Going Left

“In a quarter mile, turn left onto Blakely Street,” Google Maps’ narrator instructed.

My grandparents’ house is to the right. I was there only an hour before, saying my goodbyes before meeting my parents and sister for lunch. My spouse and I were headed back to the airport in our rental car, toddler chirping in the backseat.

I’d already run back in the house once, crying, for another hug and another goodbye.

“If I asked you to go right instead of left…?” I thought out loud.

“I would,” my spouse agreed.

“But it wouldn’t change anything, would it?” And I was crying again.

“Is there anything you haven’t said? That you’d do differently?”

I shook my head.

“Then no, it wouldn’t.”

“Turn left onto Blakely Street,” Google Maps said when we got to the corner, and I didn’t argue.

My grandmother is dying. Not in the vague sense, but in the hospice care sense. My spouse and I had been planning to go back to visit where I grew up in the nebulous future, when there was money and time and and and…

And then there was no more time, so we blew the tax refund and what little vacation time I’ve earned on it.

In between family visits, I took my spouse on a whirlwind tour of Places That Mattered To Me. The library that shaped how I imagine libraries. The comic book store where the owner still knows my name after all these years. So many streets that look exactly the same as they did twenty years ago, when I was swearing I’d leave town and never look back.

I didn’t get into my feeds all weekend, so it wasn’t until today that I saw Alex’s Undoing and Reforming. In a long and beautifully-written post, the line “I have continually been directed to look at the things I keep tucked away in my emotional and spiritual closet and don’t want to look at.” resonated with me because of all the sorting I did over the weekend, and the way it echoed the KonMari process.

There was actual sorting of things that had been mine that were still at my parents’ house. I brought back childhood photos and some of my other grandmother’s buttons. There has been an ongoing sorting process, back to when I started Project Protagonist, where I went through what I believed as a child to see what was true. But I’ve done very little work sorting through what my parents gave me, and the shape my childhood has given my life. It was strange to have a spouse there watching me interact with my family, letting me unpack the conversations later.

I’m not sure how much of this KonMari can, or should, be shared in public. But it’s part of the process, and it’s affecting how my other sorts are going. My feelings about Loki in particular (and Odin to some degree) and how present they are in my life have changed drastically in the last month or so. KonMari only works if you drag everything out and lay hands on all of it. Laying hands on everything has turned out to be harder than I thought in every category, from the physical (I still haven’t found those fucking bone runes) to my feelings on the gods, to the looming question of ancestor work, to what I want to do with my life.

Everything is upended and I’m just trying to keep all the plates from hitting the ground, I think. I’ve always said I don’t believe in regrets, and I’m being tested. But regret requires there to be something I’d do differently, and I’ve always known I had to leave the place I grew up. I love my family; I tie myself in knots over it, even when they drive me crazy or get my pronouns wrong. I love my grandmother, and I had the opportunity to tell her, and so I have no regrets. Just… sadness.

Eventually things will settle, but that’s not the comfort it would be in other circumstances. In the meantime, I have another closet I need to figure out how to empty.

4 thoughts on “Going Left

  1. I’ve been looking at this a while and trying to think of something to say that would make sense. I have a lot of the same feelings about my family, I think similar thoughts, I think. I am sorry for those emotions, that sort of empty ringing in the chest that isn’t really regret as much as it is “what if”. I also applaud you being brave enough to confront these sorts of feelings and to begin the sorting. <3

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