it’s been a strange week. it’s been a strange few weeks.
more than ever, i’ve been mulling over how nowhere really feels like home. more than ever, i’ve been grateful for my ability to console, entertain, heal, etc. myself. more than ever, i’ve been trying to teach myself to treat my body as my home – it’s my body that contains and carries me through life, not my surroundings or even the people in them, after all.
this week i’ve been diving head-first into my past. i hadn’t meant to, but i’ve needed to do a lot of self-reflection to bring power to my statement of purpose for grad school.
this week, as a result, i’ve been listening to a lot of country music. mostly late 90s/2000s stuff with some old school country plus lady gaga’s new album throw in. y’know, the stuff i listened to the last time i felt this confident in this particular life path i want for myself.
“the house that built me” came on my shuffle. and since i’ve been thinking a lot about my past selves, i’ve been thinking a lot about my past homes. and i realized, for maybe the first time, it shouldn’t be as jarring as it is for me to go back home.
it wasn’t so much so the summers i came home after freshman and sophomore year of college. while it was sad because i missed my friends, it was like coming home.
it wasn’t until the summer after junior year, when my stuff had been moved across the hall or put in the attic and my old door was walled off, that i first felt the rootless, jarring sensation i feel now. it wasn’t as bad after senior year, when i moved back in for a while and my mom made an effort to make my new room feel like the room i’d spent nearly 10 years in.
it’s now very jarring when i go home. my “new” room is clean and white, almost clinical with its new carpet, and simultaneously too hot and too cold.
the rest of the house isn’t that much better. my mom, flexing her interior design wings for when she retires, has a new piece of furniture or a new room layout i have to watch out for nearly every time i go home. other than old pictures she still puts up that have the house as i remember it, everything about “home” seems to change every time i go there.
this past summer, i was able to go see the house in which we spent most of my childhood. call me naive, but i thought seeing it might help make me feel more grounded in my history there. that it might help me remember more about who i used to be, since my issues with self-image, self-confidence, anxiety, and depression didn’t come along until later.
it was a bust. two of my favorite rooms in the house – our glass side porch, which was closed in and our upstairs attic playroom, which was converted into a man cave – didn’t hold any of the magic i used to find there. the entire expanse of the backyard had been turned into a hedge maze that belonged on much wider land.
the black and white tiled floor of my parents’ bathroom that had one tile out of place had been replaced. there were still two twin beds in mine and my sister’s old room, but they were in the wrong place and surrounded (and over-crowded) by “antiques” that i suppose were meant to emulate medieval england.
nowhere in my hometown feels like home anymore and i can’t help but feel that hasn’t been great for me in these, the years in which i’ve lived in a different place roughly every year.
everywhere’s been sort of the same but also very different but also just a little ~off~ from being close to feeling like a home. going “home” should mediate this. it doesn’t. my parents’ house feels like everywhere i’ve lived since i’ve moved out, and none of those places feel like home.
i feel anchorless, rootless but not in a freeing way. in a helpless way. like when the tide starts coming in and you just have to go with it, have to feel it as it rips you back and forth before spitting you back out on the sand.
part of me hopes it keeps ripping, jerking, dragging and pulls me out to sea where a calmer freedom seems to be just out of reach.
maybe i don’t necessarily need a place that feels like home. maybe i can succeed in feeling at home wherever i am when i’ve made myself my home. but i think to achieve that i’m going to have to break free from the shore.
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