Family Life, Mental Health

San Jose, My First Home

As I ride back home to San Jose on the CalTrain, a feeling of melancholy has washed over me. I feel uncomfortable leaving Daly City, saying goodbye to all my plants and my beaten up old house. Part of me is excited to visit my hometown again, revisiting old friends and the streets of the city I know so well, but a huge chunk of me is aching like the moans of the train. I’ve left a huge chunk of myself back in Daly City, all of my growth and safety, and traded it in for a holiday rooted in genocide and a bunch of bitter relatives who wish they could scrub my tattoos off. I hate being thrown back into the fascade of who I used to me, just repeating back lines and trying not to reveal how drunk I am at dinner.

Being with family after developing such genuine relationships and love within my collective is always hard during the holidays. Especially considering the roots of Thankgiving and its basis of colonialism and genocide, I’m very hesitant to take part in most of the festivities. Coming home, I know I’m here to simply see my family and lend a helping hand around the house as my mother cooks days in advance and my stepfather runs errands all day. It was refreshing to complete different chores this morning, feeding my chickens as I take part in my morning stoge and coffee. I’m comforted by mother’s presence in a way that transcends our differing policies: food and farm labor.

I love going into our wild garden and seeing all the produce flourish beneath my feet. I can hear the chickens squawk as I pet our cat Lexi. My mother is constantly making meals, making sure I’m comfortable back home and can rest from my time away from the city. Even though leaving my home is difficult, it’s easy for me to find that silver lining in all of this, knowing I don’t see my family often and their presence comes from a genuine, kind place.

Differing politics will always be a hurdle with my family, which is why I moved out in the first place. As I carve out my new life as an adult in the city, it’s important to never forget the amount of love I still left at home with my family in South Bay. I don’t think my mother and I will ever see eye to eye, but I do know that we are on that track to healing our relationship since we do have the time and space we both desperately needed when I was still developing as a young teenager. In my time back home, I’m working on bridging those gaps and healing those wounds so I don’t feel as heavy as I did when I left.

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