You Can't Go Home Again, and Maybe That's Okay
How I learned that not every loss is a bad thing.
“You Have Stumbled on In Darkness, You Have Been Pulled in Different Directions”
This is my childhood home located in rural North Carolina. As you can probably tell from the overgrown weeds and empty driveway, my family has not lived here for some time. To most this picture shows nothing more than an abandoned house, but for me this picture holds an unmatched hope.
At a very early age I was diagnosed with depression. That depression made me unwilling to participate in anything social. I found that I lacked the ability to trust the people around me and as a result I shirked most social interactions. Of course, I quickly became one of the less than popular kids in my year. By the time, I learned to cope with the depression to damage to my reputation had been done. My senior year of high school was spent wishing I had friends, knowing I didn’t, and pretending none of it bothered me. On top of all of this, my home life was falling apart. It then comes as no surprise that I moved away to college as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Just a week after graduating high school, I moved away from home and started college.
“You Have Faltered, You Have Missed the Way”
Going straight into college to escape a less than desirable home life is probably one of the dumber things I have done in my lifetime. I ended up having to withdraw from college after having an unprecedented breakdown. The pressure of trying to be a perfect student, working two jobs, and pretending that I was doing okay for my mother’s sake all proved to be too much. My mental health forced me to take a step back and address my problems. It was rough to face all those issues I had spent at least a decade running from, but I finally did it. I am happy to say I am doing much better now. I have since enrolled back in college and stabilized my mental health.
At this point, you must be wondering what any of this has to do with the picture of my childhood home. Well, my family lost this home due to financial instability recently. We had to go through it and clean out years of memories. When I was looking through the house, I felt as if I was standing in the ghost of everything I used to be. In many ways, this feeling was awful. I felt overwhelmed with memories of the sad little girl I used to be. But I also felt this little glimmer of hope in that old house. I was reminded of how far I had come as a person. I am still far from perfect, but I nowhere near the broken thing I was. It felt as if I had been reassured that I am always growing as a person, though it may not feel like it as times. That is why I took this photo. I wanted to capture that little glimmer of hope in something visual. Though this photo has a gloomy tone, I see nothing hope when I looked at it.
“But, Child, this is the Chronicle of the Earth”
Now for something more lighthearted and, possibly, more interesting; how I got the shot! So, it may be hard to believe, but I took this photo of my childhood home in a moving car. Before I make myself sound way cooler than I am, I should mention that the car was moving slowly. I took the photo with my iPhone 6s. (Yes, I still have an iPhone 6s.) There are no effects on the photo either. No HDR, flash, zoom or anything. This shot truly was just lucky timing. The shot below is another one of my attempts at this photo in the moving car.
As you can see from the other photo, the car I was in started to speed up as it pulled away and it became harder to keep the inside of the car out of the frame. Below is a very short video I took of the house. (You may hear my mother speaking in the video.) I thought a video might capture what I was feeling more than picture. I think it may have worked it I had thought of it sooner. The car was too far away for me to capture the house in the frame the way I wanted to.
Below you can see my attempt to salvage the video I took. I was hoping that I could create an interesting visual by placing a filter over the video. While I think the product was visually interesting, I did not necessarily love it.
Thank you for reading my story! I just wanted to share, in case there was someone else out there going through a similar situation. Sometimes, you really can’t go home again, but maybe you don’t need to.
Footnote: The subtitles are an excerpt from Thomas Wolfe's novel You Can't Go Home Again. All together the quote reads "You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth."