I lay in bed this morning, wincing slightly as I gingerly poked at a red welt that seemed to have grown overnight. I threw aside the sheets and shuffled slowly to the bathroom and gazed at the mirror for a minute. My ashen face stared back at me as I reached below the sink top, feeling blindly for my small makeup pouch. I tugged at the zipper, which stubbornly refused to move. String must have caught between those teeth again, I thought, feeling the all too familiar frustration start to settle in.
I find myself conflicted whenever I hear the word “belonging.” For a while, it used to conjure images of happy, fail-proof friend groups. Belonging meant that you had constant buddies to fall back on, no matter what. Belonging meant that these people would never shun you. Belonging, as a whole, gave off a sense of permanence and security.
Yesterday, I had one of my first spells of homesickness. It came as a surprise. Not because I thought I would never get homesick (which would be arrogant to assume), but because everything has started falling into place for the past week or so. And just when you think you’re adjusting, life saunters in and reminds you that you’re on your own. In high school, I was so bogged down by extracurricular activities that for days at a time I’d only go home to sleep before waking up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school again.