Sombre

Columbus, OH, USA
Sweater, Forever 21 | Button-down, thrifted Ralph Lauren | Necklace, Maxnina | Skirt, thrifted Hollister | Tights, Kohl's | Shoes, DSW
Photos by my brother

A pair of sweatpants. Ninety-five percent cotton, five percent spandex. Kids Large. Flared bottoms. Dusty blue. A big ol' hole on the butt.

I loved those sweatpants. They weren't exactly stylish, but they were comfy--so comfy that I proudly sported them many days a week as a grade schooler, and continued to wear them as pajama pants until sophomore year of high school.

I refused to retire them, even when a very conspicuous hole developed in a very conspicuous place. I begged my mom to patch them, and she complied. But not even careful mending could compensate for the basic laws of repeated wear. Eventually, I surrendered, beginning the search for a replacement pair.

Flash forward to Thanksgiving break, freshman year of college. I'm having trouble letting go again, but this time not of sweatpants--I'm having trouble letting go of the past.

It was just as I had feared: coming home for the first time was not the completely carefree, comforting, warm experience for which I had hoped. I had idealized my return, forgetting that there will be problems whatever we do, wherever we go--just different ones. 

Instead of frantically typing papers, I found myself struggling to understand my new role in old friendships. Instead of grinding out problem sets, I found myself feeling selfishly disheartened by how life had continued just fine without me. Was I that replaceable? I had temporarily escaped the the tumultuous waves of school only to be tossed into the fierce winds of my now-alien hometown. 

Don't get me wrong--it was a blessing to spend time with family, catch up with friends, devour all the bok choy in sight, sleep in my own bed, confirm that my driving skills hadn't deteriorated. I was touched by my enthusiastic welcome and grateful to be home. But coming back was undeniably unnerving: it seemed as if both nothing and everything had changed.

Home is still home, but it's no longer the same place I left three months ago. As with my old pair of sweatpants, time has passed, and the hole has grown. 

It's time to let go. It's time to accept the change, adapt accordingly, and keep living. It's time for a new pair of sweatpants. 
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