Over the past few days, as I have traveled the mountains of Nelson County, where I hope to soon live (we put in the offer on the farm officially yesterday – here’s to hope for heart’s desires), I’ve found myself falling in love with this place already. I adore the wide valleys where horses and cattle pasture with the just greening backdrop of mountains. I lose myself is seeing the variety of greens climb the mountain tops, just as I’m sure I’ll adore the descent of the autumn color come October. I love the winding roads and the streams that come upon me like babbling gifts.

Yesterday, as Dad I drove to put in the contract, we passed wineries and breweries; we drove by little French cafes and coffee houses; I pointed out organic food markets and pottery places. I kept saying, “My people. My people,” a little like I imagine Evita shouting it from her famous balcony, but I was in a Hyundai so it was probably just annoying.

The thing is that I LOVE the people where I live now. They are good, kind folks who have supported me and helped me through a very, very challenging 18 months. They have shown me friendship and kindness in just the ways I needed it, and for that, I will always be grateful and always think of this place as one form of home.

But I am longing for MY people – people whose lives are invested in art and music and trying out wonderful, niche things like hard cider breweries. I need people whose way of looking at the world is more similar to mine – who are happy to make life hard-scrabble and might choose to do so if it means they step beyond the confines of traditional jobs and live their passions. I long to sit and talk politics with folks who – while they may not agree with me – at least lean more left than right on some things.

I am sure these people are here, where I am now, but I moved back to a place where most people know me as I was at 17, not as I am at 37. I have reconnected with people my family has known for years, and I am ever grateful for those ties and hope I will never lose them. But I’m ready to be fully my adult self again. Really, really ready.

I’m eager to again be the liberal, feminist, Christian writer, who doesn’t eat much meat, buys organic food, and doesn’t think God has a gender. I have suppressed a great deal of who I am here, not because people have asked me to, but because it was easier for me to blend in rather than have to explain (and sometimes defend) who I have become. Perhaps I should not have done this, but at the place I was when I came, this was the choice I needed to make to have time and space to heal from the blows life had dealt.

Now that I’m all healed up – or at least marked with mostly scars and only a few lingering scabs – I’m ready to live fully into who I am, who I was created to be. A place full of my people. For me, that means a new place, a place where I’m me. . . in all my oddness and joy, where I can write with a cup of organic, locally roasted coffee in my hand.

Oh, I can’t wait.

Have you ever chosen to live in a place where it is hard to be who you fully are? How did you handle that? What might you do differently with hindsight?