Where Is Home?
Is it where you grew up?
Where your family resides?
Where you’ve lived the longest?
Where you currently lay your head every night?
Where is home?
This is something I have been asking myself lately.
I’m turning 30 in about 7 months and I have never felt so lost as to who I am and what I want out of life, and this has left me feeling a bit alone. And the ghost of alone-ness lingering about has me questioning where I belong and asking myself “where is home?”
I was born and raised in DC and for most of my life that is all I knew. I’ve never really been outside of the DC area, with the exception of one summer when I was about 8 years old and I spent the whole summer with my aunt whose husband was stationed in Kansas. Then, I went to undergrad about 3 hours away from DC (if that counts). Growing up, I’ve always dreamed of traveling the world and living in different cities before I “settled down”. Since I’ve often felt out of place inside the home I grew up in, my daydreams became my home. My fantasies, books, music, and writing spaces were my safety nets that got me through adolescence and young adulthood. By the time I graduated undergrad with a degree in Psychology, I had no clue what I wanted to do. So I moved back to the home I grew up in, all the while fantasizing about a new place I wanted to call home. At the time, New York, San Francisco, and Toronto were consistent destination choices. Several months later, I decided to move to NYC. A few months after that, Brooklyn was my new home.
Six years later, I’m still in NYC. It could be easily assumed that life in the Big Apple has been great. However, now that I reflect on it, it was my choice to finally decide on something independent of others expectations and desires for me,that was great. And it was the energy I felt when I moved to NY, which was birthed through my decision to move that was great. I felt free, independent, happy, and like I could finally live a life for me, on my terms. Many have said, they haven’t seen me as happy in a while… and I will admit, they were right. I haven’t been as happy and free. That feeling eventually wore off.
While most people said I was brave for up and moving to a place where I knew no one and where I had no job or plan, I didn’t feel brave because I wasn’t scared. It was an easy transition that I felt was necessary for me to finally breathe.
I fell in love with my apartment (which I still reside in 6 years later) and it instantly became my new home. I still feel so at home inside of my little Brooklyn apartment. I feel safe, comfortable, and free to be all shades of me. Part of me still feels like NY is my home, while most of me feels out of place. And again, it has me wondering “where is home?”
When I sit and really reflect on it, I’ve come to realize that it’s me that’s not at home within myself. I’m not completely comfortable with who I am yet. Perhaps because I do not really know who I am. Or I don’t fully embrace who I presently am. In either case, regardless of where I move or what occupation I change to, if I’m not comfortable with the person I am, I will continue to feel out of place, eventually. Realizing how much effort I’ve put on external things (i.e. moving, going to grad school, and mending old friendships) and how very little I’ve done internally, leaves me feeling……I’m not sure there are words to describe it. Perhaps disappointed, saddened, hurt, and even scared of the realization that I have so much internal work to do. All of the work and things I’ve done since moving to NYC in 2007, which I thought was for the best, have actually pushed me farther away from many of the personal goals I’d had upon moving. They have made me more of a prisoner inside myself. So, I suppose the real question is: How do I release myself from myself while truly opening up my heart, mind, and soul to embrace the present me and truly live comfortably and freely within myself and authentically outside myself (that’s a loaded question, eh?)
Where is home?
While DC will always be the home city I grew up in and a place I can always go back to. Home is wherever you choose it to be. For me, home lies within me. When I’m comfortable with who I am and am authentic in all I do, I can ultimately feel at home anywhere I am.
I hope wherever you are during the holiday season, you feel at home.
Happy Holidays with love, hot caramel mocha, and sweet potato pie,