For so long, I was restless. I think I still am, but in a different sense of the word.
My entire life, people have told me that I will find a place to fit in. I have always existed as a strange sort of outlier, someone who exists on the fringe of things and emits a strange aura of yearning to fit in, but not quite sure how. I don’t know if this is something I was born with or otherwise, but it has made social situations eternally awkward. How does one overcome the desperate desire to find someplace to belong? When confronted with a group of people, I can only lurk on the slight outside; I have never, and I have come to believe that I will never, simply melded in as part of the group.
It’s a juxtaposition of two strange things. I’ve been told, but I’ll never understand. For some, I’m too intense. Perhaps my stare is too focused, or my reluctance to smile too apparent, but I am by all senses of the word unapproachable. For others, I’m too sensitive. Sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me – less truthful words have never been spoken. The wrong phrase, casually tossed into the air, can bring me down much more painfully than any sword could ever do. People don’t like that, unfortunately. People prefer laughter, and someone who can understand when it isn’t malicious intent. I have never been that person.
When I was in middle school, they told me I would find my niche in highschool. Perhaps I did, for a while. Then it was college – certainly, I’ll fit in there! And then it was Europe. My problems in social situations, it seemed, were too big for America to handle. No, ship me off to Europe where I’ll fit in among the foreign and the different – a cachet there would certainly exist for me. And yet, here I am, more glaringly an outlier than ever. I have never appreciated home more.
I miss the smell of Draco in the morning and the quiet comfort of knowing I can find a book I understand. I miss the smell of Dunkin Donuts’ large hot hazelnut, extra extra, with a cinnamon raisin bagel, as is. I miss laughter I understand and streets I can navigate without worry they are too narrow for a passing car.
But about the restlessness.
I cannot stand still. I am constantly in motion, even if it seems I haven’t done anything for an entire day. Whether it be my fingers, feet, entire body, or otherwise – I cannot remain still. People have described it as many different things, but the current mot de choix belongs to the umbrella term anxiety. Glamorous, in the mentally deficient sort of way. Not one that I particularly enjoy having attached to my already controversial persona, but I suppose it works.
To someone who does not dwell in my brain on a regular basis, I appear to be rather unattached. Friendly, of course, but as previously stated – on the fringe of things. Happier, maybe, to be on my own. A little snooty, even. I’ve heard these things about myself, and I have assumed them true to a certain degree. And so I always thought that I would want to travel. To come to Europe or parts of the United States I’ve never seen before and get lost in unfamiliar streets. Become acquainted with the flora and the fauna and quietly watch, with a cup of exotic coffee, as people strolled by my quiet stare. To one teacher, I would be writing a novel. Perhaps at one time that might have been something I could have done. Now, I overuse the word perhaps and compose self-pitying blog posts like this one. Such behavior does not a writer make.
But I digress.
This trip, short as it’s been so far, has taught me that sort of restlessness is not the one that resides within me. Perhaps – there’s that word again! – it’s something different. It must be, considering I’m here and all I yearn for is the soft indent on the left side on my bed where I sleep each night at home. I miss the familiar smells, especially. I’ve trashed my dorm room here in France accordingly, so that it might smell like home. I know I’ve done a decent job. The first deep breath in this room after being away for several hours is one of my favorite moments of the day. It smells familiar.
I stood on the beach in Biarritz yesterday, and was nearly overwhelmed by the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. I could faintly see shapes on the horizon, and for a few minutes I let myself believe they were Boston.