There's this feeling I get when I'm on the East Coast; a feeling of comfort. It feels as if familiarity and lifelong friendships are wrapping their arms around me. Yes, that's it — I'd liken the feeling of being back East to a hug: comforting, tight, and unmoving.
It is that same sense of comfort, security, and tightness that drew me away. Though I was secure in the arms of those I loved, I was smothered in the grips of familiarity, of spaces small.
I safely broke out of comfort's tight hold by going to college halfway across the country, in Michigan. There, it simply felt as if my arms were hanging loosely by my sides. I was comfortable, but not comforted. I felt like Goldilocks trying out Mama Bear's porridge and chair: Michigan was too cold and too big. It wasn't right.
So then I tried something completely unknown, a lifestyle foreign and far from everything I was used to. I moved to Phoenix, to the valley of the sun. It was a time of challenge and a time of growth. My arms no longer felt wrapped around my core, nor did they lay limply at my sides. They were spread open, ready to embrace the new. And I did, I embraced the new. But the sun was imposing and the desert lacking. So when the West Coast called my name, I answered.
And now, with the familiarity of family coupled with the opportunity of the vast unknown, I feel just right. My arms, they're stretching high, tall and above me. I am not smothered, I am not lost, I am not stuck. I am home.
This westward progression of mine has been an evolution of character and happiness. With each step in the direction of California, I have unfolded. My arms are no longer wrapped around my core, hanging softly in confusion, or reaching blindly for the new. They're reaching up and reaching out into the endless space, and drawing in everything I love close.