Back To Life, Back To Reality

Sometimes I really wish time stood still.  I’d like to savor in certain enjoyable moments however, I would like the horrible moments to have a fast forward button.  But since 60 seconds equals a minute always, we have to take the good with the bad. I say that to say I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already since I returned to the United States, and I’m already feeling some sort of way. Not sure what way it is yet though. I think this is one of the signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

My first weekend home I couldn’t even keep my eyes up past 7 p.m. My body clock was readjusting itself to Eastern Standard Time, and took its sweet time. So that rock star themed homecoming party I had planned for myself was not happening. This weekend I had energy to go out, but due to circumstances out of my control, (long lines, tardy for the party people, etc.) I didn’t party this weekend. So now, my homecoming celebration is losing its timeliness and I still haven’t celebrated coming home! How frustrating.

On a less superficial level, my homecoming was well received by my mother and sister, whom I live with, but I can already forecast cloudy skies with scattered thunderstorms in the future if I stay at home. I have been a nomad since I was 17 after high school and coming back home to sharing a room with a 13 year old who is OBSESSED with the Twilight series will be…odd to say the most. I love my family, but when you get used to certain way of living you want to keep it that way. Even in Afghanistan I had my own living space. Besides, as a blossoming teenager, I do want my sister to have her own space and as long as me and my shoe collection are here she’ll only have a corner to herself. Then my mother asked me the question most young Black, career conscious women loathe to hear, “So when are you going to get married and move out?” That was my cue.So I’m convinced I need to move, but the big question is where to?

As a Reservist, I didn’t come back to living and working on a military installation like active duty servicemembers. Like many other Reservists and National Guardsmen coming back home from deployment, we returned to a life that actually doesn’t include the military as a daily part of life, which makes it a bit harder for us to adjust to. Some of us come back to unemployment, homelessness, lack of health care benefits, etc. Living in New York City is the greatest place to be, and I am proud to be a native of this city, however it’s a jungle out here. I am debating if staying here is for me or maybe moving south would be a better move financially and for better employment opportunities. Every one is asking me “What’s your plan?” and this is the first time in my life I don’t have an answer and I feel very out of place.

I am happy though I returned home in time for the holidays to see family and now the job search is slowing down for the year, so I have some time to work with. I will use this time to focus on the people and the little things I missed most about being away, like red velvet cake. In the back of my mind though, I wake up every morning asking myself, “What’s next?”  Hopefully Santa will deliver and give me that job contract I’ve been asking for all year.

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