It has officially been a year since we left Lake Bluff, Illinois. I thought I was doing okay. I thought I was starting to feel okay about L.A. and more on the hedonic side of things. Well, my psyche conspires against me. Wednesday morning I dreamt of Lake Bluff. There were no words, only images of Lake Bluff in the spring. It was kind of like a slide show. One image after the next all beautiful, green and lovely. I woke and for a second I didn’t remember that we had moved away and that instead of our lovely home off of Sheridan Drive I was now in a one bedroom condo in Valencia. The only thing I can compare the feeling to is a million years ago an idiot guy broke up with me and I was absolutely sick about it. You know that kind of love sick that leaves you convinced nothing will ever be right with the world again. So, I was that kind of sick and I remember the mornings of those days when I would wake up and just for a minute or two I would forget my heart was broken. That is what waking from this dream of Lake Bluff was like. When my memory returned and I realized that we lived in L.A. real tears started to flow.
A few months before we left Lake Bluff I started to have nightmares that we had to move back to L.A. I would wake He-weasel and make him vow that we never had to come back here ever again. See, L.A. is the site of early-life trauma. I have the kind of childhood trauma that gets one a spot on the Oprah show. Coming back here is a constant reminder of that. Also, I am an only child of a narcissistic mother and my mother is here in Southern California and that means I am closer to my mother (in mileage only). Now do you understand the vows, the nightmares, the tears? If not you don’t know what it is like to have a narcissist for a parent you should count your blessings.
I told Igor about my dream and the grief that it triggered and he responded,”If you grew up in Hell wherever you move to is going to feel like paradise.” Moving away from L.A. to Lake Bluff was a dream come true for me and its opposite a nightmare. Lake Bluff was everything that L.A. wasn’t. I felt at home. I felt safe. I felt sure that my new home was my reward for all that I endured. It was the perfect place to have kids and raise a family. People describe Lake Bluff as Mayberry of the North Shore and that is the kind of place that I wanted to raise my children. The one and only reason everyone moves to the North Shore of Chicago for is because they have kids and the schools are great.
When we left Lake Bluff for Austin last year because of He-weasel’s job I was devastated. I was not just because we were leaving our home but also because we failed to fulfill our baby dreams and because of that we could never return. Or, as Igor said, “Moving there would be masochistic.” Yet, I miss it like a person I can never see again because to see them again would remind me of what cannot be and what I cannot have. I can truly never go home again. We cannot ever go back and that is a pain that I am today feeling more keenly than a kidney stone.
Even though we have a lovely place to live here in Valencia I feel homeless. There is nowhere in the world that is home to me. L.A. is not and never will be my home even though I am making lovely friends here. Lake Bluff is the Eden from which we have been ejected. I think endlessly about where we should try to get transferred. San Francisco? New York? Boston? All these places have their appeal and yet I cannot imagine making a home or feeling as at home as I did in Lake Bluff when I believed we would raise a family there. I know, I know, home is where the heart is and that is all well and good but I want a city in a state with an address and a place to put my stuff that feels like home to me and I no longer believe that I will ever know that feeling ever again. I wonder if there isn’t a bright side to that and yet I am unable to see it today, the L.A. sunshine is obscuring my view.
“You can never go home again, Oatman. But I guess you can shop there.” Grosse Point Blank (1997)
“Nothing is wrong with Southern California that a rise in the ocean level wouldn’t cure. “