Finding your way back

How does one begin to scale the distance covered in over ten years? It is the difference between eighteen and twenty-eight. It is the time it takes you to find your first grey hair, thicker than the rest of it, and crinkly like it carries static electricity. It is the transformation of your body from taut to loose after stretching and growing to carry your baby. It is the realization that you and your sisters have grown up to be fundamentally different people. It is the knowledge that your almost 16-year-old brother, who was 5 when you left, is essentially a stranger to you. It is the fact that back home you waited for the boy you loved, and now, being married to him, you wait to "get a break" from him. It is the feeling of dishonesty that creeps up your throat as you voice the words, "I am from Lahore." It is a distance between places, but it is also deeper than that. It is the distance between people, between values, between philosophies and ideologies, between calling a place home and feeling that it is home, between the eighteen-year-old you and the twenty-eight-year-old you, and those two, they are not alike at all. This is a steep mountain of change. You fear that you will fall to your death if you begin to climb up the slope.

So, how do you find your way back? Well, sometimes you don't. Sometimes, you just have to stop and give up. You have to stop breaking yourself apart and others with you, because you know you have been doing it, like taking one end of a split-ended hair and ripping it into two strands, neatly, with just your index finger and thumb. You have to stop looking for that bright and shiny person you were ten years ago and accept the rough edges of the present you. You just have to borrow your thoughts from the past. You try to think it's like plucking strawberries in a farm, like filling a basket full of strawberry flavored memories. Maybe you'll turn them into preserves and jams and store them in large mason jars. Perhaps you'll label them - "Childhood," "Love," "Happy Days," "Sad Days," "Things Left Behind," et cetera. 

Maybe, maybe if you do that, you will stop being so abrasive. You will stop feeling like your bones are sliding against each other and eroding. Maybe you'll be OK with ten years of change and distance. Maybe you'll start to believe that you don't really need to find your way back. 

You're fine. Just fine.