Leaving Home While Standing Still


My TCK survival techniques are working against me in my adult life.

I grew up compartmentalizing each country into boxes in my brain. Storing memories only to lock them up when I leave, before moving onto the next life. But now I don’t know how to handle staying and working through the conflicting experiences I’m collecting. I don’t know how to stay and invest in one job, in a person, in a city long-term. I am trying desperately to leave while being completely stationary. I’m panicking because there is no reason to go, there is no goodbye coming and because this is foreign.

Being a TCK taught me to live with one foot in one country and my other foot in another. Always ready to uproot, to run. We did a lot of running. We ran back to the states and faced a wall of conflict. My dad left the state, my sister was alone in college and my mom and I continued to run from house to house. Instead of being present where I was and trying to adjust, I planted one foot in Peru and the other foot stood shakily in the States. 

I don’t think I’ve ever taken that foot out of Peru. I can though and I need to remove it. I need to have both feet where I am but I am scared, no, terrified. Terrified of what life will look like if I were to commit to one place.

Growing up in the states, we focused on Peru. After Peru, it was Costa Rica, and back to Peru again. We lived in one country and learned about another. We were living in one place with our minds in another. That is what I’ve continued to do throughout my entire adult life despite the fact that it is impractical. It makes my life here difficult. I am not leaving this country anytime soon, yet I dream every day of a different city overseas.

I’m losing myself in dreaming and I don’t know who I am in the states. I don’t know myself in Nashville or Minneapolis. I feel lost and discouraged. I’m fighting myself against my own happiness by not allowing myself to be present and content where I am. 

I love my upbringing. I wouldn’t trade one move, one city, one suitcase for a stationary childhood. But how do I grow out of that? How do I take over 20 years of thought patterns, of letting go, of moving, of transience and tell myself it is okay to stay. How do I pry my other foot from Peru and stand on two feet in Nashville?