Distant. I feel distant as I sit here in a booth on my former college campus where I am visiting for a day. I feel disconnected from the student body, from people whom I still call friends; from people whom I spent my days with just five months ago as a fellow student. I know their names, their hobbies, their likes and dislikes, yet I feel that we live in two worlds apart. My decision to leave college was not in the least of my own choosing, but I still feel as though I deserted it. I feel like a foreigner in a place that still welcomes me and enjoys my company. In this way I suppose that this institution of higher learning is not unlike anywhere else I have left, whether it be country, city, house, or home. It is not unusual for me to return to places I have left behind, because I find value in unearthing old memories and experiences. Nostalgia can be a lot of fun if done in moderation. Returning to my old college however, is different. My emotions are twisted, and my feelings chaotic.
Coming back here is not nostalgic.
I am not a different person now - I have not changed since I left college. Before, I could take comfort in being able to associate nostalgia with maturing. I could look back and associate a place with a certain maturity level I was at and could chart my progress as a human being by counting how many times I had changed surroundings. This college, however, is still somewhere I want to be. I feel displaced, and unfairly at that. I feel cheated and taunted by fate.
Of course, it was my own decision to return and visit. Nobody dragged me here and made me socialize with these people. Perhaps I return in hopes of staying relevant, in hopes of retaining former relationships, and in hopes of remembering why I am working my fingers to the bone to return to college. I want these relationships, and I want this community. This is a place where I have much more growing yet to do.
All my life I have felt, to one degree or another, unwelcome in a place where I belonged but did not fit into. For the first time, I feel welcome in a place where I fit in but do not belong.
(for the time being)