“I wanna go home.” That’s what he said. I felt my head turn and look at the screen as he said that. My home had been in so many worlds, I spin at the memories.
I grew up in a home with gold and brown shag carpeting, crawling down a long hallway to a room with brown cork and light grass wall coverings and a brown vinyl sofa in the living room, mirrored tiles in the dining room, and a kitchen filled with cast iron. She changed everything constantly so it never looked the same. Everything was always being remodeled. My room was a collage of photos and words – my sanctuary, my constant. She changed the locks when I left at seventeen. I had to ask permission after that. There was no sanctuary – even though my father had bought it, it now belonged to my mother and her husband. It was not home. It was barely recognizable.
For the next fifteen years, I wandered. Moved a million times. Portland, Denver, Seattle, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and back to Portland. Solo, roommates, married, and solo again. I bring my books and my thoughts wherever I go.
Over the past 5 years since I returned to this town where I was born, I have felt its alternate push and pull. I’ve hated yet loved its sanctuary. There are things I am madly in love with but that drive me crazy – my evolving neighborhood, my colorful friendships, my experiments as an entrepreneur. And the things that still worry me – taking care of a home without anyone else, being in a neighborhood where I’ve felt scared to fall asleep some nights. And I’ll admit it – I want a home with my best friend, my partner. I have my garden, I have my dog, but I’m still sleeping next to an empty pillow.
Earlier this year, I just finally threw in the towel. Too many times missing the mark, I suppose. I just got tired, and stopped looking. Turned inwards. Wrote more, gardened more, thought more. Took more time with my friends. Spent more quiet days. Rode more miles. Breathed a little deeper. Allowed myself to see the sun. Stopped worrying so much. Reached out a little more.
I found home in the eyes of every friend who came my way. Riding in cars or in a little cafe or wandering through the park or sipping cocktails and laughing or relaxing on the front porch or talking on the phone on a Sunday morning. I’ve been touched in such a way that I know sanctuary is in the people I love. I left the visions and traditions of what family and home ‘should’ look like, and allowed myself to lean back in the arms of everyone, to be vulnerable, to trust more and judge less, and be open to whatever home may look like in the long run.
There are places I want to go. There are journeys I want to take. There is a world that awaits. There is a simple life I want to share and an idea I’ve had in my mind about what beauty is in my world. My hand is outstretched. Home is not where you live but where they understand you. ~Christian Morgenstern
Where thou art – that – is Home. ~Emily Dickinson
Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms. ~William J. Bennett
I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world. ~George Washington
Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other…It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule. ~Frederick W. Robertson