Back Home knows exactly who I am. Or who I was when I was growing up, which is both the same and different from who I am now. Now I have a career, a husband and a family in Brooklyn, New York, but visiting the tiny New Jersey town where I clawed, fumbled and began the journey to become such a person feels a little like returning to the scene of a crime. Plenty of witnesses—friends, former loves—saw me trying on ill-fitting selves along the way. There’s a trapped-in-amber version of me who hangs out there. She makes me cringe. She did stupid things, gave too much of herself away. But she did good things, too, and I can feel compassion for who I was. Returning home for the holidays is ground zero for this cocktail of emotions. Often smooth and sweet, sometimes Molotov.
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