“You excited to go home?”
It was a simple question, meant to be answered with a quick yes.
But my answer was not simple.
Was I excited to see my family in Iowa and celebrate Christmas with them? Yes, of course, I was.
I love my family. And we get along like families do, which is to say, most of the time.
My problem with the question wasn’t about being excited, but simply the idea of home.
Do I consider Iowa home?
Growing up, I felt like an outsider in my hometown, a square peg in a round hole.
My pants were too baggy. My hair was too black. My shirts were too short. I was too quiet. My feminism was too loud.
I was always too something.
And when you are a young person in this world, especially a young woman, it is hard not to fit in. Though I wasn’t exactly trying to be part of the crowd, I wasn’t exactly trying to ostracize myself either.
So I had friends. And my friends weren’t all trying to fit in either. There were a surprising amount of square pegs in a town of twenty-five hundred people.
My best friend, James, was one of those square pegs. James is gay, which made him an automatic outsider. The squarest of pegs in my hometown.
When I was away at college, I came back to visit my parents one weekend. I stopped at a gas station in my hometown. The woman behind the counter gave me the up and down, as I made my purchase.
“You aren’t from around here, are you?”
I wasn’t even wearing anything that outlandish. I had on a black slouchy top and turquoise eyeshadow.
“Actually, I grew up here.”
After college, I moved to Brooklyn to live with James. NYC is nothing, if not a refuge for those who don’t fit in anywhere else. It is a city of misfits.
I was happy to learn, to see, to taste, and to drink up as much of NYC as I could while I lived there, but it never felt quite like home.
I am a Midwest girl at heart. I like a slower pace of life. I like green spaces and room to roam. I like cheese on everything. I like board games and slippers and fires.
I am grateful that I grew up in Iowa. Grateful I sledded down a hill at the local church every winter. Grateful I ate fresh corn on the cob every summer. Grateful I had a paper route and delivered newspapers on my bike. Grateful I met my best friend and many other wonderful people.
I am also grateful I left. Grateful I lived in NYC. Grateful for the people I met there. Grateful for the things I learned. Grateful for the incredible beauty I experienced.
Most of all 7 years + later, I am grateful I moved to Minneapolis. Grateful to be a square peg that fits right in this little, big city. Grateful to have found home.
This week’s video is “Bangarang” by Doomtree. And for those of you unfamiliar with Har Mar Superstar, this video will give you a little taste of Har Mar, a wonderfully square peg and a Minnesota native.