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Leaving Louisiana Part 1: An introduction

It shouldn’t be so hard to leave. I’ve done it before.

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If you follow me on any social media platform, you’ve no doubt noticed a surge of posts with the hashtag #leavinglouisiana. I’m in Baton Rouge for the week, cleaning out my things as my parents prepare to move to a new city later this summer. It’s my last week in my childhood home. The last time I can walk from the kitchen to my bedroom in the middle of the night without bumping into something. The last time I might accidentally run into some childhood acquaintance in the grocery store. The last time I can pretend that this whole adult thing is a lark, that I can return home to my “real life” anytime, that I can come back.

I am heartbroken.

And in this modern day of the Internet and oversharing, I am of course documenting the crap out of this experience.

My mother wants it made clear that SHE is not yet leaving. She is still here, for a few months yet, and she would very much like to be included in your lunch and dinner plans. So, be advised and act accordingly. She has excellent manners and makes amusing comments when you least expect it. (Example: Me: I don’t think I should tell you about that. Mom: Tell me and then I’ll let you know if it was okay or not.)

I wanted to write one grand essay about leaving your childhood home, about losing the safety net, about the complicated feelings of being an adult, about the uniqueness of Louisiana. But I found myself paralyzed and unable to articulate what I wanted to say. Instead, I’m just going to write little snapshots this week. Little things, little insights I want to remember. I’ll continue to post on Facebook and Instagram, but I’ll post my longer commentary here.

Last week, my sister said, “Give the house a hug for me.”

I knew what she meant. This house is a bit like the silent member of our family. And since flinging yourself against walls or floors with your arms spread wide does nothing more than bruise your shin bones, I suppose writing about it is the best version of a hug I can do.

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