A friend once encouraged me to write about moving to Detroit. To share my story as a white woman from Macomb County choosing to move into the city. To write about the tension of most of most of my family spending their entire lives leaving, while I am the first to move back in. To dispel the stereotypes and write about what it is really like. Because when you grow up in a suburb of Detroit, the city is one living myth, a dark place you are raised and told to never go to.
I took my friends advice and wrote stories of my choice to move to Detroit. Those words came back to me the other day when I met a woman from Macomb County too who also wants to live in Detroit. She asked me to meet for coffee. She described telling her family the decision like ripping off a bandaid. They will question it. She will navigate her own tension with her family history, or perhaps more simply embrace it.
I hosted my family from Macomb for the first time last weekend to our house in Detroit. They navigated the closed down freeways, and questions on safest streets to park on, but they all arrived for our wedding shower. For the first time in a very long time, all sides of our extended family were here. My detroit family. My suburban family. My new family. My aunt had not seen my mother in fifteen years and my mom cried at the sight of her, telling each other almost in the only words they could find for the moment, how each looked the same.
Mom had last saw this aunt when she dropped me off to stand in that cousins wedding, and since the divorce, she didn’t really keep in touch with my dad’s sisters. She couldn’t. That was the last time they had seen one another.
“You look the same,” she said.
“No, you look the same,” I heard.
And something about that moment stuck with me. Something about this woman asking me to share. Something that is about my need to share, to find out why we are so separated here in our place and our time, and to seek the challenge of coming back to realize we are all sometimes still the same.