Feeling Out of Place

Last week I started to write a post, and then I abandoned it. It didn’t feel right. I couldn’t say what I wanted to say about my ambivalent relationship with technology, especially where it intersects with issues of Spirit. I dropped the post, half written and never completed it, thinking that I was only stuck because of the topic that I’d decided to write about. Today, after hours of hemming and hawing about what to write today, I realize that I’m stuck for a far deeper reason. It’s hard to write about the spiritual relationship with Place when I’m feeling drastically out of place. The only solution, then, is to write about this experience instead.

Two weeks ago I visited the Netherlands for the first time. That was a nice trip. Amsterdam is beautiful. I was only in the touristy bits of the city this time, a lot of it spent sleeping off the exhaustion from the intense work I’d been doing in the previous few weeks. I can’t say that I got to know the Spirit of Amsterdam or the Netherlands at all. We just sort of said “Hi” to each other and formed first impressions of a passing acquaintance.

From Amsterdam I returned to Glasgow for a day, and then it was on to London. In contrast to Amsterdam, London and I are pretty well acquainted. I spent a lot of time there between 2000 and 2003 when I lived nearby. I spent a fun weekend there with friends, including several hours of playing Ingress around parts of London I don’t know very well.

After London it was up to Manchester. I’d never been there before. I played much Ingress around the University area, finding all kinds of interesting landmarks, hidden art, and architecture of cultural import in between hours of working online in a cafe. I met another Oaklander there, sitting right next to me in the Cafe Nero, drinking the exact same coffee and eating the exact same muffin for breakfast. We were born 20 years apart in the same neighborhood. I didn’t think at that moment how much like my daughter she was, but now that I think of it, the two have an awful lot in common. We visited a couple of times before I came back to Glasgow.

I’m not sure when the stressful dreams started, but I think it was right about the time we got back here. Glasgow. Home-Not-Home.

It hit me. I have just a month left before my time here is up. I don’t know what happens next. I know only that I’m going to Seattle in June. And then what?

For several years I have wandered back and forth without a home at all. For more years still I have picked up and moved my home from one part of the world to the other without flinching. A nomad. Have computer, will travel. But this last bit, the years with no place to call my own at all have been both exciting and wearing. I have grown so much, but I want to belong somewhere again.

I’ve written about that before, written about the ways in which I belong in more than one place, have family and friends fiercer than family in more than one place, but I just want to rest. I want to claim a space and call it Home. But where will it be? How will I live? What job will I have? What kind of housing? Right this moment I have choices between groups of friends, between a job in a place where I know no one or joblessness in a place where I know everyone, more immigrant experiences or a return to places I blend in easily. The fact of the matter is that I don’t want to make a choice at all. I just want the Universe to say, “This is where Home is. You can tell because everything you need is all in one place!” but I don’t think that’s not how it works. I think I have to choose a Place and I have to make it Home.

Some would say that the Goddess will make it all clear to me. Others would advise that I must make my own way. The Goddess hasn’t whispered any secrets in my ear, so all I can do is fumble forward. In the meantime, I feel terribly, terribly out of place.

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About Sterling

When Sterling was 3 years old, her parents packed everything they owned into storage, put a roof rack on their ‘66 VW Bug and spent three months driving with her across the US and Canada. She’s been a nomad ever since. She’s lived in El Salvador, Guatemala, Canada, England, Scotland, Israel and several states in the US. Every place is a new spirit to get acquainted with, fall in love with, or struggle with. Her path within Druidry is a spiritual dance of learning the relationships of all the people, human and otherwise, in the context of place. She has a collection of short stories, The Imaginary City and Other Places, which you can read on Kindle or in paperback.