I’ve been having this nagging feeling deep in my gut the past few days, and it’s taken me a long time to figure out what’s really going on. This is hard for me to talk about, but I strongly believe that the hardest topics to write about are the most worth it, so here goes:

I’m homesick. I was last home almost 7 months ago, making this the longest I’ve been away from home in my entire life. People don’t realize that even though I’m independent and crave freedom when I’m at home, I still miss it when I’m away for long periods of time. See, I’m living here to go to university, and coming all the way out here was 100% my own choice. I’m the one who dreamed up an escape and then packed my car and fled. I’m the youngest child of 4, but oddly enough I show character traits that appear to be absent in two of my older siblings. Maybe it’s the military training, or maybe I really am just more independent than they are. By age 20 I felt so stifled that I needed to escape. So it’s my own doing that I’m lying here in the dark now, alone in my bedroom, writing to you.

My roommates are awesome, but they simply don’t get it. This school is odd because most people live in the many towns within a few hours driving distance, but come here during the week for school. They call their parents regularly, and go home on the weekends. They bring back home cooked meals, and get to have someone take care of them when they don’t feel like taking care of themselves. If anything were to go wrong, they could easily just go home, and they would be welcomed back with open arms. I don’t have that support network. I haven’t had a home cooked meal since early May. I talk to my parents only every few weeks when they check in to make sure I’m still alive, and even then we have little to talk about. My parents aren’t there for me when I’m feeling low or struggling with a course. They know so little about my life that I didn’t have the heart to tell them when I failed a midterm, even though I was devastated. In fact on the rare occasions that I do talk to my parents, they always seem to bring up how they are trying to control my career choices. Even from hundreds of miles away, they are trying to run my life. And to be honest, it hurts that they can’t see how hard it is for me to be here, away from home, knowing they don’t really support me when I tell them I just want to do something that makes me happy. I’ve still never told them about the anxiety problems that have been making my life miserable for over a year now. And I don’t know if I could ever tell them that their disappointment hurts me more than anything because I feel like I’m never good enough. They are why I’m a perfectionist. I need to be perfect at everything, otherwise I just break. It’s no wonder I have so much anxiety all the time. I’m doing a lot better now, but the feelings of inadequacy are always there.

I wish I could go home and talk to my parents face to face. I wish I could tell them the truth about how my life in this new town is actually going, and how my interests don’t line up with their expectations. I wish I could tell them that I have an anxiety problem, and even though I’m trying my best to fight it, it’s still there. I want to tell them that I always feel like it’s not enough, that I’m never enough, no matter how well I do in school or how much I achieve. I will always want more, aim higher, stress more, until the stress ultimately breaks me. Just like it is right now as I’m spilling all this out to you. Sometimes I just need my parents to be there for me, not just as a voice and an image on a screen. And that neediness doesn’t mean I’m weak or incapable of living on my own. And it doesn’t mean I’m reverting back to being a child instead of living as an adult.

No, it just means I love my family. I just have never found the words to tell them that.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

5 responses to “Homesick.”

  1. Red says :

    Reblogged this on Patchwork Interpretations and commented:
    Just when I find tears in my eyes, from my own homesickness, Janine sums up everything I would want to say in words far better than my own.

  2. Priceless Joy says :

    Dear Janine, if I were your mother, I would be happy that you wrote me this letter and let me know what is bothering you and how I could change my ways to be a better parent to you. I would know that you need my nurturing and not me trying to control you. I would know you just need my love and not my unsolicited advice. And, I would make sure you felt comfortable to come home as often as you wish, knowing you will be coming “home” to where you have roots. This is me…and I sincerely hope or wish your parents are something like me.

    • janinerussell says :

      Thank you for writing this. I know things aren’t always perfect with my family, and we aren’t very open about things that are going on. Thank you for being caring. Your comment makes me feel like I’m not alone, and that even when things are tough there are people out there who care, even if they don’t know you personally. I’m glad there are people like you out there who are kind and loving, and share those feelings with others when they need to hear it.

  3. jameswilliaml says :

    I feel for you in not telling your parents. When I told mine that I was bipolar and suicidal I felt like complete failure. I’ve never been that humiliated before in acknowledging that, basically, I can’t function like a normal human being.

    But it got a lot better.

    I used to never talk to my parents and now I talk to them all the time. Having them know that I struggle with certain things in my life got them involved. I went from the usual monthly text message to see if I was okay to talking to them just about every other night.

    So maybe consider telling them that you’re struggling with anxiety. They’ll probably freak, probably baby you at first, definitely not understand, but it’ll get better. And the worst thing that can happen is that you go back to right where you are now.

    I also know how it feels to not live up to expectations. They wanted me to go into business – I’m in my 6th year of college and I went into math and philosophy and now I write.

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