A couple of years ago I experienced a small, mental crisis. My home of several years was boxed up and I had let go of my lease. My daughter and I were preparing to move to a new town. With my hopes high for a new beginning, I looked at this move and this charming little town as a fresh start. The perfect place for a home.
Only, there became a hold-up with the new place. Signing the new lease to cement it as mine became delayed. First by a few days, then by almost a week. We needed to be out of our old home with no place to go.
It was in that week I broke down. All my walls of strength crumbled. The stress of being homeless, even for a week, became too much to bear.
I managed to secure a place for our belongings, thanks to the kindness of friends who happened to have an empty shed on their property. The physicality of my home; the sofa, chairs, pictures, and our beds, waited out the week stacked inside this metal outbuilding.
It is rather surreal and humbling to view your entire home-life fit inside a metal-framed box.
With my possessions now secured, I needed to secure a place to land for my daughter and myself. Moving often entails many expenses and so it was with me and this move. My funds stretched to their max, I sought out options. Another friend offered her extra bedroom to us for the week. I took it! That would work.
But even with everything temporarily situated, I felt unsettled. Quite clearly, I was not settled. The reality was I had no home to go to, even for a week. This triggered anxiety I did not even know I possessed. My mind on a continuous feedback loop mourning the loss of my home.
Not the address I was moving away from. Not the structure itself. But the concept of home. A place of safety in which to land. I began a deep soul search to excavate the meaning of that word, “home”, for myself.
At the encouragement of my daughter, I sought out help and guidance. I spent one hour with my counselor on a hot summer afternoon delving into the idea of “home”.
Where is home exactly?
What does this word really mean? She asked. What creates a home? Is it four walls? Is it possible I could make a home anywhere?
She even pointed to the overstuffed armchair she sat in and asked, Is it possible to call this home?
I automatically laughed at this notion but her point stayed with me.
Home, or the concept of it, can be anywhere, anything, or anyone. Maybe “home” really is where you put your roots.
I walked away from her office that day carrying this concept with me. I continued to think about it, often.
My daughter and I did move into our new home. Try as I might, it continued to feel temporary as if we were long-term visitors. In other words, it never felt like “home”, even when I sat in my armchair.
Then he came along. Entering my life through intriguing conversations mostly messaged to each other over distance and in the quieter moments of the evening. I always knew the best way to seduce me would be to appeal to my mind. He succeeded.
On the first evening we physically met, I felt a new definition assigned to the word “home”.
I caught sight of him through the restaurant window as I walked up the cement pathway to the entrance.
I could turn back, I thought.
This might be the craziest thing I have done and yet my feet kept walking until they planted me in front of him at the table.
That was it. That was the hardest part. From there forward everything became familiar; his eyes recognized mine, his amicable conversation was easy as if we were picking up where we last left off, and when he took my hand holding it in his, I felt at peace. At home.
I felt a safety. A sense that everything I needed in the world was right there. This man next to me felt like home.
Since then, he and I began creating a physical home together. Merging my furniture and his into a symbiotic and comfortable space. We simultaneously began creating a life together. One filled with shared experiences, building a foundation of memories.
My understanding of the word home has changed since that anxiety-filled week a couple of years back. Home, or the concept of it, can be anywhere, anything, or anyone. A home is wherever you make it, and who you make it with. Even if it is an armchair.
Maybe “home” really is where you put your roots.
Home does not always mean a place.
If we decide to sail off into the sunset on a sailboat, then we would be home in a floating tiny house.
If we travel nomadically or ground our roots firmly in one place, we will be home. We will be home because we will be together and that is all I know I need.
So, when my daughter bounds through the front door I greet her with, Happy you are home, meaning I am happy she is back with me.
A home may require planting yourself in one spot. Be it a house with a roof, a room with four walls, or yes, even an armchair with throw pillows. It may meet your basic needs providing you with food, water, and shelter. Yet home holds a deeper meaning for me. I now know, it is the people I hold dearest to my heart whom I call home. It is the feeling that engulfs me when I embrace them. And I carry it with me wherever I go.
MaryRose is a writer/speaker/advocate living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest between mountains and water; she is a traveler, massage therapist, a vegetarian foodie, and mom to two amazing grown kids. She is active in a local PFLAG chapter and works for social justice with the LGBTQ+ community.
Contact her at MaryRoseDentonWriter, @maryrosedentonauthor on FaceBook, or on Twitter.
She believes in Meraki, which is what happens when you leave a piece of yourself, your soul, creativity, or love, in your work. When you love doing something, anything, so much that you put something of yourself into it.