So much of what you wrote rings true for me, too. I somehow figured out how to be a nonexistent person while remaining alive.
Your piece finally answered why I love to travel so much (prior to COVID), and specifically to Philadelphia (where I’m from). I finally felt like myself for the first time in decades while in Philly. I could be myself without ridicule or having to be on constant guard of what I said. And I was also returning to a place where people knew me and liked me way back when I was young. The second I’d get a text from my ex, I’d shut down. One of my friends witnessed this crazy reaction to a text. One minute I was laughing, making jokes, being silly, and the next my hands were shaking as I tried to reply as quickly as possible to my ex.
A therapist asked me once what I loved so much about traveling, and I think I finally have my answer. It’s not about the actual travel or physical destination, although those have all been incredible, but it’s the traveling back to ME that I really enjoy.
Thank you for helping me figure this out.