Home for the Holidays

I hope you all are well and prospering! I see all of y’all at home with that post-semester glow! Everyone looks so enchanting and happy, and then there’s me. Still in dusty CoMo.

Ever since I had came to Mizzou, I found every excuse to not come home. Hell, one reason why I chose to attend Mizzou was because it was as far away from home as I wanted to be (not too far though, because I love my baby sister too damn much to be across the country 75% of the year). Jobs over holidays and breaks, going other places with other people, even just staying with someone in CoMo, all so I wouldn’t have to go home.

Look, I’ll be honest. I hated being at home. You still do. Don’t lie. Lots of college students are already complaining about being home, not even three hours after they’ve been home. We’ve all been there. We’re finally getting a taste of what autonomy is like, and it is addicting. Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, answering to nobody, learning to be in absolute control of your own life, it’s damn near intoxicating. So of course your whole vibe gets killed when you find yourself back home relaxing, watching TV and then your mom or grandma or somebody comes bursting through the door yelling at you to wash the dishes, or take your little cousin/sibling to wherever. Now you’re like, “Wtf?”

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Everything is thrown off. Your vibe, your mood, your attitude.

Don’t even get me started on curfew. In college (well, at Mizzou I know for sure), there’s no such thing as a curfew. We don’t report to RA’s or Res Hall Management for having guests, staying out late, nothing of the sort. So we’re out at ungodly hours of the night, doing who knows what. We’re probably studying at Ellis or Pershing, shopping at the Walmart on Grindstone, maybe even ducking and dodging at the Walmart on Conley, Netflix and Chilling, doing hoodrat shit with our friends, anything, you name it. Now compare that to being back home. Unless your folks don’t love you, you’re probably expected to be at home, in your bed, by 1 A.M. at the latest.

If you’ve been to any party at any college, you know that 1 A.M. is when the night really comes alive. So when you’re at home, and you’re kiki-ing with your pals and 1 A.M. hits and it still feels 11 P.M. as hell, I know I don’t speak for myself when I say I get soooooo blew when I look at my phone and see messages from my folks telling me I better bring my ass home in the next ten minutes. I’m drove as hell. You drove as hell. We all drove as hell.

So anyway, this year of 2017, I really did not go home. I’ve been here at Mizzou for a good 85% of the year. January through December. Hell, I’m sitting in my little apartment now, typing this up. I’ve been home a total of 10 days out of the 355 that has passed, and I wish I wasn’t exaggerating. And when I do leave Mizzou? I don’t even go home. Like, I’ve been to Texas more than I’ve been home this year. I’ve been to Kansas City, St. Louis, I even almost took a trip down to Memphis if I’m being completely honest.

The main reason why I haven’t been home is because I’ve been in my bag all year. Translation: I’ve been working like a damn dog. From Res Life to the Mizzou Store to my current job, I’ve just been working, trying to rack up. I’m still broke though, because, ya know, life.

A girl’s gotta eat…

..and pay bills.

Whatever.

The job I have now is in retail, so I get to deal with the ever so pleasant people of Columbia, Missouri five out of the seven days in a week. Do I hate it? No, not really. I’d like to think that I’m a very amiable individual, so customer service and interacting with people is right up my alley. It’s not a hard job, the only reason I’d complain about it is because it’s literally the same exact routine every single day. But I mean that’s retail, especially in department stores like the one I work at. I just have more motivation to finish school and go into the career I actually want because I’ll be damned if my life ends up this routine and repetitive, and that’s my one and only complaint about work.

Working in retail, I come across very different people. One time I came across a Japanese woman, who was able to tell that I, too, was Japanese because of my name, and we basically chopped it up. She told me a little bit about herself, her family, namely her daughter, and I proceeded to tell her a little bit about my mom and where we’re from as well. It was pretty dope, seeing one of my own for once. I also get to coo at the cutest babies every day while their mothers are digging through their purses to find their wallets or keys. Not to mention how I get to assist the real housewives of CoMo pick out their dinner party dresses, their newest china sets, and trade makeup and beauty tips with them. It’s really a grand time.

But there was one woman I came across a couple of days ago that I can’t seem to get out of my head. She was woman of age, so yeah she was someone’s precious grandmother. I wish I had gotten her name. It’s the holiday season, so of course she was gift shopping for her family and whatnot. I usually work front end (meaning I’m one of the cashiers if you don’t know retail) so I have this little mental list of things I have to say when I engage with customers during checkout. So it’s very busy, since it’s the week before Christmas, and I ask her, “Christmas shopping?”

In her nice granny voice, she goes, “Yes, of course. You know, gotta get those last minute gifts in. You guys are so busy!”

“Yeah, it’s that time of year,” I say, tired. It was a long day, my shift was almost over, but time wasn’t moving fast enough. “I can’t wait for it to be over! But I’m going home to see my family soon, so it’s not too bad.” (I’m fairly new to retail, so I ain’t used to this kinda mess yet, so don’t judge me.)

What she said next hella shook me. Like, it really put life into perspective. “Oh yes, dear. I can’t believe how fast the year came and went. Enjoy your time with your family while you still can!”

In the two seconds that elapsed before I replied, I kid you not, the world stopped. I’m pretty sure Miss Elouise (that’s what I’m gonna call her) didn’t mean to evoke anything with her words, she was just contributing to the small talk. However, I was in shambles. Granted, I have been homesick since I got back to school from Thanksgiving.

[ Side Note: I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family, and I had a wonderful time. I wasn’t homesick then, because thankfully his family welcomed me with so much love and welcome arms, more love than I could ever ask for. To this day I am so thankful and appreciative of them for treating me like one of their own, and making me feel right at home. Like I really cannot stress how grateful I am for how much love they showed me that week. I damn near love them like they’re my family too. ]

Like I said, I’ve only been home 10 days so far this year. I mean, my family came to visit me here at Mizzou twice, once when spring semester ended and again when the fall semester was about to begin. So, yes. I. Miss. Them. So. Damn. Much. It actually hurts.

Let me backtrack for a second, and get on my soapbox right quick so you can see where I’m coming from.

Being on your own in college is like a double-edged sword. On one side, you are growing and learning about yourself, evolving into the person you were meant to be. It’s a really amazing experience, because you actually see yourself growing, becoming aware of how you’re now doing things differently than you were to have done in the months or years prior to your current position in life. It’s truly a rewarding experience. You begin to become aware of who you truly are as well, as life throws so many curveballs at you, just to see how you’re able to handle it. I know the me six months ago wouldn’t have been able to handle the things I can handle now. And to reflect on how I was before I started college, to see where I’m at now? The growth there, is truly outstanding.

The flip side: Life. Throws. So. Many. Curveballs.

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve finally began to realize just how unpredictable life is. With every decision you make, with every person you will encounter, to every single thing you do. Every action has a consequence, whether it be good or bad. Like, I grew up knowing that, in life, you never know what is going to happen next. I never really understood what that meant, but it was just one of those things I knew simply because my parents had instilled that belief in me.

But I didn’t see it for myself when I was younger, and that was mainly due to the fact that I technically wasn’t all that in control of my life. My parents were. They knew what I was going to do, where I was going to go, who I was going to be with, and that simply comes down to the fact that it’s because I was their responsibility. But being on my own in college really laid me tf out. In college I’ve experienced tragedies of all sorts, major L’s, moments of unwanted truth, and many, many hard-hitting epiphanies. And, up until recently, I didn’t call my parents for help when shit hit the fan.

I so desperately wanted to prove to myself that I can handle life like the grown-up I wanted to be so bad.

And sometimes I really think I’m doing the damn thang.

Like, yaaaaas, girl! You take care of this, you betta handle thaT! And suddenly I’ve convinced myself that I am invincible. Whole time, everything is a hot ass mess. This grown-up life is not what I signed up for. Can I unsubscribe from this? Why don’t I have anything together? I can’t be the only one that thinks this. All of these responsibilities are actually waaaaay too much for me to handle at the moment, can I get back to ’em later? No? OH. ‘Kay. Cool.

And suddenly, I wish I was a kid again, with my parents taking care of everything, handling everything, and all I had to worry about was filling out my reading log for school tomorrow.

Okay, off my soapbox now. Back to Miss Elousie and her wise words.

See, the thing with life and growing up, we are too focused on our own growth that sometimes, we fail to realize that everyone around us are also growing. We’re reaching that point in life where our peers are starting families, we’re so close to securing our career paths and plans for the future, and we are growing apart from our old traditions that made up everything about our youth. Even our families are growing up, and growing old. Like Miss Elouise. I guess that’s what really made me stop in my tracks. Think about it. We’re at that age in life where some of our dearest family members are leaving us physically, only to live with us in spirit and soul. And with their departures, the charm of the holidays leaves us as well.

We have friends that have their own families now, and that also ties into what I thought about when Miss Elouise said those words. Had I started my own family, it would be so difficult to move back and forth to and from my location to the location of my parents’ home. So I salute all of the new families that are starting their own new traditions and creating their own magic that is now going to be passed on to their children for years to come. Me, in my current state, I’d be so bummed that I wouldn’t be able to go home and cuddle with my sister on the couch watching Elf and eating popcorn until we fell asleep.

That’s why it really doesn’t feel like Christmas is in four days, because we’ve simply outgrown the magic it once brought to us as kids. By the time it’s Holiday Szn, we’re too worn out from life to even think about making spirits merry and bright. If it wasn’t for my younger sister, who loves the holidays so dearly, Christmas would’ve lost its allure on me years ago. It would’ve just been my dad’s birthday, and nothing more than that.

There is absolutely nothing magical about having to come home from being young, wild, and free for a whole semester to being bossed around again. And that is fact.

But, I’m so ready to come home because life has taken its toll on me this year. I am TIREDT of having to look after myself and my own wellbeing. I am SO ready to just come home and dump all of my responsibilities (aka myself) onto my parents for once. So yes, Miss Elouise, I am SO ready to spend the time I do have with my family, finally home, in time for the holidays.

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“I’ll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I’ll be home
I’ll be home for Christmas……..”
– Pentatonix (A Pentatonix Christmas Deluxe)

 

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