Thursday, May 24, 2012


permanence (noun): the state or quality of lasting or remaining unchanged indefinitely.

After 15 years of living in the Upper Peninsula, I've decided its time to embrace this place.

My new found enthusiasm for this place- the 906, the Yoop, God's Country- is, I think, indicative of the fact that I'm back to who I used to be. Explanation...???

I've never really been able to feel completely welcome here in the U.P.; there's something about being a transplant that, no matter who you know, or how hard you try to assimilate, or how much you try to learn about your adopted place, you will always be the Other.

Other. Its a role I know well, and it has (of course) spilled from general life to my personal life. It can't be avoided. Being the Other is something that people in transition become: new town, new neighborhood, new job, new relationships. When we move ourselves to a place where change is inevitable, we also need to recognize that so is our role of becoming Other. Anyone who has been in a difficult relationship or been through a divorce can relate to this role. Friends quickly learn that although two are invited, only one will ever RSVP; you, Other, will always be along for the ride as the third- or fifth- or even seventh wheel.

And mostly, you will be grateful for such kind friends who refuse to mention the absence of your partner. Every. Time.

But I digress. This post is not about transitions, really. It is about the permanence that results from change. Yet it is also about Returning to Self.

You see, the past two years have been a serious Return to Self for me, a transition come full circle, if you will. People who have known me for longer than 15 years surely know what I'm talking about. The people who have only known me since then may have caught glimpses of that girl from time to time, but are really only now beginning to experience her most of the time.

My time here in the U.P. has afforded me the blessing of creating a surrogate family for myself, friends culled from awful jobs or through mutual friends, through shared interests or family. And those people whom I am so lucky to include among the branches of my family tree have accepted me as Other without blinking an eye.

I figure then, that as a re-commitment or Return to Self, I can in turn accept this place I have called home for 15 years with open arms and a smile rather than deep sighs and eye rolls. There is so much I want to do now...

I want to spend time with that floating feeling near Lake of the Clouds. I want to get lost running the trails near Copper Harbor. I want to plunge into Lake Superior from the Black Rocks with Jeff while Kristina takes our picture. I want to go swimming in Christmas with Bridgette and her dogs. I want to have ice cream with Joanna and her babies at the Dairy Flo in Rapid River while we hatch grand business plans. I want to run the Kipling loop with Jessica- even the North Bluff hill part- in preparation for another last-minute, cheap & easy race vacation. I want to read books in the sand at the far end of Aronson Island on a summer day. I want to have too many late night cocktails with Kris and Steph while their baby and dogs sleep down the hall. I want to drive around drinking coffee and running errands with Pat. I want to eat copious amounts of guacamole and laugh, open mouthed and without sound, with Maggie (beergaritas implied).

I want to do all of these things as a testament to the power of transition, to the power of the permanence these family members have used to burn a place on my heart.

I'm just now, 15 years on, becoming comfortable with my role as Other; even though it was made mine as a result of transition, it is a role I'm comfortable making permanent.

Welcome home.


SD said...

I love your blog and am happy to read that you found HOME :) Sounds wonderful !!

Chris Waugh said...

Coming up on the one year anniversary of my new locale, this post gives me hope of what lies ahead. Grateful for this blog! :)

Passer said...

Return to Self, been there, doing that. Takes a while. Good thing about my self, is that it's quite a comfy one, in the sense that it's easygoing with me, cuts me quite a bit of slack, doesn't nag too much, we can mess around with each other and even though sometimes I get fed up with it, we don't bear a grudge with each other. At least none that can't be sorted with a nice glass of Malbec. Cheers to OUR DEAR selfs!!