Write a piece in which you explain what the phrase “you are home” means to you —
HOME IS NOT A PLACE.
I don’t feel like I belong anywhere, really. I’ve always had this feeling of being on the outside. Even with my close group of friends from elementary school, it seems like I’m the other or the extra – that everyone is closer to each other than to me.
I didn’t fit in with any team I’d ever been on. The girls were always much better than me (at whatever we were playing), much richer than me, bigger partiers than me. I was an afterthought.
Even at work, I wouldn’t walk into the break room if I heard people in there. For years. It didn’t feel like I worked at this office, even though I do.
Didn’t feel like I could drink the coffee or use the fridge. They weren’t mine to use; I wasn’t really part of this.
When I go home to my childhood house, I don’t feel at home. I don’t live there anymore. But I grew up there, and I love it, so at the same time Dallas doesn’t feel like home either.
I don’t feel like I live anywhere.
I get anxious with any new thing, and I’ve talked myself out of parties, restaurants, and going into stores because I didn’t know what it was like inside.
I’ve said ‘no’ a lot and cancelled at lot of plans because I don’t know what it would be like to see it through. I can’t imagine myself anywhere if I’ve never been. And then I can’t hope to prepare for the bigger sense of un-belonging that comes with feeling out of place somewhere new. To prepare to stand in the corner or not talk to anyone, to prepare to feel out of place, to not know where things are.
Ironically, I have a framed picture of my name that says it means “belonging to” in Greek.
It gets worse when I travel. So much worse. You’re never from the country you travel to. Traveling is never going home; it’s exploring. I don’t feel like I have that right to explore as an American. I don’t think anyone wants me in their country.
The last time I flew somewhere I felt like I’d die before I got there. Amsterdam. I don’t know that airport, I can’t imagine the plane landing, can’t imagine getting my bags, can’t imagine getting to my hotel. Usually with this much uncertainty, I’d bail.. but I paid for that trip. I had to go. I told Christopher I’d probably die before I got there. I just had a feeling. Didn’t know how. But I knew I’d die before this trip. I would not make it. Couldn’t make it. I could not see it. Could not believe it.
I feel like that quite a lot. I can’t imagine being somewhere new, because I can’t imagine I belong somewhere new. I barely belong here. It feels so incredibly uncertain, that I’m sure it won’t happen. Can’t happen.
The words ‘you are home’ remind me that I’m a person of this world. I have just as much right to exist as anyone else because I do exist. That’s enough permission. I belong simply because I am already here. This whole world is home. Mother Earth is where we all belong. I have these words on a bracelet that my best made me before my trip to Amsterdam. I wore it every day there. I wear it almost every day here.
*Being comfortable with who I am would go a long way to feeling comfortable regardless of where I am. That will come with time. I’ve always been unsure and anxious. I will say this though, when you don’t feel at home in your own body, other people make it easier. Your self should be home, but community is a close second. I’d honestly never have gone to Amsterdam, knowing I would die if it weren’t for the friends I was going with. They made me feel safe. Like I could chance it.
I will say one more thing about people though.. person, about Christopher. He is the closest thing I have. We’ve done new things this year that I’d never dreamed of doing. I am always anxious, and I almost always cry on our way out or on our way home from new things from the sheer stress, but we go. We went to a concert the other day and I was such a mopey bum for about an hour because I didn’t know what food would be there and I didn’t know where the bathroom was. I was so nervous. I had a wonderful time though.
I wrote this poem for him a long time ago and it is still on our fridge as I write this. Maybe I should have a bracelet that says ‘Christopher’, because I do not think home will be a place or my own body any time soon.
PS – I love my family and I still talk to all my friends from high school. I love my parent’s house and my grandparent’s house. I love going home and hanging out and eating at all the places I grew up with. It’s different every time I go back though. That’s hard. It’s never the same and it used to be so different. No one makes me feel like I don’t belong. I just feel like that. I don’t mean to say that I have friends who isolate me or don’t help me through things. I love them all – I just need to love myself.
PPS – The other way I was going to take this was Middle Earth. Lord of the Rings truly is home for me. It’s not a real place, but my heart is in that story and that is my safety as well. I just wish it were real.