No, we're not jumping back, I just decided that if I didn't have a picture that applied, I might as well post a big-headed baby photo. And really, a Polaroid with a giant bald noggin, crazy star headband, and a scary dog tongue/devil eye combo? Yeah, you're welcome.
When I was ten we moved from a small town in Virginia to a slightly larger one in Georgia. Considering that I was young and inflexible, completely enamored with our house, my school, our church, and all of the various activities I actually participated in, I did not take the move from Virginia lightly. In fact, I remember tears, tantrums, and a number of wet, then crinkly dry pages of my Lisa Frank gumball machine diary. Well meaning elders kept showing up in my face asking if I was ready to be a southern belle and presenting their own best fake accents, neither of which pleased me in any way. The South was a foreign beast, and my only concept of it was a place others treated as a syrupy sweet myth.
Sad reality for me, it was no myth and we moved regardless of my silent and not so silent protests. The good news, for me at least, was that roots grow even in the most unlikely of places, and slowly but surely I adapted to the heat, the drawls and twangs, the "Yes, Ma'am" (though please, for your safety, do not say that to my mother), the pride in place (I don't remember so much identity-based Virginia paraphernalia, thought maybe I just tuned it out due to age). I rallied against it most of the time I was there, feeling like I was ready to get out and move somewhere that felt more like home, more like me.
Though the next move is a post in and of itself, I will say that I've learned this need to escape, or more precisely, that this idea that home is a place easily mapped, is unrealistic. Home follows you, places follow you - even more than the sand from the beach. Even now I miss some of the very things I hated from all the places that I lived, not because I now love them and lament the loss, but because I find that I miss what some of those less comfortable experiences and places spurred me to do, change, be.
I might not have become that southern belle myself, but I met more than a few after that move, many of whom are still there across these many states between us, and I can't imagine what my life would have been without them.