home there either.
Somewhere in between here and there is the last three years of my life, and in between now and the next three are the choices I’ll make once I finish this tea. And that’s terrifying.
Will three years be enough to forget this version of myself, too? Will I recognise her? Will I be proud of her?
I hope I can. I hope they’ll be the right choices.
I hope I’ll find a home that will feel like one.
I hope 25-year-old me will have a lot more things figured out than I do right now, but above all, I hope she remembers how she got there.
I don’t want to feel like a stranger in my own skin, I don’t want to forget about twenty-two the way I seem to have sixteen.
I want to remember the journey, I want to honour it, even if I can’t stay forever.
Three years from now and three years after that, until there’s a wrinkle for every memory, and I hope I can remember every single one.
The poem at the start is by Kalyn RoseAnne and you can read it here.