It finally hit me today. I am away from everything normal: family, friends, places, ideas, and cultural practices. Most of my last 33 years were spent in Houston, TX. Even in the 7.5 years when I had addresses outside of Houston (College Station (TAMU), DFW (first two professional jobs), Iraq (made a little money and learned a little silence) I was not far from things familiar because I knew people and the cultural contexts of my hometown were somehow embedded in those places or faintly visible. I am now 1,600 miles away from Houston and today I feel alone. I must admit that I hate the words “alone” and “lonely” because they connote desperation or the inability to BE by myself. Yet, at this moment these are the only two words that I can pull from my personal lexicon to describe this feeling. I noticed the feeling a few hours ago because I found myself idly watching TV, flipping channels. This was a signal that I was trying to fill empty space because I don’t normally just watch TV for the hell of it. There are no football games on today that I am really excited about nor are there any programs that I just have to watch; therefore, this activity was a form of self-medication.
Medicating what? The pain associated with starting over. Beneath the surface of my excitement and eagerness to begin the next steps of my personal and vocational journey, I silently dreaded starting over. I also feared letting go. The ambiguity associated with both activities scared me. Fortunately, my last month in Houston was busy and fun—my bday, Kappa Konklave, book release and book talks, going away party, etc. Now my days have slowed and my activities less social and more individual. I’m in my head more as I pursue this life of the mind. It’s gotten pretty quiet. Now I am dealing with that pain and quieting my ego which is suggesting that I am nothing outside of all that is familiar.
Everywhere that I go is unfamiliar. And as much as I wanted to live out Drake’s mantra, “No New Friends,” I have no choice but to make new friends, or become a hermit. Becoming a hermit is the antithesis of my ethos, so now I am trying. I am trying because I know that in order for me to BE who it is that I AM purposed to BE, had to leave the place that I thought totally defined me. Houston will always be an important part of the contexts that make me who I am, but the space and place that I am in right now called for me, and if I did not answer, I would have gone crazy.
So what do I do now? I already made some phone calls home and sent some text messages to a few people. One person reminded me that home is always home and really not that far away. Now, I got to get busy doing what I came here to do.