The end of my suburban honeymoon

AUGUST 10, 2016 By Layney Wells

A year and a half after moving to the suburbs I find myself itching with the familiar desire to uproot and move; preoccupied with the persistent feeling that I don’t belong here. The honeymoon is over.

I wake at 4 a.m. and tiptoe downstairs, avoiding the stairs that creak, lest I wake my sleeping children. I dress for work in the sleepy quiet of my house, relishing the few moments of peace and solitude before my day begins.

As I pull out of my driveway, I lower the windows and crank up the volume to a rather inappropriate level. Rage against the Machine cuts the silence of Sunday morning as the last bit of inky sky gives way to morning light. The blaring music is out of place, among the manicured lawns and strip malls, there is nothing about it that fits the mold, and I suppose that is why I find myself enjoying it so much.

I was so hopeful about finding a place for my family when we moved here, that even the less than perfect pieces were burdens I was willing to bear.

For every challenge, there was a silver lining, glimmering with an idealism that had various corners of the internet scoffing and rolling their eyes at me. Perhaps it was naiveté; the desire to end my lifelong search for the “right” place. One could argue (and they would not be wrong) that there is no perfect place, that you carve out a space for yourself, make it fit yourself – but thus far, in all the places I have lived, I haven’t had much luck in doing so.

On my rage filled drive to work, I replay some of the moments that have left me with doubts, and regrets about the move we made. The subtly racist comments; the NRA T-shirts; the discussion on how overrated the Beatles (and puppies, and rainbows) are; all of the guns in the houses where my children play; the conversations in full support of building a certain wall; the shocking amount of support for a certain candidate, a candidate who has made it quite clear that Latino families, such as my own, are of no value to this country.

I grew up in a bubble. Diversity in color, ethnicity, family structure, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion was rich and wide – but when it came to beliefs, political and otherwise, it was pretty homogenous. I have traveled far and wide, lived abroad, absorbed and appreciated cultures vastly different from my own and somehow, I feel more like a foreigner a mere 20 minutes outside the city where I grew up.

Once again, the map on the wall invites me to explore; the urge for going settles in my chest, reminding me of its presence with each breath I take. Once again, I am reminded of my roots, small hands grasping mine and pulling me back to earth. Reminding me that no one is perfect, that it is our job to carve our own place in this world, to make it our home.

Leave a Reply