Inhabiting a new place is like slipping into a fresh mould. When you leave, it is not just a place you leave behind, but a state of mind, a state of self. At the point you realise this, how different and at the same time how familiar the skin you are wearing feels – that is the point where you are first displaced from yourself. It is in this way that the more places we inhabit, the more we feel how little we have in common with ourselves.
It was a common thing to hear from my friends who had returned with me from the UK for summer, how different they felt, being home. There’s a feeling which we don’t really have a word for – the feeling of being transplanted from one place to another. It’s not just about traveling, for in this case both places are each in their own way, home. We spoke of the feeling of “wearing a different skin”, the surreality of it, and the initial frustration of it.
Now looking back, the month of June is all a blank to me. It’s almost as though the brain tries its best to wipe out that which makes you uncomfortable. I only remember feeling suffocated and awkward at home, and disconcerted by certain current events at the time – a sickening pull back to reality.
October, and I’ve had half a term in a new school, and been sufficiently sucked into the black hole of endless work that it’s difficult for me to retrieve the feels that floated around in my mind in London. My friends have returned to the UK, and after the initial shock of another teleport, they have settled in and are busily going about their daily affairs. I suppose at this point it is appropriate to put a stop to further reminiscence, and that is fine with me. I do wish though, like I wished when I came back, weak and frustrated, that I could find some source of inner strength – a way to go through the day with a smile, and be a support to others as well as myself.
Are there words that can do that for you?