Quick background: I am not originally from Utah. I’m a transplant. When people ask, “Where are you from?” I emphatically answer that I currently LIVE in Utah, but I am NOT FROM Utah. Let’s be honest. People make assumptions about people from Utah, and I still feel a need to distance myself from those assumptions, true or not. I’ll admit I never changed my cell phone number because I didn’t want to admit I’d moved here. I’ll admit I spent a long time being very cautious about what I said and to whom. I’ve spent my fair share of time telling stories about this strange place (more on that someday, I’m sure–short version: yes, it’s an odd place and I can tell good stories about it, but most people have no idea about its reality). I’ve lived in the state for 7 and a half years and not claimed it as home.
I participate on a post card exchange website where I can send and receive cards from strangers all over the world (and, as someone who collects them, this has been a pretty cool thing). Today, I got as far in writing to Ann from Russia as what’s pictured in the photo, and I stopped dead. “My state”–did I really just refer to Utah as MY state? Hard to deny the proof staring at me up there.
It’s taken a long time, but I think I’m finally starting to find my footing here. I think I’ll always feel like an outsider to some level–and on some level, I always will be. But I’m realizing that I probably spend at least as much time, if not more, “otherizing” myself than do the folks I live and work with. In reality, I have some measure of control over how I feel here. How I choose to engage, and when I choose to withdraw. There’s some pretty serious power in that. The kind of power that gives me hope for continued steps toward creating a life full of greater happiness–a life designed by intention instead of chance.
MY state. Who’d have ever thought I’d slip and say that… AND actually be starting to feel it, just a tiny bit? Maybe accepting my physical home in its entirety is another step on the journey toward doing the same of myself.