"He said it was okay to be chasing the rainbow's end,
as long as I always remembered where the rainbow started."
When I left for college, I swore I would never move back to this small peninsula with its slow moving traffic, and even slower acceptance of things they don't believe are just right. I stood my ground, too. I graduated from college, lived a crazy life in Richmond, then headed south to Roanoke, Virginia, to live with my guy. I was never tied to a place. If B (otherwise known as Mr. Spots on the melanoma blog) had said, "Hey Chels, let's move to Florida!" I would have jumped online, found a job and a place to live, and told my family to visit often. In a way, I was a bit of a gypsy in terms of my ability to move without reason.
Then because life is just a bitch sometimes, I got diagnosed melanoma and emotionally, financially, and physically I needed to be home with my family. I thought I would automatically hate it. I had been away for almost 7 years. I still had one extremely close girlfriend here, but honestly, I was not in contact with many of the people who still lived here. As a girl who is used to a fairly busy social life, I expected to be lonely and bored. And I was...for the first week.
The great (and worst) thing about a small town is that no matter how long you are away, you can come home and rebuild friendships with people. You may not have even known them personally when you lived here, but you knew of them. It is almost impossible to meet a true stranger here. Around the time I started associating with people from my past, I began reading this book by Karen White. It is about a woman who, after a near tragic event, heads back to her hometown. The main character is named Cassie, and on her father's death bed, he tells her, "You can go to the moon, Cassandra Lee Madison, but this place, these people, will always run in your blood. You can't get away from it, so you might as well come home." The more I think about that one line, the more I realize it is true. This place, for all of its faults, jumped right in to support me and my family when word got around about my health issues. There were prayers, phone calls, cards, and visits. They did not care that they did not know me personally. They knew my family, I was considered to be "one of them." They felt no need to be selfish with their love and support. We have been so blessed and grateful.
Now that I am here, I have questioned if I should stay. Some would argue it makes more sense financially to live with my family while I get back on my feet. Others would argue that I need to get back to my old life, and my faithful boyfriend, in Roanoke. In the book, Cassie says, "I won't be blackmailed into staying here. And I'm not going to think about any of that now---but I do know that whatever decision I make, it will be made of my own free will." Sounds familiar. Everyone has an opinion, I realize that. I also realize that everyone thinks their opinion is the best. Unfortunately for them, I tend to be stubborn. If I make a decision based solely on what other people think I should do, I will be resentful. And let me warn you, when I am feeling resentful, I am not an easy person to be around.
I know my decision. It was not an easy one to make. In Falling Home White writes, "Sometimes you have to reach deep down in your heart and decide what road you're going to take. And all choices involve some sort of sacrifice. But in the end, you know whether or not you made the right decision." I know that the decision I am making is going to cost me. I realize there are times when I will question myself. I also know that short term sacrifices benefit in the long run.
Maybe, like Cassie, I just needed a major life crisis to fall back where I belong...
...at least for now.