Home. Where Is It? What Does It Mean?
I was looking for it in Buddhism, yoga and meditation. I was looking for it in Belgian chocolate, Argentinian wine, and Colombian coffee. I was looking for it in Dutch, Australian and Indian men.
I have always been jealous of people who actually had a “home.” As in a place where you know you’re always welcome. There will be shelter, protection, delicious food, warm and cozy blankets. There will be love, acceptance, food for thought, a special safe place for you to come and be you.
Usually this kind of home is our parents’ place, our city, our country we were born into or have spent significant time in. It holds all childhood memories, all the smells and noises, everything that reminds us of those peaceful, pleasant moments that make our heart melt. You know your mom will cook that special meal, you’ll cozy up in your favorite couch and watch some good movies or read a great book. This is the place where we come for Christmas and Thanksgiving. This is the place where we really feel “at home.”
Later on in life we set up our own homes, our own nests. Where now our children hopefully will be feeling this “home.” Where we as parents serve as a symbol of safety, acceptance and feeling good.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen to all of us. Not everyone has such a perfect “home” but I feel like most of us do have some sort of a “home town” or a home place where we come back to and feel “at home.” The place we miss and come back to. The country we’re proud of. A place where we can always come back to in our memories or in real life.
It gives us a place of belonging.
I belong here.
I come from here.
These are my roots.
This is where my ancestry is. There is a piece of me in every corner, every particle and everyone around. This is my culture. These are my people. This is an essential part of me. This is what made me — me.
And that feeling gives us stability. A sense that no matter what happens we have that one place we can always come back and start fresh. We can move into our parents’ garage, our mom’s attic, our own room! It grounds us and gives us a sense of safety even way into adulthood.
I never had a home like this
I lost that “home” at 17. In fact, I lost that place ever since my mother passed away when I was 8 years old.
I wonder what is the ratio of the “having a home” feeling is actually attributed to our parents, our land and country, ancestry and culture. I was only a child when my mother passed away but something essential was taken from me. The security and the safety of “it will all be okay” was cut off. My mother was no longer there. I was left with an older sister and an emotionally unavailable father. Since then a feeling of complete loneliness and abandonment has haunted me into adulthood. To make matters worse, my father married a woman who became the evil step-mother and I had to leave “home” (which wasn’t a home anymore for many years) at 18 in order to physically and emotionally protect myself from abuse.
Sometimes I didn’t have a place to sleep. Sometimes I slept at my boyfriend’s. I moved in with my aunt who didn’t have children and we both were comforted by a lovely cat. Eventually I lived by myself at 19 and loved every bit of it. It was challenging but I enjoyed the freedom.
These experiences helped me grow a thick skin. Build tall walls. Always be cautious and not trust anyone. Closed. Numb. Overprotective.
It was helpful to get me where I needed to go making tough decisions along the way, taking care of myself and being self-sufficient but counterproductive in the long run.
It’s fascinating to think about the fact that when basic safety and survival is taken away from us at such an early age, this connection is lost forever. Or so it seems.
Until we rebuilt it yourself within ourselves. That usually takes years of dark tunnels, deep revelations and a lot of reconnecting with our inner power. Perhaps this is the reason why I was on a quest to find myself, find my home, find my true north all these years.
If my true north is not “at home,” where is it?
Sometimes the opposite is true as well. There are people who are deeply connected to an actual home, parents, culture and country but are juvenile, naive and kind of lost. There are so many layers and faucets to tackling this issue of maturity, self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The ability to live a great life, to know who we really are and be honest with ourselves doesn’t necessarily lie in a stable foundation and the security and safety of having a “home.” It can be a tremendous help and a great foundation but it is not everything.
For me not only there was no physical home no go back to, look forward to or be safe in, there was also no city, country or culture to really identify with. Not only I hated my teenage years and couldn’t wait to get out of the misery of my family situation of constant emotional abuse, I was also craving to get out of the misery of my own city and of my own country.
When I went to America as a high-school exchange student to live and study for a year, I was amazed by the patriotism of Americans. There is a flag at every house. Americans are proud to be Americans. I’ve never felt that. Many nations carry their country’s badge with confidence and enthusiasm. If you are one of them, you are lucky.
I have never felt proud of my country, my people and my culture. I don’t know what it means. I can’t feel it. It is quite sad.
Of course, there are parts of my culture and people that I love. But I never identified with them.
I often think about the fact that if I had the same miserable family situation but let’s say in America or in the Netherlands, would I be still proud of where I come from? Would I make something of myself and stay in my own country? Perhaps yes. You can still have a fucked up family situation and be a proud American, build a career and have a loving family. There are plenty of real examples.
My personal story includes a complete rejection and renunciation of my own roots.
And that’s my path to walk and heal, I suppose. To come to peace with it. To accept it as part of who I am, with the bad and the ugly. I still tell everyone I am from Moldova. I have no issue with that. In fact, I am proud to come from a country no one has ever heard of and achieve the success I achieved.
There are plenty of people from Moldova who would disagree completely or identify only partially. There are plenty of Moldovans I know who love our home country, identify deeply with the traditions and culture, love coming home every year.
I remember being in a mini-van going to a meeting while a teenager and repeating to myself
“I will get out of this. I will get out of this. I will break free.”
Deep in my core I knew a different life is meant for me. A life of freedom and prosperity. As a child I had a strong sense of identity and strong survival instincts. Most adults have always tried to control, influence or manipulate me to do what they think is right. I was constantly harassed and emotionally abused by my father, step-mother, my teachers, and other people around. Everyone had a say in what I should do, say, and wear and how I should live my life. I remember feeling constant rebellion inside. Because I knew what I wanted and no one would understand that, encourage that or simply accept me for being me. My acne problem developed exactly at that age as well.
I was smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, skipping school, being late coming home (no one asked whether I, in fact, wanted to return home. I never did.) The streets were a much better place for me to express who I was, to be free and do what I wanted.
I was searching for love, validation, acceptance and understanding anywhere I could. Like most teenager, I found it in boys, sex and rock’n’roll. I wish I had found it in books but I was too extravert and ambitious for that.
The fact that I was disobedient pissed adults off. Of course it did. Unaware humans who are detached from themselves want to control others and their easiest targets are children. It’s easy to look down on a child and tell him what to do because apparently, the fact that adults lived longer makes them experts at life. Duh.
The world is full of grown-up people who don’t know who they are. They walk around carrying their heads on their bodies completely unaware of their own wounds, flaws and without a single thought of the fact that maybe no one owes them anything and they are responsible for their own lives.
These are the most adults who become parents. They are also the adults who run companies and countries. It’s all quite f*cked up if you ask me. And I can see it so clearly when I come back home to Moldova. I realize that there are places far worse than this peaceful, beautiful little Eastern European country with amazing wine, delicious cuisine and fertile land. People live in peace. People are surviving and doing the best they can.
It’s been 11 years since I left home and lived abroad. I’ve travelled the world and lived in Asia, North & South America, Australia and Europe. I went through a period of deep exploration and self-healing. I found myself and who I am as an individual and as a woman. I met a great man who I deeply love and whose wife I am proud to be. I carry his child in my womb now.
I found my home
Because my home was taken away from me, I had to find it on my own. I knew it does exist in Mexico, Thailand or Spain.
But where is it? I was looking for it in Buddhism, yoga and meditation. I was looking for it in Belgian chocolate, Argentinian wine, and Colombian coffee. I was looking for it in Dutch, Australian and Indian men. (I did find a little bit of my home in one Australian man after all ❤)
I was looking for it in fake and real orgasms, blowjobs and ecstatic sex experiences. I was looking for it in drugs and super fast midnight motorbike rides. I was looking for it in all personal growth and relationship books I could find.
Where is it? Where is my home?
After years of searching I realized that home is in emotional freedom from men, external influences and other people. Home is in taking full responsibility for my life, my actions and thoughts. Home is in constant self-awareness.
Home is understanding that no one can give me the love, the safety, the freedom and the happiness I seek. Not my husband, not my children, not my family, not my country, not my government. NO ONE AND NO THING AND NO PLACE CAN GIVE ME MY HOME.
We do have the need to belong, be loved and love. Give and receive. Be part of something bigger than us. Contribute. Help others.
But all this is empty and meaningless unless I know my home and can always get back to it. My community can collapse, my family can get into an accident, my contributions can vanish, my country can disappear. I don’t have to follow them. I don’t have to collapse and break apart. I know I will fall into emotional storms if shit goes down but I also know I will be okay.
So that is what and where my home is.
My home is me.
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