Speaking as someone born in Indiana, and lived there from age 11-22, I think why SOME people ask is because they saw you as someone who "escaped", and then came back - and they don't understand why you'd come back. They think to themselves "man if I ever left here, I'd never come back" or "New York is so much more exciting than Indy, how can you be happy here" or something along those lines. But you're right, it's all assumptions, and it reveals a lot more about the asker than the person being asked.

On to your question... where can I be alone with myself? The exact location isn't super important - familiar, comfortable; could be soaking in the bathtub or walking around a park or just the overstuffed chair in the living room. The important part is space to BE alone and think. I think best "out loud" - either literally out loud or writing things out. It helps me clarify. It helps me ramble and then see what the REAL story is, what I'm really worried or upset or anxious about. Alone, glass of water, cup of coffee, maybe some bourbon - then I can sort my head out.

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“We ask each other a lot of questions that have nothing to do with being curious about each other.” Omg THIS. Questions as a veil for judgement. Questions to whittle us down into something easily consumable that can be neatly categorized so they don’t have to actually get to know us.

I love that you refuse to clarify. It reminded me of a Black Autistic mother I follow @fidgets.and.fries who wrote a beautiful article about why she refuses to answer the question, what is Autism? It rang very similar to what you said. https://www.instagram.com/p/CVjlVyoM1Zn/?utm_medium=copy_link

I moved back home to my parents house 3 years ago to give myself the space to just be after years of capitalistic, ego-driven existence that left me broken inside. It has allowed me to get to know who I am outside those oppressive systems and my internalization of them. I found I actually like myself, who knew. And although it’s still scary, I’m finding ways to express the real me even if no one fully understands. I understand, and that’s all that matters.

That and the escape into worlds of anime is where I can leave my head and access my heart. To listen to the child version of me who still needs a lot of care and love who no one listened to, not even me, for so long. She has a lot of grief and pain, but she also has so much love, and feeling it all makes me feel more human.

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