Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of “home” but not necessarily the physical place where I putter round in the kitchen to prepare a meal, or put my head on the pillow at night to rest, or even sit and soak up the cool air conditioning with a solid roof above me. Please don’t misunderstand, I truly do appreciate those things.. especially since those things once taken for granted have taken on a greater sense of fragility over the last couple of years.
But that isn’t the spot where my thoughts have tended to land. Lately, they have skidded well beneath the surface of what most people see — below the scabs and scars that I wear because of the events in my life. I am not whining, I know we all are all broken in some way. We all have scabs and scars and we all have challenges that life deals to us all. I’m not seeking pity nor am I looking for a white knight on his trusty steed. I’ve just had to do a lot of soul-searching and these are some of my discoveries.
Okay, where were we? Oh yeah.. I was talking about home. That feeling behind the word. Those emotions stirred by the four letter word that we so often take for granted and use carelessly in conversation. Yanno what I mean?? Yeah, that’s it. Home.
Go ahead, say it. Hear it in your head. Give it a moment. Breathe it in and out. HOME.
For many years, I have felt “home”less. That is, not without a place to live, but a place to just feel safe and whole, respected and with a sense of belonging. And over those said years, I’ve done an awful lot of introspection. Chest deep in therapy and sometimes bogged down in the fog of my mind’s own questions — diligently seeking to better understand the dysfunctional side of me. Learning to accept my flaws as well as take pride in the good things about me. Trying to determine who I see when I look in the mirror and not just the projection of other people’s opinions. The combination of a young girl, an awkward teenager and a painfully insecure woman locked down deep inside. Inside my mind, my soul, my heart and my body probably since the day I was born. Looking for home in the eyes of the aging woman staring back at me. Home. Somewhere I’m not quite sure I’d ever been.
Not that it’s ever that simple but I believe my marriage failed because I settled for something that felt like what I imagined home to be. I convinced myself that it was home. However, it takes two people working hard together for a marriage to work and two people not working hard enough for it to fail. And so I questioned what home really meant when it fell irreparably apart. And after it fell apart, I wondered if I would ever come to know that sense of being at home with any certainty. But before I could ever have it, I had to truly understand it and so this is what came from the brainspin.
Home is comfort, trust, joy, passion and compassion. It is creativity, humor, tenderness, openness and affection. It is protection, friendship, honesty and respect. It is the sometimes shallow reflection as well as the deep pools of substance. It is having the ability to embrace the flaws instead of chasing unattainable perfection. Home is being okay with the scabs of the fresher wounds and accepting the scars from the wounds that have healed. But most importantly, home is where I feel safe and valued in spite of uncertainty and fear. And at long last, I can feel at home. Because home lives inside of me.