A Strange Kind of Homesickness

Going back to France this time was a grand project. A challenge. Something motivating and exciting.

I hadn’t felt that motivated and excited in a long time—probably not since the last time I was in France. Last summer and fall, whenever I talked about going back to France, I lit up. Besides fitting snugly into the new “plan” I’d outlined for myself, it just felt right.

I envisioned this séjour as a fresh start, the easy answer to the complex, convoluted, and downright tough questions I’ve been grappling with. About who I was versus who I am now, about what I really want out of life and how to get it.

But answers don’t come easily and fixes aren’t quick, no matter how drastically you change your life.

I made my drastic change. I moved to Paris—PARIS for goodness sake, one of the most beautiful cities in the world!—and I quickly fell into a funk.

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At first I blamed the cold gray winter weather. And while it definitely didn’t help, it wasn’t the main culprit. Because now spring is here, the sun is out and the days are long, birds are chirping, every day there’s a new kind of flower blooming, and still the funk persists.

Part of it has been adjusting to big-city life. That feeling of anonymity, of being constantly alone in the midst of a crowd. Sometimes it’s refreshing, even freeing, but most of the time it’s lonely and overwhelming.

Then there’s au pair-ing. I went into it thinking, I’ve worked with so many ages and temperaments of children, in school settings and in family settings, so this shouldn’t be too different. But it is. Integrating into a preexisting (foreign) family with its own unique traditions and habits takes time. And living where you work is hard. As an au pair you are both an employee and a member of the family, and it’s a weird line to navigate. Then there are the girls. I grew up with a younger brother and have experience working with two-child, brother-sister families, so the three-sibling dynamic and the sister dynamic are entirely new to me. The girls are smart and sweet and funny. We have lots of fun playing games, cooking, and just hanging out together. But they also throw frequent and exhausting temper tantrums that try my patience even when I’m making a conscious effort to keep calm.

Finally there’s my stagnant social life. It’s hard to make new friends. And it’s hard to get adequate social and emotional support from the wonderful friends I already have when they’re thousands of miles away, when you have to schedule special Skype or Google Hangout sessions, when they just can’t feasibly be part of your day-to-day life.

But deep down it’s more than all of that.

François recently asked if I’m homesick. And it is a kind of homesickness, but not in the traditional sense because I don’t have a physical home to miss. Sometimes I miss my parents’ house in Hermosa Beach, but it stopped being home when I left for college. I was homesick for Walla Walla once, but it was only ever a place-holder home, and that ache has faded. I miss Auch, but it was even more temporary than Walla Walla. And I miss Portland, too, but I never felt fully settled there; I never let it feel like home.

The only stable home I’ve had as an adult hasn’t been tangible. It’s been me. My identity. My self. Post-grad angst in general and my rape in particular have made me homesick for the person I used to be.

I’m homesick for the creative energy I used to have. Writing and taking and editing photos, without it feeling like a chore or an obligation. Engaging with literature and film and art, rather than just consuming it.

I’m homesick for the physical energy I used to have and the sense of adventure and wonder that motivated it. The drive to keep wandering, to keep trying, to keep experiencing.

I’m homesick for my naïveté, and my optimism, and the trust that I used to give out freely, before he betrayed it.

I’m homesick for the girl I was, and I came back to France because it’s the last place I remember seeing her, being her. The last place I was when my smiles were almost always genuine and still reached my eyes. The last place I felt truly capable and fulfilled and self-assured. Whole.

I tried to go backward, resisting the forward pull of things, because going forward feels like I’m leaving my old self further and further behind. I came back for her, but she wasn’t here waiting for me.

I’m grieving the loss of her.

Sometimes I glimpse her in the woman I am now. Other times this new self seems impenetrable and I’m daunted by the prospect of trying to get to know her. Which of the same things bring her joy? How does she see the world now? Will she be able to trust herself to trust someone again?

And will I be able to anchor myself, to make a new home in her?

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279 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing these very honest and open experiences. I definitely understand seeking a change of scenery to access a ‘past self’ that once felt a like a more authentic or happier version. I hope you find a sense of peace as you soak in springtime in Paris:)

    1. Thanks for your comment Jenny. I hope so, too 🙂

  2. Jamie · · Reply

    I think the self that you are homesick for is still there, although modified by all of the life experiences you have had since the time that you last were in tune with her. I have faith that, in time, you will reconnect all of the myriad parts of yourself into one whole once again. And that whole will be an extremely strong, and wary, but also joyful and adventurous, human being who is able to enjoy life while being a leader in those causes that she believes in.

    1. Thanks, mom. I love you.

  3. […] Cara used to thrive on travel and adventure, on discovering a new place for herself. She would wander for hours over cobblestones, climb steep hills, power up narrow stone staircases in old towers, meander across bridges. She would try the local delicacies—even things like tripe!—just for the experience, to be able to say that she had. If she stumbled upon a church, she wouldn’t be able to not go inside it. If she saw peeling paint or a narrow shadowy alleyway, her fingers would itch for the camera hanging from her neck. She would carry a notebook to jot down her thoughts and impressions—to remember it all and above all to remember how she felt experiencing it. […]

  4. This is brilliant, you are a fabulous writer x

    1. Thank you!

  5. This post is so relative to me right now. It’s hard accepting you might not be the same person anymore, but don’t think of it as a negative think of it as a possible. All your traits that are really you will come through, you just have to find a way to do them. I’ve just taken a leap from London to a small town in Wales in order to find myself. Give my post a read if you like 🙂 might speak more sense then this comment!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I like the idea of a person’s genuine traits resurfacing after a big stormy change.

    1. Awesome!

      1. Thank’s for reblogging!

      2. Thank you! Have a good day!

  6. All I can say is wow. This writing really touched my soul. Thank you for your honesty and insight, you are an incredibly talented writer!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment!

  7. rulondajabreyfuller · · Reply

    I find a lot of myself in you. I’m speechless as I try to figure out what to write, decipher which words will adequately express the jumbled mess in my head. I admire and commend you for your honest. As a recent college graduate, I am in a similar place. I hope we both find our way, find our homes.
    ~Ru

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Ru. I wish you all the best in your quest for home.

    2. I get you completely. Am at that point in my life where the thrill that is supposed to come with graduating is just not there. Expectations turn out to be disappointments so am trying to pick up what’s left of my daydreams and hope to see them turn into reality…with time at least.

      1. Thanks for your comment and best of luck “picking up what’s left of your daydreams” <– nicely put!

  8. It is with time we realize that sunshine can heighten the shadows. But we need to face the sunshine.

    I lost my “innocence” when I lost my sister (suicide). Her loss for us remaining 5 siblings only highlights life and our bonds for life…

    It’s tougher to have a freer more flexible social life if you are an au pair. How long is your “contract”?

    A person deserves to live through safe naivete/innocence. You did. It sounds that there is a bright corner that someone will be there in the journey with you for future.

    1. Hi Jean, Thanks for your hopeful comment.

      Having a more flexible social life as an au pair can be difficult. The family I work for is actually very respectful of my autonomy and open to me developing a social life outside of my life with them. But as a foreigner living in a huge city who spends lots of her time with people under the age of 10 or over the age of 40, I’ve been finding it hard to meet people in my peer group. It also doesn’t help that I’m free during the day (when everyone else works) and work in the evenings (when everyone else is not working). My contract is for a year and I have just about 8 months left.

  9. Cara I’m new to this but after reading what you wrote,,,,I know about homesickness. My situation is different I lived close to my parents about 11 minutes away but I moved out with my husband and had 2 children and life consumed most of my time…I missed my mom and dad dearly to the point of crying everyday….there are all sorts of homesickness. You will be fine, sounds like they love and support you and perhaps they can visit you or you visit home. I don’t know if this is any help but I wish you well there in Paris. I will be there in a few weeks time if you ever need a (not american friend but a canadian friend let me know!) Heather

    1. Hi Heather, Thank you for your comment and for sharing your own brand of homesickness. My family is indeed very supportive of me and very grounding. My mom will actually be visiting me in August, which I’m very excited about. Since writing this post I’ve been trying to focus on reconnecting with the parts of myself that I’ve been missing and it’s going pretty well.

  10. Oh my goodness; this is beautiful! I have had a very similar experience. The summer after my freshman year of college, I was single for the first time since I was 12. We spent the best of that time at a secluded river that felt like paradise. I made friends a few hours from home and spent the majority of my energy on finding myself, making deep connections with others, and enjoying my independence. I have never been so happy. It lead to rape, from a good friend I trusted. I began school again soon after that which threw me into a deeper depression I had ever known. I missed it all because I was so happy. I missed who I was more than anything.

    I think it’s our purpose in life to discover ourselves through our experiences. You have seen the beautiful side of your soul. You have also seen the dark, scary sides of your mind. Both make you who you are, and ultimately you CAN choose HOW they impact your growth… With work and patience for yourself. Don’t give up honey-follow your heart. It may lead you through some dirt, but you don’t have flowers without dirt.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind, encouraging, and honest comment. I’m so sorry about your rape, but I’m grateful and glad to know you made it through the dirt to the flowers.
      Cara

  11. a little sadness, i miss my mother

  12. I can relate to feeling lost in a new place and trying to fit in with a new way of life. Trying to figure out where I fit. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Best of luck on your quest to find your new place.

  13. I love the way you put out your words, really relates to me. 🙂
    I’ve felt the stagnant social life, and I am currently feeling it now too, hopefully it gets better to both of us.
    If only humans weren’t that much repulsive to change…

    1. Thanks for your comment! I hope things get better for both of us, too. I really do thing a huge part of it is learning to embrace, rather than resist change. Easier said than done…but I’ve been making a conscious effort lately and I think it’s helping.

  14. Touching; is the only word I want to use! Many others play on my tongue and linger at my finger tips as this is typed, but touching is the word chosen.

    Stay Beautiful, you’re a strong woman!
    Xx

    1. Thank you so much for your touching comment 😉

  15. I also have that feeling that I just can’t shake off. It drains my energy out and I just can’t feel the happiness I had before. I miss my home, my friends and my family. thank you for sharing your experience

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing yours!

  16. Reblogged this on chanamaro and commented:
    Wow! What an experience. It so uniquely reverberates with my own circumstance, I almost thought you’d read my mind via telepathy. I am honestly speechless. Thank you for sharing your experience of homesickness in the manner you did.

    1. Thank you for reading, reblogging and commenting! I’m glad to have been able to read your mind a little bit. 🙂

  17. Reblogged this on flotts.

  18. subjectivebeliefs · · Reply

    I can completely relate. I have come halfway across the globe to pursue a career I have always wanted and while I have achieved all that, I am homesick for the physical energy, the positively and for the girl I was, like you aptly said.
    I was in a new country last year and It was the best time ever and I thought it would be the same this time too, but it isn’t. I know I should be happy but I am unable to feel that happiness.
    I loved this post. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been feeling “homesick,” too and I hope you start to feel more settled soon. It’s even harder to do so when we put so much pressure on ourselves to not feel the feelings we are experiencing, where we heap so much judgment on ourselves for not happy when we feel like we “should” be.

      1. subjectivebeliefs · ·

        Well, I do realize that I am not alone in this. 🙂
        I only started blogging a few days ago and this is amazing. Thanks, once again.

  19. Your writing is so perfect. I just read the post about the rape as well…I commend you. No one wants this. No one wants to have this thing always lurking in the shadows of the mind, the everyday moments, the important moments, the dreams, the depression, the PTS…no one wants it. No one deserves it. Thank you for speaking for all women, to all women with such honesty.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s really gratifying and motivating to hear that my writing and my experiences resonate with you.

  20. Sometimes the reality we live is not the reality we would have chosen for ourselves. However, it is always the reality that we are strong enough for. It will lead us to the place we should be, and the person we should be.

    That is what I believe anyway. That no matter how difficult the path, is it just the beginning.

    Your story has touched me deeply.

    Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thank your for your encouraging comment!

    2. What you have written is very beautiful. I also am living a reality that I did not choose for myself but I guess these beginnings would be easier if we new where to end..

      Thank you for sharing your thought !

  21. pacidermiz · · Reply

    Well said. I wandered for years. first to find the wide world. Then it evolved to me realizing that everything that stayed the same was either me- or the way I interacted with the world. It ended up being my choosing what I wanted to bring along, leave behind, hunt for and look to pick up at my next destination.
    I would pick up experience or habit that seemed depressing or self destructive at the time, but at the worst they just gave counterpoint perspective to my achievements and joys, or at best, insight into other’s lives and minds. Helping me choose where I wanted to go next.

    It’s been a long strange road for all of us. Inexpected. You say it in a lot less clinical manner than i, and with quite a large amount of insight. That strange kind of homesickness, I dig it. To me it’s always been, where ever I go, there I am. So might as well be home, right?
    Thanks for sharing, Miss Cara.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I like the idea of actively choosing what to “bring along, leave behind, hunt for and look to pick up” on our travels—both on the physical journeys and emotional ones.

  22. please see my post, hope you all like it. if no, please tell me. comments would be appreciated. 🙂

  23. Cara what you said is sooo soo very true.. It felt like you were telling me the story of my life. I live in a house where it is difficult to live my life the way i want to or be free because i every time have ti think about the other 6 members of my in-law family and how they will think or feel.. It feels like i am deprived of that feeling of independence and spontaneity. There are days when i wander if what I am is actually what I want to be or how I want myself to be. I Don’t have the answers yet but hopefully they shall come to me very soon.

    I love what you wrote. Ur way of writing is so very much like mine.. 🙂

    1. Hi Kinnii, Thank you so much for your comment. Good luck searching for your answers and for now be comforted knowing you’re not alone in looking.

  24. I loved this

    1. Thank you!

      1. Hey, do you have any advice to get more people to read my blog?

      2. Mostly just this: Don’t worry about boosting readership. Keep writing and write what’s true for you. If you feel comfortable advertising to your networks on social media, that helps. Writing about a specific topic/theme helps, too. As does writing pieces that reflect/comment on things that are relevant in the news.

  25. ChibbieChubster · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Mỹ Phương and commented:
    Sometime I feel this homesick feeling, homesick of the self I used to be. If you have read my previous posts, you probably would know.

    1. Thanks for reblogging! I’m sorry you feel homesick for an old self, too.

  26. You are not alone.

  27. This is amazing. I love your writing style, it’s very captivating.

    1. Thank you!

  28. WOW! You must have spent ages writing this!

    1. Thanks for the “WOW!” It took several hours doing the initial draft and several more tweaking and nitpicking. But even longer if you count the months of journaling and reflecting on similar feelings and themes. Blogging and hitting the “publish” button at the end are always the signal that I’m seriously processing something. 🙂

  29. You are a beautiful writer, this is a touching story. I hope you find yourself and your creativity again because from reading this you seem to have a lot of potential! Hang in there girl!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and for reading!

  30. Perhaps France is not the place for you at this point in time and you can find a different destination that feels more like the “thought” of your true home. A combination of both your new and old self. Life is too short to remain in a state of unhappiness when there is a chance of brighter horizons. Maybe a country that is more in tune with the traditions/customs to which you are comfortable. As they say, home is where the heart is. I wish you luck in finding that place both in body and soul.

    1. Kathy, Thank you for your kind comment. I think you’re right in that France is not the place for me to make a permanent home right now, and this is partly because the circumstances of my stay here are purposefully temporary and make it hard for me to settle the way I would into a physical home. In all honesty, I think I would be feeling my strange kind of “homesickness” no matter where I were right now. This is because it’s the internal “home” that I’ve been feeling most estranged from.

  31. Valerie · · Reply

    I moved to Chicago 8 months ago and this is exactly how I feel. Thank you for putting into words so beautifully what was a jumbled mess of loneliness and confusion in my head.

    1. Thank you for reading! I’m glad my way of making sense of my world was able to help you make some sense of yours! Best of luck in finding your “home.”

      1. Valerie · ·

        Thank you! I wish you the best of luck as well. 🙂

  32. […] via A Strange Kind of Homesickness. […]

  33. Stay strong! You seem to be trying as hard as you can. It’s an inspiring story of how you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Just like you’ve graduated and moved across the world to an amazing city. Keep going…

    1. Thank you for your comment and encouragement!

  34. Moving and real. At first, I thought: how could anyone not find Paris absolutely fascinating and charming? I would LOVE to live there, but as I read further and saw what you were truly homesick for, I realized it was much more than being lonely for a place — or unable to integrate into the place that is Paris. I truly enjoyed this post. Well-written and meaningful. Thanks.

    1. Dawn, Thank you so much for your comment and for reading. I do love Paris—it’s a beautiful city with seemingly infinite things to do and parts to discover. I was enamored every time I visited before living here, and there are still days when I feel that same magic. But living in a place always takes away a bit of the glamor because, unlike when on vacation, real life and real problems have an easier time catching up with you. As you touched on and as I said in response to another comment, my “homesickness” is so much more than feeling out of place or having trouble integrating, it’s internal and I think I’d be experiencing it right now no matter where I happened to be.

  35. Love your openness and honesty. My advise….stop beating yourself up and putting yourself down. You seem like a lovely person. Start making steps to love yourself again. Find ways to stay positive…retrain your thinking. Do things that make you happy. You are not alone! 🙂

    1. Penelope, Thank you for your support and your advice. I have been making more of a conscious effort to retrain my thinking the last few weeks and so far it is helping (if slowly). Healing is like a spiral, you move forward and then backward and then forward again, always getting incrementally further toward where you want to be, even if the tide seems to pull you back under every now and then.

      1. That is very true. It is a slow progression but those little steps make a tremendous difference. Keep moving forward. The woman you are searching for still resides within, eventually she will gravitate towards the light. 🙂

  36. I was moved by your post. I absolutely love Paris and considered spending much more time there. I realized though that I was trying to hard to dramatically change my outsides hoping that it would re-shape my life on the inside. I lost almost everything in the ’07-’08 financial collapse – money, friends, family, home, trust, faith, motivation, inspiration. Everything I’d known and all that I thought I was had to either be stripped away or I became willing to let it all fall away. It was the best thing in hindsight because what pieced back together began on the inside and is now reflected on the outside. My life is much richer now than ever before and it has to do with allowing a changing me to come into being..it doesn’t discount who I was because it’s equally important to integrate all of me and my experiences on this planet. The past informs but it does not dictate.

    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing your internal journey. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve come out stronger on the other end of a hardship—it gives me hope and encouragement.

  37. When I moved to a new country 3 years back, I went through the same thing. Only, it lasted for two years and at the end of it became so overwhelming I moved back home. I was never able to truly understand what made it hard but reading this I think i now know that what I was missing was not my friends or familiar surroundings but myself as I once was. The courage and optimism for life I once had. I’ve decided to be braver and have moved back again and hopefully this time it will be different.

    Thank you and good luck!

    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing! Best of luck to you, too!

  38. What a wonderful post. I feel that I can relate with a move that I recently just did. It’s interesting to see that a lot of people have this feeling too.

    1. Thanks for your comment and for reading! It is a really amazing feeling to see how many people relate to what I’ve been going through.

  39. When were you in Walla2? I was there in the nineties, at Whitman.

    1. How cool! I’m Whitman class of 2012!

      1. 1996 🙂

      2. Pleased to make your virtual acquaintance!

      3. Very much so, and thank you!

  40. Shaunak · · Reply

    It is a calming experience reading your very honest life experience. I have felt the same emotions (although not as powerful as yours) when I visited my home country. People change. I have changed. And I went through similar confusing emotions as to who I am and who I was. I am not particularly fond of the ‘new me’ but soon I realized it is not under my control. So I let it go and I enjoyed whatever few moments I was there for.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your experience as well! I’m coming to realize that so much of living this life is about accepting change and even more accepting ourselves just the way we are in the given moment.

  41. dayamisolomon · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Dayamisolomon blog.

  42. A very well written piece. Great job! I really enjoyed it. Last month I created a new page called Real Life Natural Wife. I hope you’ll come check it out and leave me a comment with your thoughts.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    1. Thanks for reading! Best of luck with your new page!

  43. Madison · · Reply

    This is an incredible post and I admire you for writing something emotional and personal on your blog. Your writing is so eloquent yet honest as well. Though I haven’t experienced the kind of thing you did, I understand feeling homesick for a person you used to be or for a person you want to become. I was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and with clinical depression at around the 7th grade. I got really bad and I changed a lot and my parents finally took me to a psychiatrist. and its hard on me knowing what kind of person I used to be before it got really bad and who I could be now if I hadn’t changed. I’ve come to realize that I won’t be the same as before I knew what I had and before it got really bad. I’ve also realized though, that facing mental illness and getting through hitting rock bottom and finding out my diagnosis have made me a stronger person and I have to accept and find this newer person that I am. essentially I just want to say that I think you’re so strong and brave, and that you WILL settle into and get to know yourself at some point- it will just take time. 🙂

    1. Madison, Thank you so much for your kind, honest, and encouraging comment. And thank you for being brave enough to share your experience as well. Best of luck in getting to know and love the newer version of yourself. Like you said, I think it really is all about time, and not rushing or pressuring oneself to feel or be differently.

      1. Madison · ·

        😊👍☀️

  44. Joann Ridenour · · Reply

    Speaking as an older woman who has “been there, done that”, I have to tell you that things will get better. You cannot find the person you used to be because you are not her. You have grown, you have changed, time has given you more experiences, both good and bad. Learn from all of them and just keep living every day. The malaise you are feeling will pass and you will find yourself again. Sometimes we get lost in our lives, but we always find ourselves, just not the same selves we lost because they don’t exist anymore except in our memories. This is a blessing in disguise because it means we are growing and changing and that is what life is about. I wish you all the luck in the world and am sure that things will get better. Embrace the new you, because it is you.

    1. Joann, Thank you so much for your wise and encouraging words. It means a lot to hear from someone who has “been there, done that.”

  45. This is so beautifully written. I relate to everything you are saying. I have never been raped but I moved away from home to dance when I was 14. Moving and living in a new place with new experiences has its toll. You don’t realize it right away, but as the weeks go past it’s so easy to slowly let go of who you are and what you were. This happened to me then and now again when I got injured and could no longer dance. Longing to go back and be/do something that’s no longer possible. The best is just to move forward! It’s extremely complicated to explain to people, instead I have just been living with lies in order to simplify. Two completely different worlds, and I just want to remember the old days. Anyways, sorry I just wanted to let you know how much I love this and your perspective. Stay strong! 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading, for sharing, and for your support!

  46. I write my memoirs..mostly about moving here from England and the crazy things that went on inbetween…I adore Paris, have been there also. But I have the same things to add that others had said, you are too hard on yourself, but I love what you wrote..I write & write and would give anything to have these many comments. You are a great blogger & writer and your Paris memories are outstanding!

    1. It’s hard to stop being hard on yourself, but I’ve been making a serious effort, and it’s been helping. Thank you for your comment and encouragement.

  47. You should keep writing, it is really moving and motivating!

    1. Thank you!

  48. This is beautiful. I can relate to it on so many different levels; funny how the inner child comes out both in times of distress and pure euphoria.

    1. Thank you. I’m glad to know my post resonated with you.

  49. I can connect with this, i can remember that paralysis of my psych, a huge gap between my studies and a Job or battle of what i wanted to do, turned me into a baggage, m recovering from that.

    1. Thanks for reading and best of luck!

  50. Very deep and honest!

    1. Thank you!

  51. Reblogged this on nancyschottmensh and commented:
    Very deep and honest!

    1. Thank you for reblogging!

  52. Reblogged this on Off The Beaten Pathology and commented:
    A beautiful essay about self-identity!

    1. Thanks for reblogging!

  53. Beautifully written. Sounds like Paris might just be a terrible reminder that you aren’t the person you used to be. But it doesn’t mean you are broken or damaged forever; you just have to find a new way. A new joy. Which might end up needing to be in a new place so that you aren’t reminded of how different or easy it used to be. Thanks for sharing such an honest and well written post!

    1. Thanks for reading and for your encouraging comment. On the one hand, being in Paris has been hard because it makes me miss who I used to be. At the same time, I have been having new exoeriences that are making me feel like my old self. I honestly don’t think there is a perfect, quick-fix place for me to be right now.

  54. Beautiful writing. Having a sense of place in the world is incredibly important. I hope you find your place.

    1. Thank you 🙂

  55. This is beautiful writing. I have a mental illness that I was diagnosed with in my late twenties. I often write about how I miss the young woman I was before I became ill. I can relate to that sense of loss.

    1. Thank you for your comment and for sharing! I’m glad to know that what I wrote resonates with you!

  56. Reblogged this on Dimples In Progress and commented:
    I think I can identify with this young woman’s feelings of loss. Sometimes we lose ourselves in life and it’s struggle to find who we are again.

    1. Thank you for reblogging and for the comment!

  57. Love your posts xo

    1. Thank you!

  58. Before reading this genuine outburst of yours, I was under the impression that only I feel the way I do, when away from home. You made my day by sharing those minute feelings which is alike this side. I could see my feelings in the very words of yours. Thank you for making me feel good. Veery good indeed. May God Bless You Cara.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Mohit! I’m glad to know that reading my post made you feel a little less alone.

  59. I did enjoy reading this post, its quite impressive. Growth is inevitable and most often what is ahead is far more valuable than what’s left behind.

    1. Thanks for the comment and encouragement.

  60. Barbie Beaton · · Reply

    Your inner child is not lost for good, she lives in your heart. Give her mounds of nurture and love. 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading and for the encouragement!

  61. Thank you for this. I too am struggling to regain that sense of who I used to be and all that came with her. I’m not sure if we loose that sense because we’re supposed to grow and let go or if we’re supposed to fight to get it back. Best of luck to you.

    1. I think we’re probably supposed to let some parts go, but fight to keep the most important parts. Best of luck to you, too, and thanks for reading.

  62. A beautiful piece of writing, very honest and real. We all grieve who we used to be. We find it harder to accept that we get older. I don’t think we lose who we are, not the real essence of who we are but it get muddled in amongst all of the new experiences we have.
    Paris is also a hard city to crack. The romance and hype associated with the city makes us think that we should love every minute we are there. The true is that is another big city (although I am biased as I loved my time there).
    Good luck and keep up the good writing.

    1. The essence of who we are getting muddled in amongst all our new experiences…I really like how you put that!
      And yes, Paris is tough—a constant roller coaster ride of loving everything about it one minute and wishing you were anywhere else the next. Thanks for your comment and encouragement! And for reading.

  63. […] My Freshly Pressed post is about loneliness, grief, and longing for an old self. Homesickness for a lost inner home. Being Freshly Pressed has made me feel less alone in my loneliness. More hopeful and optimistic and motivated. To everyone who has reached out to me, thank you. […]

  64. 93blogger · · Reply

    You have just described in such a perfect way everything that I have been feeling.
    I read the blog you made about your rape (I hate that fucking word it just graphically engrains the feeling and scene in your head) I had the same sort of experience. My then boyfriend spiked my drink at his house party, we were fooling around in his room and I remember asking did he want anything more than a hj.. Meaning a bj, next thing I know my mums ringing me to say she’s outside, I remember saying I’d be out in a minute I just wanted to use the loo before the car ride home, there was blood everywhere.. I put toilet roll in my pants and on my jeans hoping it wouldn’t soak through. That’s the memory I have of loosing my virginity. I never looked at or answered his calls or texts I deleted them without opening. Technically were still dating haha. That was when I was 14, I’m 21 now and the first time I have sex with a new person that’s the image in my head – that’s the feeling I have.. It never goes away.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your rape. Thank you reading and thank you for sharing your story.
      All the best,
      Cara

  65. I had a similar experience, after the death of my best friend, trying to get back to who I used to be.

    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing. Best of luck.

  66. For very different reasons I very much understand. Ones former self is frustratingly elusive….

  67. aboriginaljcray☠ · · Reply

    This is a beautiful post. The idea of your home being an intangible place within your own identity really resonates with me. Hopefully you can find home inside yourself again soon–but until then, be patient with yourself and know you’re not alone 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment and encouragement. Sometimes it can be so hard to be patient, especially with ourselves.

  68. everonelan · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Taking The Hidden Paths.

  69. I felt that..
    It was very relatable.

    1. Thank you.

  70. Whoah! This is really great however I feel sorry for you, for your homesickness. I know it is really though to find one’s self and it is much harder to loss one’s self.

    1. Thank you.

  71. jaminloren · · Reply

    You need to experience the love of God – he gives you identity and you’ll never feel like your life has truth, meaning or love without him. It’s simple – some people are sensitive enough to realize this at a young age and some, unfortunately , don’t realize it until their sitting on their death bed- luckily there is grace – and Papa God’s arms are always outstretched towards his kids – call to him and seek him . He says ” come to me all who are heavy with burdens and I’ll will give you rest, I will give you peace. Turn from what you use to do and seek me and I will come to you .” He’s not an idea , he’s not in a church building , he is REAL, and I’m not speaking from how I was raised – I experienced him first hand in a life altering, supernatural encounter . Don’t take my word for it – if you really want change try it and experience it for yourself . Don’t believe anything you haven’t experienced for yourself

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your experience and viewpoint.

  72. Njáll Hvalreki · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Hic sunt dracones… and commented:
    Eine andere Geschichte, aber fühle ich mich doch oft als Exilant, nicht nur fern der Heimat, sondern auch fern meines wahren ruhenden Kerns.
    Nur weiß ich nicht wo ich diesen Kern zuletzt sah…

  73. I just posted a blog about a relocation as well. It’s more about what you should understand so you don’t regret NOT doing it, or following your dreams, but what you’re feeling is a side of my experience I have not yet had the courage to write about. Not with regard to the reader, but with putting it to words for myself. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m glad to hear you found something in my writing that resonates with your experience.

  74. Poignant. Moving. Beautiful.
    Fantastique. ❤

    1. Thank you.

  75. This is a fine post, Cara.. It feels like I was drawn to it. I could relate to this completely. Take good care… And you will recover from this. I know it.
    (I think it is true that writers write brilliantly when in some form of affliction.)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mat! And for the encouragement.

      1. You’re welcome. I was actually planning to write about a similar theme — homesick. I came across yours by chance. You’re brilliant.
        ..
        Btw I wish to invite you to come by my newbie blog. And perhaps follow it if you like it. 😃 Cheers.

      2. Good luck with your newbie blog and keep writing!

      3. Thanks..!! Same to you too. 👍😃👍
        See ya ..

      4. Thanks Cara..! Much appreciated 😀

  76. Jill Barth · · Reply

    “I’m homesick for the creative energy I used to have.” Stir it up somehow because it’s still there, and probably more potent and imaginative than ever since you haven’t been firing it up. Focus on the person you want to be. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Jill! Thanks for reading and for the encouraging comment!

  77. Reblogged this on jswins414.

  78. Reblogged this on taniaperez.

  79. This was very touching, and I hope you find the perfect compromise between the old you and the new you that fits the REAL you.

    1. Thank you!

  80. Wild Angelica · · Reply

    I really understand your blog. I’ve felt that way too. I’m 37 now and I have often missed and yearned for the person I was in my early 20’s.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  81. Reblogged this on healthy bodies happy life and commented:
    I could so connect with this piece
    Cancer is like something has changed your body too
    You are not the same person
    I said to someone this week I’m over being the new me
    That’s what all medicos tell you
    This is the new you
    I want the old me

  82. Darrell Curtis · · Reply

    There certainly aren’t any easy answers in life, but your journey is bound to bring you nearer to some place of peace. I am glad you’re writing, even through the drudgery of your faded joy. I hope you’re greeted soon by sunlight breaking over Paris in Spring…

    1. Thank you, Darrell.

  83. It breaks my heart to hear what you’re going through, considering all the you’ve had to go through already.
    It is said that in order to achieve nirvana, you must accept and let go of earthly possessions and feelings. Going through this process is lonesome. I’ve gone through it myself.
    But once you see who you are without any outside factors, you become able to see who you are, what you should be doing and where you should be when you factor in the rest of the world.
    I hope you find peace. ❤

    1. Thank you.

  84. When all there is to think about revisiting our old self just to lessen that sudden unexplained homesickness of ourselves, maybe, has more of a positive effect to a self that is changing through and with time. The kind of adapting to the external changes so the old self becomes missed entirely. A check, a look back maybe on what the past can bring light or contribute to the present. I, too, somehow threaded this homesickness that I associated my loneliness and grief with insanity phase. Overcoming it was embracing myself, telling myself to take in the moment, and retread my journey through the reflections, realizations and all things that matter to me.

    1. Thanks for sharing

  85. Reblogged this on lordesssunshine and commented:
    Being young can be troubling to the heart and soul.

  86. Wherever you find true authentic love, there is home. And if that home is the girl you long for, I know you will find her.

    1. Thank you!

  87. I hear you, loud and clear! I wrote a blog a while ago covering similar but different. Grieving who we once were…. It’s called ‘ the power of perception’ on mamamifsud.com. Maybe you will find it comforting? Good luck on your journey xx

    1. Thanks for your comment and support!

  88. […] seem to be on a roll of writing lately, and reading this article (A strange kind of homesickness) got me into thinking […]

  89. Stars Of Life · · Reply

    I loved your way of writing Cara. You’re really a strong woman. I was deeply touched by your emotional story. Just stay beautiful like this always and be strong. I think you must read my post, “Be Strong Like A Pencil” I’m sure that it will increase up your strength. You’re a great girl. God Bless You.

    1. Thanks for your encouraging comment!

  90. Madison · · Reply

    Reblogged this on A World Noticed and commented:
    this is a beautifully written post by Cara Lowry. It hit close to home and deeply moved me. It is a brave thing to share a personal thing like this, and to be honest about it. thanks Cara 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment and the reblog, Madison! I’m glad to know something in my writing spoke to you.

      1. Madison · ·

        you’re welcome! 🙂

  91. Im glad im not the only one out there that feels “homesick” from herself.. I completely understand how you feel! This read has inspired me a lot, thank you 🙂

    1. I’m sorry you’re missing an old self, too. Thanks for reading and best of luck!

  92. You are a brilliant writer. The self you seek to rediscover speaks to you each time you pen a line…

    1. Aw, thank you!

  93. Masiika Christine.T · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing this experience, I can absolutely relate to this.

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m glad you found something relatable in my writing!

  94. rozanneziehl · · Reply

    this is amazing xx

    1. Thank you!

  95. WOW!! This is an amazing piece Cara . You are an amazing writer. I share your sentiments

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad you found my piece relatable.

  96. Dear Cara, you have plenty to explore in Paris, in different seasons. Look at the sky when sun falls in Tuileries Garden, treat yourself with a lunch in Petit Palais restaurant, discovering the marvellous inside garden ( entrance is free ), or walking in other gardens near Grand Palais, visiting Velasquez exhibition… for instance…
    sometimes plenty of people, sometimes nobody. Free !
    Don’t waste this rich experience !
    Repeat Yourself- I am lucky to be in Paris, safe, thanks to the family – Be curious … Paris is the town for !
    Hugs !

    1. Thanks for your comment, these are all great Paris suggestions (and I’ve done several of them)! I love lots of things about this city—especially its sites and museums—but it’s still a hard place to get used to. That said, I tried to express with my post that my “homesickness” is more of a feeling of being out of touch with myself than it is about solely having a hard time adjusting to living in a new place.

  97. This really touched me. While I have a different experience, I can relate to your feelings. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing a piece of yourself. I think she’s still there. She’s just evolving.

    1. Thanks for reading!

  98. Beautiful. Powerful. Rich. Honest writing. Thank you.

    1. Thank you!

      1. Absolutely!

  99. Wow… you are a wonderful writer!! I could relate to so many things that you mentioned!!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad my post resonated with you.

  100. This post was so beautifully written.. It resonated with me so much because I feel the exact same way about myself.. I miss who I was and I too was on the journey of finding her again and I just cant seem too no matter how hard I try…sometimes its like you see a glimpse of your old self and you run after it but it turns into a corner and you cant find the trail anymore… But you know what, rather than chasing who I was, I’ve decided to focus on who I want to be…because sadly I am wasting too much energy and time on something I cant have back… Time changes us, and we cant travel back in time to who we were.. But we have a say in who we want to be… I also completely understand the feeling of homesickness, I too miss home all the time.. But I don’t even know if home exists anymore because so much has changed since I have left… The way you said that you are your own home gave me great perspective in realising that I too have been my own home too… You know what helps me deal with all this is that I am in the process of evolving into the person that I am meant to be and whilst I don’t understand who she is or why this change had to take place, I remind myself that I am meant to be a particular way and the challenges and hardships I’ve faced have moulded me into the person I am now and that I need to be…And once the transition is complete then I will understand why all the horrible things had to happen and why the change had to occur… But until then I have to have faith and trust in the universe for this journey that I am on.. Like you… I know it gets hard for you.. But don’t lose faith.. One day you’ll look back and realise that you are exactly who you’re meant to be and all that hardship has moulded you into that… You’ll also realise that it might not be a bad thing to call yourself home, because then you cant really ever be separate from it which is a great thing if you really think about it… Know that you’re not alone in how you feel.. And know that because of writing this blog, you’ve helped me realise that Im not alone either..And this gives me great energy… So thank you for that… Thank you for sharing a truly personal feeling in such a well written way… Don’t lose faith and stay strong…

    1. “Sometimes its like you see a glimpse of your old self and you run after it but it turns into a corner and you cant find the trail anymore.” I really like the way you phrased this; I very much feel like this sometimes.

      I do think you’re right in that we need to put more energy into focusing on the people we are now than on trying to “get back to” the people we used to be.

      1. Sorry for the double up of posts, Im new to wordpress and wasn’t sure if the post had been saved properly cause I couldnt find it! I’m so grateful to have stumbled across your post because all day I’ve gained energy from the fact that I am not the only person who has felt this way! I hope knowing that you’re not alone also helps you find the energy you need to stay strong through this journey… I’m not sure if songs help you, but I recently came across a song called masterpiece by Jessie J and Its helped change my perspective on the whole thing.. Its all about putting in the energy to create your masterpiece…in this context the masterpiece being ourselves… But all masterpieces are the best work that an “artist” creates… So whoever we become it will be our masterpiece and it will be much better than who we ever were… We just need to be patient and focused… By the way if you like i would love for you to read my first (and so far only) post… Id love to know if helps or not 🙂

      2. Ah yes. The reason you couldn’t see your first comment right away is that I have my page set so that I have to approve comments by new commenters before they’ll appear publicly.

        All the positive and supportive responses I’ve gotten on this post have been very motivating and energizing.

        Music definitely helps me, too–thanks for the song suggestion!

      3. I see…makes sense now.. No worries!

  101. Thank you for sharing this .. It was very well written…it really resonated with me as I know exactly how you’re feeling about being home sick and also trying to find your old self… By reading this post I now know that I am not alone and that gives me energy… So thank you for sharing such a personal and emotional experience… Regarding the comment that you made about how you are your own home, thats not necessarily a bad thing..i feel the same way and the way I try to look at it is that now I wont be separate from my ‘home’ no matter where I go… Stay strong and have faith in the universe … One day you will look back and realise that all this had to happen so you could be exactly who you are meant to be…

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I’m happy to know that my post resonated with you.

  102. I remember feeling some of the same feelings after I left an abusive relationship. Time and self-love was what helped me the most. And talking to other people I trusted about my experience. I hope you find peace with your new self soon. ❤

    1. Thank you.

  103. I would love to go to France! Sounds beautiful.

  104. BBB YOU · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Boys.. Booze.. & Being YOU! .

  105. Lovely post – you’ll be fine x

    1. Thank you.

  106. This resonates somewhere deep in my subconscious self. I like it.

    1. Thank you!

  107. I felt that. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for reading.

  108. Reblogged this on lonelygirl and commented:
    Such a thought provoking blog! It made me think really intensely about the word homesick. Can it really be used as a term to yearn for a person you used to be!
    I believe it can! It feels right! It describes the emptiness I feel inside, the disorientation and the yearning to belong and be wanted!
    I suppose since leaving university I expected everything to fall into place but if anything it made me feel more alone than I did when my future was unsure. Now I had a plan, an ability to move forward and change my life for the better. But what happens when you have it all and still feel empty inside? As what point does that homesickness stop becoming so consuming?

  109. kurokurongnomad · · Reply

    Reblogged this on kuro-kurong nomad.

  110. My dad used to say things like, “Wherever you go, that’s where you will be!” I had no idea what that meant growing up. However, for someone who attended seven schools in seven years, I learned a little about adapting to change.
    The best I could say about your blog is, don’t live with regret or searching for the past life or the past you! As a much older person that has learned that adaptation is part of life, time is fleeting and what you were is only a part of what you are now. We can’t change the past but can only live in the now and prepare continually for the future.
    Life is really really short! Live life in the now!
    Have a blessed day and thank you for your blog thoughts.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your advice!

  111. Hi Cara,
    Your post touched me since I didn’t knew I experienced this as wel. I’m for Holland but an aupair in Sydney at the moment. I want to start to write my own blog since there is so much going on in this head. My contract with the family ends in 1 week but I don’t want to go back to Holland since I want to find my true self back again first. There is still so much to do and see here as well.

    Because of a break up after 8 years, a depression that know one really knows of and a search for how can I make this world a better place, makes me changed into a woman that’s basically always worried. When I had it all planned I was so different and relaxed. Looks like it takes ages but I just think I will never be that girl again.

    1. I don’t think we’ll ever be who we were before, but I think parts of who we were before will always be present in the new versions of ourselves. Best of luck on your journey, wherever it takes you.

  112. My blog is private because I am not ready to share as openly as you are. I understand what you are feeling in the deepest most dreadful way. I’m sorry for your loss as I am grieving for my own.

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry for your loss as well.

  113. I’d also like to add… Someone I hold in high regard told me… ” your pieces may be broken and scattered now… All that matters from here on out is how you put them back together again”

    1. And thank you for sharing the quote. It’s a good one.

  114. Trusting in your journey. 🙂
    – julia

    1. Thank you.

  115. badcrisp · · Reply

    From my experience, misplacement of identity isn’t a symptom of homesickness. Your trust was betrayed, so you’ll take time to heal.

    Make no mistake though; this isn’t a matter of if. It’s just a matter of when. I’m sure you know this, but it’s comforting to hear elsewhere.

    Thank you for sharing these musings, especially in such an eloquent manner. You’re still you. Just a temporarily saddened rendition.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment. In fact, I wasn’t positing that “misplacement of identity” is a symptom of traditional homesickness. Rather, I was making a comparison between this feeling of alienation from myself that I’ve been experiencing and traditional homesickness—thinking of the notion of the “self”/”identity” as our most elemental “home.”

      1. badcrisp · ·

        I know you weren’t claiming that – that first sentence is just my attempt at humour, but it didn’t translate well on paper. Even so, I appreciate your response because it summarises your post nicely. Look forward to your future posts.

      2. Ah yes, written humor is tricky that way…
        Thanks for your response!

  116. I sense you are very strong person for being so honest publicly. I’m sure you will I’m sure you will find your peace

    1. Thank you.

  117. I loved reading about your experience!

    1. Thanks for reading!

  118. I am going through a similar phase. One guy turned my world upside down and made me the person I am today. I do sometime wonder what you wonder, how did I become like this? But in the end, try and find your true calling and be happy! As long as you’re happy it doesn’t matter about everyone else!

    1. Thanks for sharing and for your comment!

  119. Thx for sharing

    1. Thanks for reading

  120. Beautiful piece

    1. Thank you

  121. Wow. You will remodel the existing you and you will become stronger as a result, and you will feel the freedom of happiness again. 💕

    1. I like the idea of “remodeling.” Thanks for the comment!

  122. What an incredible and inspirational piece of writing. I have so much admiration. My partner and I have decided to pack up our life in Australia and move to London in January and what you have expressed is something that comes into my mind occasionally. Overall you are following your dream so you must know its all worth it.

    1. Thank you for your comment! Picking up and moving (abroad) has it’s ups and downs, but in the end I’ve always been happy with the experience/glad I took the plunge in retrospect. Best of luck on your upcoming adventure!

  123. libby · · Reply

    I love this piece of writing so much. When I am down about life, I remember the times that made me happy and want to recreate them. I think happiness is the feeling of home we seek.
    Thank you for writing this; it’s nice to know other people feel the same x

    1. Hi Libby — Thanks for reading and for your comment. I agree that the feeling of home we seek to find (or go back to) is often tied to places and moments we were happiest.

  124. coffeeandface · · Reply

    I feel like you tend to leave a part of you that you can never get back everytime you go somewhere new. It’s like a loss of innocence. Even when you go back, it’s NEVER the same. Great post!

    1. I think we definitely leave parts of ourselves behind in the different places we go (and also with the different people we love or have loved). While it’s never the same when we go back, I kind of like the idea of different parts or older versions of me existing out there. Thanks for reading and for your comment!

  125. I really enjoyed reading your post, its extremely honest and resonates with how I’m feeling at the moment. I’m an Australian living in the Philippines and while I haven’t experienced the same history that you have I understand the feelings of being transplanted and disorientated. I miss people most of all and have become disillusioned with Skype and Face time conversations as they just don’t fill the void. I’ll be following your blog with interest. You can check mine out: lyndalinthepeens.wordpress.com if you’re interested. I hope things are feeling brighter for you.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment and for the follow! Skype and the like are great, and I’m happy we have them, but it’s very true that they there are some moments in particular where they just don’t cut it.

  126. Scarlet Vagabond · · Reply

    Your writing explained how I feel in such a deep yet wonderful way. I love this post 🙂

    1. Thank you!

  127. Maybe you already know this but I’ll say it anyway.

    Nobody can ever really go back to the person we used to be.
    I have to remind you, you are still you. The self you’re looking for is still there.
    Do not be afraid to live life, and to express who you are.
    The only difference now is you’ve grown. You’re more experienced, more mature, wiser, and stronger.
    Maybe you need to look at yourself in the mirror, and get to know yourself again, and recognize yourself and know and understand why what you’ve gone through makes you a better person than before.

    I’m afraid that the answer will not come to you right away. It will take time or years. It depends on the kind of person that you are. So you might want to still try it. You never know, the answer will come in a different shape or form. So open your mind.

    Best Regards to you.

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful and encouraging comment.

      1. You’re welcome. 🙂

  128. When I began reading your post it felt like I was reading about myself. I have been homesick over the years for a past version of me. I have moved around the globe which was fun at first but soon I found the need to begin somewhere. I just could never find a place I was comfortable enough in to call home until now. It took a while ….it also took moving again to discover my old self and to discover that where I last lived is where I needed to begin again. It’s comforting just don’t give up and thank you for being so honest in your writing.

    1. Hi Nemi — Thank you so much for your comment. It helps to hear that if I keep looking, I’ll eventually find that place to call “home.”

      1. You will! 🙂

  129. THUMBS UP!

  130. Very sad stories but still an amazing writing. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for reading.

  131. What a beautiful self awareness journey you took! It takes courage and you embraced the odds! That girl is still inside somewhere and happy because she was not forgotten! It reminded me of the Disney movie, inside out. If you haven’t yet, have fun watching it. Hugs, Coach Cris.

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