Tomorrow, I go back to St. Louis for the first time since February. I’m not really sure what to think about it right now. I’m nervous about going back to see my family, even though I have told them my decision and they seemed to accept it. I keep worrying that they will use the time I’m in town to try and convince me to change my mind, to stay in St. Louis and finish the PhD program. It’s not necessarily a rational fear, but then fear rarely is.
I’m still going, though, because I think I need to. I owe my family that much, for supporting me so much. I owe it to the people I knew in St. Louis to show up and say goodbye in person. I owe it to my professors and faculty at my university to tell them that I am leaving, and why, face to face. And I owe it to myself to go back, see what I have left behind while I’ve been here, and see what is worth trying to salvage and bring to my new life here. It’s not going to be an easy trip for me, even if things go as well as they can.
There are things I did enjoy about St. Louis. I liked the school I was at, and I liked the people at the school, though I was never social or outgoing enough to make them anything beyond acquaintances. I liked the comic and game stores in the area; I visited them a lot during my time in St. Louis, and I got to know several of the staff. I liked knowing my way around and the good places to eat in St. Louis. I liked the safety of living around my family, even if we didn’t get along a lot of the time, because they were at least a constant presence that helped my loneliness.
But it wasn’t enough. I need people to be around, friends to talk to, groups to be a part of. While my parents were always around – well, maybe not always, but most of the time – we don’t really share much in the way of interests. School wasn’t enough to keep me focused, because my friends are more important to me than my job, whatever that might be. I don’t know that being in the PhD program was ever really what I wanted; it was just a familiar path that I took because my depression kept me from looking outside my comfort zone.
So now I am going to St. Louis, but St. Louis isn’t my home anymore. Despite living there for a decade, I’m not sure it ever really was. So I’m going to go there, and come back, and when I do, I’ll figure out whether if Houston will be home now. I have some great friends here, relationships I never had in St. Louis. I have support in a number of forms, from groups for mental illness to RPG clubs that I want to visit next weekend after I return. Hopefully, in the near future, I will have my own apartment, car, and job. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, but I want it to be home while I’m living here.
I need my home to be here. Because I don’t want to have to build a whole new network of friends and support from scratch somewhere else, not when I am only just starting to get used to having one here.