(click here for the song quoted in the title.)
I have been home for 34 days and I return to Denver in eight days–my plane lands in Denver at 9:08 pm on Saturday, January 2nd. It has been, for lack of a better word, weird being home. I spent eighteen and a half years here, and then all of a sudden I was on my own. I felt kind of thrust into independency, something I suppose I was always ready for but without realizing it. I was able to come and go as I chose, eat and drink what I wanted, decide for myself what things were right and wrong. I learned and fell and cried and laughed, and life became so usual. I listened to the Spotify Discover playlist every Monday on my way to the lightrail station to study at Backstage Coffee between my 9 am class and my 4 pm class. I added the ones I liked to my “Denver Sounds” playlist. On Tuesday nights my friends and I had our social justice class and then we got dinner in Nelson. On Wednesdays I went back to Backstage to do work for Starfish between classes and Nicaragua meetings in the evening. On Thursdays I had Idiosingcrasies rehearsal, and on Fridays I worked for Starfish in the office after my 8 and 9 am classes. My boss picked me up on the north side of University and Evans. On the weekends my friends and I went to Nova yogurt and laughed about the boys in our area on Tinder. I slept at my boyfriend’s house where we ordered pizza with pineapple and mushrooms (which I picked off) and extra cheese and I laughed at his “phone voice”, and we watched popular vines on Youtube, trying our hardest not to laugh.
And I fell in love with the life I made for myself. I loved arguing with my friends about reverse racism and the Black Lives Matter movement in class and then going back to the dorm, laughing together, just as friendly as before. I loved trying to figure out the best position to shave in the tiny showers that provided no light. I loved the sunsets behind the mountains as the lightrail pulled into the I-25 and Broadway station. I loved everything about everything about everything. I was hard-pressed to leave, because I was scared that things would feel different upon returning. But now I fly back a week from tomorrow, for six months. It’s starting to feel a little bit like leaving all over again. Like it did in August. I still have this life here. I still work at Lifetime Fitness, where I know which kids like which toys and how to make the little ones stop crying when their parents leave. I still drive my Mitsubishi and blast the acoustic version of “This is Living” by Hillsong Young & Free (here). I still adore going to the Mall of America, even though I work there too and it feels like I’m there every single day. I still get together with Maddy, Josh, Andrew, and Regan at the Burnsville Applebee’s at 9:30 on Wednesdays to play Bargo and get half-priced appetizers. It’s as if nothing has changed but everything has changed at the same time. It’s like I am being pulled in two completely opposite directions: one of home, of familiarity, of love and friends from years and years; and one of new, one of independence, one of passion and friends from all over the world. Part of me is stuck here and part of me is stuck there.
I always tell people to find where their heart is and then go there. I think your heart goes where it pleases and then you must follow. It can and will change. But what if your heart is in two places? What if your heart is with many people? My heart feels strongest in Denver, but I have heart here too. I have heart in the places I long to be that I have not been. I have heart in people I haven’t met. I have heart everywhere.
How can I find my heart when it is so stretched?