Because you asked

            I am moorless.  I am floating without any place to tie me down.  I go on, day to day, and the kids are fed and bathed, but I am empty of definition.

            When I first married, I changed my name, on the principle that if I was going to have the same last name as a man, it may as well be one I actually liked.  After a few months, my maiden name no longer felt like it belonged to me, but my married name still felt like clothes with the tags on. 

            That is sort of how I feel right now.  I think Zachary feels the same way, because he is acting out and playing food games, trying to claim control in at least one corner of his life.  But, for once, this will be a post about me, not my kids, and about how I am adjusting. 

            And the answer is: not well.  It has nothing to do with Los Angeles or California.  It has to do with too much uprooting and not enough time in one spot.  When we were in London, we were still tied to Philadelphia.  That was where we had left and, although London was temporary, Philly was a home base.

            But now, I am not from Philadelphia.  I did not grow up there, I have no family there, and my friendships there have weakened with time and distance.  I am not from London, which was always a temporary home.  I am not from Los Angeles, that is certain.

            Nor is there anything here that is mine.  People tell me that my kids define me or I am meeting people through them.  Great.  But that is theirs.  It is not me and it is not mine.  My husband has his work, and he is trying to get his sea legs, which means late hours and a lot of stress.  I need to support him as he integrates himself into this office.  I need to support the kids as they find their lives here.

            “Support,” however, is not my strong suit.

            So, I sit here in a temporary apartment with a temporary phone and no permanent friends and temporary childcare.  And I try to solidify Jello.  

41 responses to “Because you asked

  1. Oh, my friend. I’m sorry. I’m not going to do anything but tell you I’m here. No suggestions, no chipper reassurances, because I don’t think that’s what you need right now. You just need to be heard. I hear you.

    I have felt something like this, too. It sucks like a Dyson vacuum.

    I’m thinking of you.

  2. moving to a new place is hard enough, but moving when you are the one at home, supporting everyone else’s adjustment while having nothing permanent or tangible to immerse yourself in – especially while pregnant, while needing to root yourself and plan – that’s really hard.

    and you have spent so much of your life denied solid roots and foundations to trust that it must be especially painful to find yourself again having to start building sandcastles, overwhelming to look around you and feel isolated, adrift.

    i too am listening, thinking of you, hoping that you can find the support YOU need.

  3. You need to be the rock with the water craxhing around you.

    It can be hard to be the rock. Cause you need support as well.

  4. I’ve been there before. Most of my life was spent in temporary places. It is…unsettling…to be so unsettled. But I didn’t have to be supporting so many. It sounds overwhelming.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re having a hard time, but glad that you are sharing with us. And I will hope that you find that place where you can put down your roots soon.

  5. Ooof, Emily.

    I identify with the feeling of being moorless and empty of definition, someone else’s support structure/nurse/cook/friend/comfort.

    I hope you, too, can find your sea legs.

    Feeling that you have a name and a purpose and clear definition of self that you can lie down with at night makes you that much better a wife and mother.

  6. I hear you. I’m living in the place I grew up – a place I hate, loathe, despise and refuse to think of as home. But… then where is home? Family, of course, is home, but the anchor of mine is gone now so home… is hard to find.

  7. I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, just as you were about to make the move.

    I understand what you are feeling – when my husband and I moved across country to Seattle – I felt that same way. Even though I loved it here, nothing of it was mine. It takes awhile. I hope you find your sea legs soon.


  8. I think it sounds as if you need a little support yourself.

  9. I feel that way even after 20 years of living here in the South. It is still very alien to me. I am a square peg in a round hole. I’ll never fit.

    Moorless. What a good way to describe it.

  10. Oh Emily, I’m sorry. I know just how you feel and I’m so sorry.

  11. I’m sorry. I never had a place that I considered mine either. I’ve claimed Nashville (of all places) having been here for 13 years now. I like it and my kids were raised here. I’m not sure it’s really “my place” but it’ll do for now. (My place I secretly believe is a village in the South of France. With Johnny Depp.)

  12. I don’t have anything especially helpful to suggest, except to say that your friends are thinking of you and miss you, for whatever anchoring that knowledge may offer.

    I also think that you will eventually figure out how to be you in LA, although it will probably take several months at least.

  13. Hang in there. I hope you find your place soon. Maybe when you have your own home, it will help you feel a little more settled?

  14. I understand that feeling, I would most likely feel the same if I were in your shoes. I am so sorry you feel so dis-jointed. Developing roots or ties to a place takes time and the waiting is never easy.

    A recent post from a bloggy friend, Princess Pointful, titled Going at it Alone:
    May provide some help where connecting with others is concerned.

    Hang in there!

  15. I too struggle with finding home. While we live in (and love) Pittsburgh, we don’t have any family here. It feels odd sometimes to call a place home when we have no real ties to the place.

    BTW, you do have permanent friends. They may not live in CA, in fact we are scattered all over, but we are still permanent friends.

  16. I know exactly how you feel, my first few months in Melbourne felt exactly that way. If you think of your life as a journey, then you’re in the transit hallway, moving from one gate to another and that feels kind of hollow. It takes some time, doesn’t it, until we actually do arrive at our destination in every sense of the word. Your bodies are there but parts of you are still travelling. At least I hope that you can stay in LA for a bit longer than two years, for your and the kids sake.

    Well, one thing is still the same – your blog and bloggy friends – we’re still here to read and feel with you …


  17. So cheesy to say, but you totally need a book club. Or something like it. I joined one when I moved to DC by myself and it was a lifesaver for giving me an instant social life.

    Suggestions aside, I’m thinking of you and hope you start to feel some connections of your own soon.

  18. I’m sorry. Not to the extent that you are surely feeling it, but I sometimes feel that way too. I live here in the UK, but think of Pennsylvania as home. I go there, and think of the UK as home. Either way, it seems I don’t feel connected to one place. It certainly can suck.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  19. Oh, I hate that feeling. I’ve felt it several times in my married life.

    I hope some anchoring happens soon.

  20. oh, I am sorry. Perhaps soon things will feel less in between – finding a house maybe? some friends, for you and for all of you. Ugh, time moves slowly in moments like this. it will happen for you.

  21. Oof – I’ve felt that feeling and it’s not fun, and hard to shake. ((Hugs)) and take care. Keep looking for that anchor – it’s out there for sure.

    Be well.

  22. Oh, how I feel for you. When I was a child we moved so often I don’t have a place I can call home. When someone asks where I’m from, I respond with “I’m from everywhere I’ve ever hung my hat.” You see, home is where you are now – with your two beautiful sons and your loving husband (not to mention baby #3). The town, the city, the state, even the house, doesn’t make you who you are. You will find your way and so will your son. You are doing what you need to do to get your family settled, but don’t forget about yourself. Remember… friends and family are only a phone call away and now you have a chance to spend more time with cousins and family just a short drive away.

    A few words of advice… get involved with life. Have play dates at the park with your son’s new mates from school, join a Mommy and Me group with your younger son, contact a local college about book clubs or guest speaking, join the Temple to meet other young families, and in time, you will begin to feel less displaced. Though it may never feel like home, it will be home for now.

  23. Although, I’ve mostly always been in the same place, I sort of feel the same way, sometimes . . .

    Especially since I quit working . . .

    I don’t regret the decision at all, it’s just that sometimes I too am trying to figure out what defines me . ..

    Other than being The Tractor, and The Choo-Choo’s mom . . .

  24. thinking of you, emily, and hoping this is only a temporary feeling. we are here, listening, supporting, caring.

  25. I hear you. I feel you. I’m cheering for you. I am impressed that you keep writing through it all & feel lucky that I can keep reading your writing through it all.

    While I love reading your blog, I struggled a bit with this post (only a bit) b/c this feeling has been so raw in me with our big move & my own professional ambivalence. Now nearly 10 months into it, I can say that I have found some community but it has been slow going even though I see the potential there. I had NO context here outside of mom to— and wife of— and it has been wearing.

    One day just a couple of weeks ago, I made mention to my husband’s class schedule & one of the boys asked what a ‘schedule’ is. As I explained the word & concept, I described P’s school commitments, the twins’ schedule at school, the youngest one’s schedule at home. Suddenly I realized, “Hey, wait! I don’t really have my own schedule b/c my days are centered around everyone else’s schedules.” It hit me so hard all I was feeling for the past months.


  26. oh honey. when life hands you jello, make jello shots.

    seriously, moorless. it’s exactly right, that description.

  27. Sending you lots of hugs and support…it takes time…never shy from sharing your state – this is no small adjustment…hang in there…HUGS!

  28. I’m sorry, and I wish there was someone there for you, to make your transition easier.

    If only Jello gelled faster.

  29. Oh, a dark night of the soul. You are brave, and probably making some sort of start of a mooring that is not the least bit visible yet. You are not alone.

  30. It always catches up with one eventually, doesn’t it? You are doing the right thing, my friend. Feel into your emotions, respect them, embrace them and they will be able to fade. It’s not what happens to you in life but what you do with it that makes the difference. And in the meantime, here in the virtual world where things can sometimes feel more real than reality, we are all with you.

  31. I could tell, sweetie. Wish I could help. It took me a while to adjust to here. I can understand what you mean, I really can. Big (hugs)

  32. Sometimes Jell-O is speedier with ice cubes in it?

    I have felt this, and will profoundly feel it when we arrive in LA. Our time there will only be one year, and after that we have NO idea where we will go. I dread feeling unanchored there, and with no future plans I feel even more moorless.

    This post really resonated with me. I hope you find some stability.

  33. hugs and love! and feel free to track me down so i can make you laugh with the zany, off the wall adventures of midlife dating. surely my life is nonstop shock enough to make you thankful for your own!

  34. That is understandable. You need some good solid time in one place. A place for YOU to make your OWN roots. It is hard to do that moving around so much.
    I hope it gets better. And in the meantime you have us to vent to. 🙂

  35. Sorry Emily – I hope these feelings too are temporary…

  36. This? I completely understand. I hope you soon find ways to make a new home for yourself. Or that you learn to survive without one. It’s tough.

  37. Emily, I’m thinking of you and sending some strength your way. You are in the midst of way too much all at once, and I can’t imagine what can possibly be said to make this better for you. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who isn’t good at support however. So at least you continue to validate ME in the middle of your misery. Heh.

  38. Way more than any one person should have to handle. I hope you get yourself some paid help – and soon. You also forgot to add pregnant to the list of stuff to deal with. Which means you can’t take the only advice I have to offer (to put vodka in the jell-o).

    Remember…you have at least a nationality to identify with 🙂

  39. Everyone needs a home they can leave.

    I’m sorry the transition is not going well.

  40. Pingback: Cheese with that? « Wheels on the bus

  41. Hugs. You can email me anytime. Even if you don’t feel like phoning. : ) I hate the phone too.