Moving is so disorienting. I feel a bit like I’ve been thrown off the merry-go-round. There are no longer any mindless tasks; everything takes mental energy. You want to mail a letter–where’s the mailbox? You want to make a salad–where did you put the olive oil? You want to take a walk–which way? But more than that, now that you don’t know any of these things, who are you?

I used to be a Brooklynite. Or maybe I was a California transplant living in Brooklyn so long it had become home. Now I’m in Pittsburgh. This is of course not the first change in my life. We’re constantly changing…surroundings, circumstances, attitudes.

I used to live in California’s Central Valley; then I moved to New York. I used to be a conscientious student of the humanities; then I graduated. I used to be the youngest in a tight-knit family of five; then my parents separated. I used to be single and dating; then I got married. And suddenly I’m a frazzled non-working twin mom living in Pittsburgh.

My stuff is around, but it doesn’t quite feel like home yet. The more I think about it the more I realize how fragile our conception of self really is. Our brains must have to work pretty hard to maintain anything as constant.

Luckily, even though those past iterations of myself now seem utterly foreign, some things remain constant. I love and have always loved the arts. The people I love are still around me. I have probably always been a home body, which is maybe why moving is so disorienting. But I will get all this stuff we hauled in boxes into its right spot. I’ll create a new mental map, like roots.

And really, it’s good for me. People aren’t trees. We’re meant to move.


14 thoughts on “Discombobulated

    • I know it but hadn’t thought of it just now. Thank you so much for posting!! What a beautiful poem. Happy to keep re-reading it thinking about trees and connection.

  1. Ok so sparrow. This is your aunt. I have not only moved at least 12 times in my so-called adult life …but had two children and a divorce etc etc. it is not so easy….BUT kind of exhilarating. Frankly…to arrange furniture not to mention kids and doggies etc…and paintings and where to put the kitchen table… Or the pans and artsy decorative things not to mention what color to paint a certain accent wall..(we just made a wall of stacked stone..love it) -I cannot wait to visit Pittsburgh the city ,where you and your sister and growing up twins are….I am coming !! I will babysit all of them if adults want to go out for a grown up evening….I love u all very much

    • Oooh, what an offer. Might take you up on that 🙂 I know, there are definitely fun things about moving!! You see everything you have in a new light. And there are things about the new place that are way better (many things). I love houses. A wall of stacked stone sounds so fun!

  2. You are so right–our self-concept is so fragile! I’m still adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and feeling truly comfortable and happy in that role…adding moving to a new city on top of that would be major! Hope things start to feel home-y soon. Great post!

  3. A friend of mine has recently moved from Auckland, New Zealand, to New York with her husband and 2 young kids. Watching her prepare for that move made me anxious (and I wasn’t going anywhere). I think having little people with you must make it all the more discombobulating as they are looking to you as the loadstone, and you feel adrift!
    Good luck in your new home. The pictures look lovely! I’ve moved around a bit in New Zealand, and once over to Canada for a year and I found after 6 months it starts to feel like home.

    • Well that is a really big move, Auckland to New York. I shouldn’t complain, and I even have some family here. I’m sure I’ll feel much better adjusted in six months. And warm weather and being able to get outside to meet people I’m sure will help, too. Thank you for the good wishes!!

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