I want to write about homesickness because I remember a point where I imagined I would be limited by it for the rest of my life. Homesickness was a panicked feeling that inhibited by ability to relax and enjoy myself whenever I was separated from my family and my home.I’m pretty sure I wasn’t always plagued by homesickness. In my mind, it started when I was 7 years old and was waiting in the church basement for my parents to pick me up from Sunday School. I know I waited around for what felt at the time like forever. Maybe this affected my subconscious, or some panic was instilled, specifically I would feel panicked when my parents weren’t around. Maybe. It’s just a theory.
Anyways, this homesickness always reared its ugly head during sleepovers. I can picture several instances in my mind: being invited to a sleepover and saying yes because I wanted to be okay with it and so I wouldn’t appear to be insecure. Maybe this time I would make it through the whole night. Sometimes I would survive, but it wasn’t fun. I dreaded my friends drifting off to sleep while I was lying on the cold hard ground, watching Pocahontas at 1 AM and crying to myself.
I assume I was crying. It's a theme.
I guess I always thought I was severely judged for getting homesick and getting picked up by my mom at 2 in the morning, but now that I think about it, people didn’t treat me differently at all. Regardless, this weakness disappointed me – I didn’t know why I was struggling with this or when I would get over it.
Well, now I’m a full time college student, about 3 hours away from my hometown of Duluth. Wait… what?! When did this transition happen? I still wonder that this from time to time, impressed that I can now easily sleep in most places (sketchy locations excluded) without completely freaking out. I think it is due to a combination of persistence and time, honestly. I came to a point in 7th grade where I really wanted to try out Camp Survive, a week long Catholic summer program. With hesitation, I went. It was hard, but my parents were adorably kind and sent hand-written cards for me to read every day.
It went well, so I kept going, year after year. Time is a factor as well, though an annoying one that remains beyond our control. Surprisingly enough, time is a wonderful agent for change. You grow in confidence and you learn about yourself, which is pretty darn neat.
This is probably what the process of gaining confidence will feel like.
I’m so thankful to no longer have to be inhibited by homesickness. I’m even attending a conference in D.C. this June as well as studying abroad in Rome next spring! So, if you are in a similarly tough place, be it homesickness or just about anything else, have some patience, find a source of encouragement, and know that you are not alone.
Some people may scorn your persistence, but ignore them. Even if they're adorable.