My happy place

As a child, growing up and hearing stories, I imagined home as the big palatial castles of princesses. In my mind, these homes were always tucked in neatly lush gardens with wonderful smelling flowers. There were bees and other insects, trees and ponds, dogs and horses. But the princess invariably was alone or had to be rescued by the prince or was unhappy for some reason. That was definition of home for me, for a very long time…

As I grew up, I never liked any of the three houses I’d lived in. They were always too tiny and nothing compared to the ones I dreamt of. I constantly remember not inviting any of my friends home because I didn’t have a perfect home…not perfect in my definition of how a home should be.

Over time, I forgot about what I called as home. Until I realized that I had started to seek homes in people. This realization unfortunately occurred when I noticed that the homes in people I had built were no longer around. The homes were shattered as people went their own ways. I would feel empty and not understand why I felt so homeless. As I recognized this pattern, I began to cut off. I would not let anyone else build their homes in me, lest it get shattered. Before it was built, I’d just walk away. I would never let people get close to me unless I wanted them to. And if people still tried to get close to me on their own will, I would just ghost on them. I was quite nasty and am not proud of it. It was as if I had built an invisible wall of protection and self-defense around me where only I could give access for entry.

However, this restriction was limited to people only. Non-human-animals were welcome with open arms. I loved that animals never broke hearts. They would build their homes in you and stay till they died. And I could do the same with them. I guess that’s how my bonds with animals were (and are) so strong.

I distinctly remember one incident a couple of years ago. There was an exam I was preparing for where I had to single the odd one out. It is rather silly, but one of the questions had both 'home' and 'house' in it. And being such a lover of English, it sort of stumped me that I had paused to think on that question. It then struck me that I’d been confusing them all along... It was that 5 year old kid’s definition of home as palaces and that teenager’s definition of home as people that I’d carried and believed all my life. And I was trying to live adult-life with the same definitions! How idiotic of me, I thought…

The more I dwelled on that thought, I began to see things differently. It is funny how a lot of things the way we see them currently, are shaped by viewpoints we held as kids. Our worlds and thoughts are shaped the way they are right now, because of a lot of things that we knowingly or unknowingly decided to believe as true when we were just children.

As I understood this, I asked myself, “What is home, actually?”. When I’m sad, depressed or upset where is it that I want to go to? When I want to feel absolutely comfortable and relaxed and do as I please where do I want to be? When I want a safe space to let my emotions and feelings out where do I want to do it? Is home just a physical space where the people I’m closest to, live? Is home the bed I go to sleep in so comfortably after a long day’s work? Don’t we go through such lengths just to get ‘home' to only feel comfortable and accepted? What is home?

Over time, I’ve modified and remodified my answer to this… Home is “You”. That is it!

It is just as simple as that. Only you live with yourself forever. Everyone dies, someday. As long as you’re alive you have yourself! You are your own comfort space. You are the only person who needs to be okay with yourself regardless of how terrible the day was. Your home is currently where you are. You carry your home with you! So…

Keep yourself beautiful. Just as you do when you seek home and comfort in others.

Keep yourself forgiving. Just as you do when you seek forgiveness in others.

Keep yourself loved. Just as you do when you love others despite their flaws and mistakes.

Keep yourself happy. Just as you do when you want to please someone and always be there.

Keep yourself accepting. Just as you do with others when you don’t judge them for their actions.

You are life. You are free. You are home.

At this point, I’d like to just add one of my favorite quotes with a slight modification.

“Home is where the heart is”. <And the heart is where you are. And you are here.>