I feel very strongly that this month’s prompt from the reverb team is meant to be taken as an analogy. There are so many ways to interpret the question where are you from?
As a person who does not like to dwell on the past, I am much more comfortable answering questions like where are you going? Fortunately, many of the posts I’ve written over the past year have dipped into how I came to be who I am, and the struggle and liberation I have experienced to get to where, specifically, I am. So, in a way, you kind of already know where I am from.
In the most basic answer, I am from Lynchburg, Virginia. A really small town (even smaller back in the 80’s and 90’s than it is today with half of the town taken over by Liberty University) just east of Roanoke, south of Charlottesville, and north of the NC border. A valley right in the middle of 7 major hills – that’s why they call it the Hill City. I am from a place where there are small closed minds and very little diversity. Unless you count La Caretta as the official ethnic establishment. I’m not making fun, La Caretta is freakin’ awesome. And I’ve loved Unauthentic Americanized Mexican food my entire life because of its deeply rooted influence on my adolescence. I am always shocked when someone asks me where I’m from and they know where Lynchburg is. In fact, when people ask me where are you from, I typically answer from Southern Virginia. Northern Virginianers get that.
A little deeper beneath the surface is where I am from biologically. ...Sigh... My parents. Le Sigh. Possibly the most small minded people in all the valley. I’m pretty sure at this point I am happy that I was raised the way that I was because it has made me very vehemently reject every poor example I’ve ever been shown. In fact, I pretty much operate under the assumption that whatever my parents would do, is exactly what I should not ever do. So, where am I from? A house where love is not given freely or unconditionally, where hugs and reassurance are given sparingly, where emotions are frowned upon and seen as weaknesses, where control over others is the ultimate achievement, where anyone who does not live up to your personal expectation should be cut out of your life forever. I cry. This is just all so so bad.
These days, I say I love you every single day. And I am from a place where I am told that I am loved every single day.
I express my emotions freely. And I am from a place where my feelings are never judged and highly respected.
I reject my tendencies to try to control others (still a practice for me), as I very angrily rebel against those who try to control me. And I am from a place where I am encouraged to be the unique individual that I am, unapologetically.
I believe in forgiveness, and always give people the benefit of the doubt. And I am from a place where nothing that I could ever do would result in abandonment.
Where I am from now… a very different place than where I was from then. I don’t even think about looking back over my shoulder except to remind myself of the lessons I’ve learned.