Going away and coming back again
I found it really weird going to a wedding alone, without a date.
I’m an independent person and usually really love doing things on my own.
The seven-hour drive to the wedding was pure magic for me. I talked to myself most of the morning totally enjoying the gorgeous blue sky, the flocks of Canada geese heading south to feed in the fields and the birds of prey circling overhead. The trees hadn’t started changing yet so they were a beautiful green still crisp and alive from the hot summer we’ve had.
Once I got close to Toronto I realized I’d forgotten directions to my mom’s place. I laughed, shook my head, turned up the music, realized perimenopause had taken part of my brain and at that moment she called and I memorized the route to her place once I got off the highway.
I still took the wrong exit and had to rely on Google Maps to get me back on track, but I got to my mom’s eventually and it was a great adventure.
The wedding was not. Though it was a good wedding. A traditional first wedding with 200 people, speeches, dancing, slides and an open bar–the whole thing. For the first time I was at the kiddie table, which was with my cousins instead of my aunts and uncles. I really enjoyed that.
I was the only one without a date, but I ended up sitting next to an angel. The girlfriend of one of my favourite cousins was sitting next to me and from the moment I sat down she talked with me as if we’d known each other forever, which we didn’t. I’d only met her once before. She kept me feeling part of it all and positive and I made it through the evening without too much old family shit coming up to the surface.
I’m the only family member that has left Ontario.
I left when I was 18 and never moved back.
One of the best decisions of my life.
And as I drove back across the border and into Quebec I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew once again that this is where I’m meant to be.
There are family members that I love and would love to see more often, but overall my family doesn’t make me feel welcome and they never have. I’m not blaming them, they probably don’t know they do it, but my differences were always highlighted. I was made to feel awkward and weird and misunderstood–the black sheep–from a very young age.
And it’s true I don’t want to “fit in.” That’s not me. And because I come from an extremely competitive, Type A family, my own personality defended itself and pushed them away. I don’t regret it. It’s how I’ve kept my own self against great odds, but I don’t feel as if I’m walking into the bosom of my family when I occasionally go back that’s for sure.
But I do feel totally comfortable with the life I’ve made for myself here. It hasn’t always been easy. I’m divorced twice, but I’ve found a church community I love and friends I’ve known for years and watched my son grow up here. And I love where I live, and the home I live in.
As I drove home through the West Island streets I realized how gorgeous and vibrant the area is. The trees were just beginning to get tinges of yellow and orange in the tips of their leaves. The malls were busy and the houses were well looked after and beautiful. And I knew without a doubt that I was home.
I had to make my home for myself because that’s how I found my tribe. It was a journey I will never regret taking. I have grown into myself, and learned that who I am is exactly who I want to be.