For the next three weeks I’ll be living with my parents once again in the town where I grew up, Roanoke Va. I just ended my first year working full time at a therapeutic group home for teenage boys and am getting ready to start my graduate program for healthcare communication and advocacy in mid august.

It seems like everyone has very distinct feelings about returning home to where they grew from children to young adults. Mine are very very mixed.

Roanoke for me reminds me of some pretty wonderful things/people: Loch Haven Lake (where I both swam and was employed during summers), dance class at Valley Dance Productions with a director who not only loved the art, but loved her students (Leslie Arthur), Babysitting for some of the most wonderful kids in the world and also some of the best friendships I have ever made. There is a lot of love in Roanoke (not just in my heart). But, returning to my hometown hurts a lot too.

No one gets through their teens and tween unscathed, however some people definitely struggle more than others. As I drive into town immediately my chest tightens.

Roanoke reminds me of fighting with myself and my family. It reminds me of pretending to be okay when I wasn’t. It reminds me of feeling helpless. There is this murky cloud that seems to hang over my childhood home in my head and in my heart.

Now, to clarify I’m not bitter nor resentful. I’m not angry nor feel hurt nor guilt about my past – but returning always has this fear attached to it. We could psychoanalyze it to death, but for now I’m coping with it. Here’s how:

  • I’m going to spend my time doing things that make me feel good (regardless of what anyone else wants).
  • I’m going to journal and pray.
  • I’m going to remind myself it’s temporary.
  • I’m going to ask for support.
  • I’m going to say what I need.

The best we can do sometimes is take things as they come. Life is never going to be perfect. Life is never going to be “fixed” for anyone.


But, we can do this.


My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.