“You can’t go home again.”
Nebraska was never my home. It was a sentence handed down. And while I wouldn’t call it home, I am going back… for a week!
In a few days we’ll be headed to Nebraska again. We try to go once a year, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But this visit is different because it will be for just over a week when usually we go for a few days, like a long weekend – max. It will be fun, and quite possibly awful. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it.
First off, I HATE Nebraska. The strength of my sentiments warrant all caps. I’m always torn when I visit. On the one hand there is never enough time to spend as much time as we’d like with the people we visit, eat at the places we want to eat at and so on. On the other we can get in and get out before the echoes of my past and reminders of just how fucked Nebraska is become too heavy to bear. We’ve always done the “get in, get out” method, and never the “stick it out” one.
But I’m tired of always feeling like we left someone out or didn’t spend enough time with so and so. I don’t like how we have to choose where we eat, leaving a favorite out (we only have five places, but we’re usually there less than 48 hours) – some visits are better than others but it never feels like we did everything we were supposed to. Rather than feeling 100% satisfied when we leave we’re always like, “Well, there’s always next time.”
I knew I wanted to do a real visit since our last 36-hour one last October. One that wasn’t rushed and didn’t leave anyone or anything out. But at the same time it makes me so incredibly anxious.
Nebraska is like one big trigger for me. My childhood was crap and I got out as soon as I could. The politics, bullying in school, being targeted, mugged, assaulted and abused as a child for a decade… it’s not a place that gives me warm fuzzies. But people I care about still live there so I make it a point to make it there as much as I can handle (so about once a year). My family is also a trigger for me. My mom is psycho and not in my life, relationships with siblings less than what they should be (though not strained) because of my absence (I was on my own by the time I was fifteen because of the previously mentioned abuse), no strong ties with my extended family because a lot of them are just not good or healthy people to be around.
My relationship with my dad is weird. Only last year after some things, did it look like we might have a relationship. And we have something that is more than nothing, but not quite something. It’s limbo, with a dad who doesn’t know how to be a dad to me and with me not ever having a parent at all. I’m grown. I’m going to be 32 next week. And that’s another thing…
My birthday is a huge trigger as well. (Ironically, many of the things I mentioned: assault, mugging happened on my birthday. Other birthday events included my death – yes I died on my 25th birthday and it was a very big deal, family deaths, a friend’s suicide, basically I fucking hate my birthday, or the day itself. I kind of just want to skip over it.)
So, I am going for an extended trip to a trigger place around trigger people during one of the biggest trigger dates of the year. I kind of feel like I’m asking for something apocalyptic… But I’m hoping not.
I’m hoping this trip is good. That I’ll get to see everyone I want to see, without feeling rushed. Eat everywhere I want to eat. And that it will work out, and maybe be something we do again – though not necessarily over my birthday.
I am excited about seeing some of my best friends, who are my real family. (Family and blood are two different things, these people are my family.) I don’t see them nearly as much as I’d like. So it will be nice to see them a few times on this visit instead of just for a quick bite once. And finally we won’t have to pick and choose which top food place to eat at. And I really am excited about going to the Omaha Zoo, which is definitely the best zoo in the country (says many polls, surveys and lists, but I’ve been to the San Diego Zoo and while that zoo is great, Omaha definitely beats it without trying).
I keep reminding myself of these things. The good stuff. The reasons I wanted a longer visit, and I try not to focus on the stuff I have no control over. Hopefully I’m not overloaded with Nebraska trigger badness because of how much time we’ll be there. Hopefully I won’t let my family or things like that get to me. And hopefully my birthday is just another day that passes, nothing special or worth mentioning. I can’t control these things. I can just prepare as best as I can. I want this to be a great trip, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it is. And I hope I’m prepared to deal with the things that aren’t.