I have never associated nostalgia with happiness. In fact, I associated it with its opposite, sadness. After experiencing this feeling at its fullest, I think my opinion has changed a bit. Nostalgia seemed to bring a continuum of feelings from painful sadness to happy acceptance.
I (re)visited a place where part of my heart calls home. People, places, memories of this place forever fill my heart. And, as I quickly learned, if it is not on the latter end of the continuum mentioned earlier, it can be more painful than realized. Or prepared for. Maybe it’s naïve to believe that a place once believed yours wouldn’t be contained within this recollection-filled enclosure, especially after a period of absence. Places, like photographs or music, have a way of bringing forth I-remember-whens and I-used-tos.
[The House That Built Me]
This nostalgia has a funny way of affecting people. Someone may experience triggered remembrances, lamenting with the deepest sigh imagined, but continue about their day, accepting memories for what they are. Another may take the flood of memories and break down, releasing the pain through tears, sobs, and pain. One may even possibly find themselves sitting on the porch at 2am after a night of overpriced imported beer, smoking a black & mild, reflecting on the past and present sadness between vanilla-flavored inhales, tear-filled smoke, and big city sounds of a south-side Mexican neighborhood. Hypothetically, of course.
During my visit, I was reminded of the benefit of memory. Of the beauty in sadness. Of the appropriateness of tears. Of the promise of new memories. Of the fact that we can’t get where we want to be without getting through where we’re going.
“ I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am. I thought if I could touch this place or feel it, this brokenness inside me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else. I thought that maybe I could find myself…”
But really, I’m not lost. I’m simply on a journey, allowing myself time for exploration. Figuring out what you don’t want in my life is as valuable, as necessary, as figuring out what you do.