As some of you may know, my new husband and I made the trek up to Maryland a couple weeks ago. We warmly nicknamed it MarriedLand. In a whirl of boxes, dust and laughter, we have since (mostly) put together our home and explored some of the surrounding area.
He has started work this week and I don’t until Monday, so with that down time, I’ve been thinking about the landslide of changes we’ve both gracefully fallen into and also horrendously slid down. Some changes are comical, others are concerning; mostly, I’m just trying to make sense of some musing as I’m sure it’s just the beginning…
Maryland drivers are THE worst; Maryland roads are THE worst. I’m just waiting for one of three things to happen 1) I get towed; 2) I get in an accident; 3) I get a ticket from those damn red-light cameras AND speeding cameras (dear God..).
- Oh wait, I already got towed. We got towed the FIRST night we were here, but that’s another story for another time. In conclusion, anything involving driving on Maryland roads, parking in Maryland streets, etc. is a nightmare.
- Moving with your partner makes the gut-wrenching element of change much less profound. When I moved to Nashville three years ago, where the closest person I loved was 3 hours away and my family was even further, I was awash with emotions of fear and loneliness and pain. I cried for the first 8 months (at least), as I am not the adaptable human the rest of y’all are. In short, I grieved for the life I had left behind. Moving to Maryland has been much more joyous with my partner/best friend/husband by my side. Am I homesick? You bet. Do I miss my humans back in the South? Hell yes. But Eric is my home–my heart–so it didn’t feel like I left a whole life behind when we moved. He was next to me the whole time. I’m thankful for his ever-constant presence in my life; it calms me. It heals me of the extreme emotions that typically accompany a life event for me.
- I’m living in working class neighborhood for the first time in my life. And I know I’m going to love it because it’s real and it’s diverse. But coming from pristine, trendy Nashville, I definitely felt the juxtaposition. I find that perhaps I did appreciate the aesthetics of Nashville, which has been jarring since I never thought of myself as a person who likes something based on looks. So now I’m just considering why I keep looking for the the cute/trendy neighborhoods, restaurants and shops when I’m surrounded by perfectly wonderful ones around me.
- My perceived racial identity has shifted. With some exceptions, for as long as I can remember, I have been in predominantly white spaces. And as a bi-racial woman (white and middle eastern), I feel my Persian ethnicity as more visible in white spaces, as my racialized physical features stand out; my lived experiences differ; my history speaks. I found that I spoke up more against the white narrative and I tried to take up more space as a bi-racial woman in white dominated places. For the first time, I am now a bi-racial woman in a richly diverse community where white people are the minority. Now, in contrast to those around me, I feel like I am perceived as white while about in public. I have noticed that since moving here, I notice my white body trying to take up less space; talk less, smile more (yes, that’s a Hamilton reference). And it’s because I respect this community of many people of color and I don’t want to be imposing my whiteness/privilege onto them. It’s ironic because at the Social Justice Training Institute, I took the time to work on my identity as a woman of color with experiences as a bi-racial Persian woman specifically. Now, it looks like I could have used some reflection on what it means to be white in a community of minorities. Anyone (especially multi-racial folks) who would like to reach out and talk to me about this phenomenon of feeling more one race than the other based on the community around you, I would welcome it.
- Making new friends is daunting; reconnecting with old friends seems almost as challenging. Luckily, Eric and I have some previous friends in the area, but we haven’t done our due diligence in reaching out to everyone. I don’t know what I’m hesitating for; it’s lonely moving to a new city and my husband being at work is only exacerbating the issue. But my social anxiety is kicking in and instead of reaching out, I’m pulling inwards. Yikes.
- There’s so much more to learn here. We’ve been here less than three weeks out of a five year commitment, and I’m so ready to grow into this next stage of my life. I can’t wait to start my program and write like I need it to survive (yes, Hamilton), to learn about the community we have rooted ourself in here in Maryland, to strengthen our marriage into the healthy, happy, thriving life-partnership it is becoming. And to live. Boy, do I just want to live and laugh and BE here in Maryland. And I’m so optimistic that that’s exactly what’s going to happen.