I left Montana nearly four years ago and I have no regrets for this choice. I gained a great deal in these years in the Pacific Northwest but I have never truly returned to my home state. In four years I have visited five times, all visits were less than three days and most trips barely lasted twenty-four hours. In fact, I’ve spent twice as much time in New York in these years than in the place I called home for a majority of my life.
I could rationalize why but it involves a lot of moving pieces I would rather not bring up yet again, summed up I would say I don’t go to Montana because it’s haunted. The big sky state is filled with ghosts that remind me of what I’ve lost. Each time I have visited I’ve wavered between a feeling of displacement and depression and I hate the discomfort these trips bring. Needless to say it takes a great deal to inspire me to head east towards my past; your wedding was one such reason, saying goodbye to my mentor was another and a funeral also made the list.
This time is different though, I will be in Montana for four days not because someone died or is getting married but because I need to be reminded where I came from. I need to connect with the careless and wild person I remember I was, before I started to see how hard things could become. I want to make new memories in the beautiful town that helped raise me, in hopes to replace some of the dark moments that lead me to yearn for a new place to call home.
I don’t pretend that this will be an easy endeavor for me; in fact parts of it may be quite painful. My childhood home has been completely renovated since my departure, any memory inducing mark on the walls are gone. Seemingly I have been erased from Montana as much as it has been erased from me.
But I am not the person who left four years ago; my time in Seattle has made me stronger and wiser. I am honest about what I expect from this adventure, I’m excited and terrified to see what this place has become. And I’m curious to see where I will fit in this new revision of an old chapter.
No matter how I change and what I learn, this place is part of my identity. It helped shape me into the weird, loving and intense person you know and I have not paid this place the homage it deserves. I hope that changes, I hope Montana returns to a place that feels comfortable and inspiring to me. I’m intrigued to see what happens and hope for a chance to make it somewhere I feel like I fit once again.