You Look the Same

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. 

How to Get Back Into Writing After Not Writing For A While

It’s the same as getting back into any diet or routine. 

First you your brain feels bloated, heavy, foggy and slowed down from the excess thoughts hanging around.

Then you feel guilty. But not guilty enough yet. Just one more day, hour, or sip of this fruity drink before you start all over again at some day that let’s be honest is not going to be today. 

Next, you start to remember and romanticize the past. You look at the pages one night before going to bed. You can see how those pages were once so beautiful. You looked so damn good back then. Maybe you were once good at this writing thing. You start to wonder: Is it possible? To be that person again?

Finally, one morning, you begin. You start slow.

A few lines you overheard at a coffee shop come back to you. A story pulls back up into view. The moves begin to feel like riding a bicycle. The wheels move slow, stuck in a muddy road, but they are there. Your feet can find the pedals and placement.

Then, the next day, it’s just a few more minutes and a few more words on the page. The next day repeats. You’re waking into a routine. Once you keep going enough it begins to fill you like a force you couldn’t believe you forgot. It’s like hitting the first mile on a run again. You can see yourself turning a corner. 

This is how I feel after a week of a bad sinus infection, pressure in the head fogging my mind, and a month of work that took a lot of energy from me. It’s back to the page. It’s back to any good routine you need that is healthy for you: meditation, diet, art, or passion projects. 

I’m horrible at maintaining good routines. I’m constantly trying new things, new ideas, and falling off the wagon of discipline. That sometimes is life.

Your not always going to be perfect, but it is always going to be just fine.

Here’s to going back to whatever it is you need to refresh you again as you head into your new week.

Overheard in Upnorth Michigan


This room smells like musk. Would you like some febreeze for it? dad asks. 

This place hasn’t been renovated since 1980. That’s its charm.

Yes, we make all the wine right here.

I heard the biggest gossip of the year. One restaurant bought the other one out (there are only three in town). That is good news!

I had one wine cooler yesterday, she said. I had three or four beers, her husband replied. I did pretty good! 

The water is very high this year. 

The trip to the island is a bucket list thing.

All there is to do here is eat.

Our fireworks show lasted 90 minutes. 

I don’t remember a group of them sweeping up the mess after the show last year.

I hope it rains and I get a flat tire tomorrow on my way home, so I don’t have to go there. 

Happy 4th, I say.  Well, I’m still here, she says in response.