I live in a small town. It’s a lovely small town and I’ve spent most of my life in or around it, but it’s small. And sometimes it feels really small.
Sometimes I want to run away. I want to get Miss Rose, my little dog, and the essentials we need, and just run. Leave, start over, and never look back.
There are both benefits and downsides to living in a small town for most of your life. It’s lovely to have familiarity, and a sense of community. It’s nice to know the people and have people in your life from childhood. But it’s also hard. I am surrounded by history.
A lot of my history does not leave me feeling warm and snuggly. A lot of it is hard, and whilst a lot of help has left me able to handle it adequately, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it. It is inescapable.
Whether it is old friends you fell out with, new friends you don’t yet feel comfortable with, ex husbands, or family, there is history everywhere. And, for the most part, people know it. If they don’t know it they will probably know somebody who does know it. It is claustrophobic.
Living with my husband I was not bothered by this feeling. It was fine, it was safe and it was a security blanket. But since we broke up I have changed a lot as a person and feel confined. Caged.
For the most part it’s fine, and I still enjoy the positives to living here. I love being able to nod a friendly hello to people I see in the street most days. I love knowing the staff in the shops and the gym and forging new relationships with ease due to frequency of seeing one another.
But i still want to run. To live somewhere where I’m not “their daughter” or “their friend” or “his ex wife”. I want to live somewhere where history is gone, behind me, and I get a fresh start. A clean slate.
It’s utterly selfish. The people in my life matter to me and I love them. Miss Rose thrives on familiarity and adores her home and her people. If I did completely disappear I am sure I would regret it. I would miss people, worry about them. I’d feel hopeless and alone and Miss Rose would suffer.
But… but I still want to. Like a bird in a cage. I feel safe. I know I’m protected and loved. I know leaving would put me in peril. But I crave it. I long for it.
A friend asked me if I am going to be staying here in this house for a long time. Whether I plan on leaving soon or if this will be our home for the foreseeable future. I couldn’t answer. I shrugged. It’s home. But if home is where the heart is then my home is wherever Miss Rose is. And that could be anywhere in the whole world.