I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. I could make excuses about how busy life has been and how there’s never enough time, but that’s not really true. The truth is that I needed a little break. I needed to get outside of my head for a few days and just be. I needed some time not to think.
Surprisingly, it helped. Things aren’t necessarily better, but certainly they aren’t worse, and for the time being that’s enough to be grateful for.
I have felt more like myself the past week than I have for quite some time. I have woken up each morning and felt something close to remembrance. “Oh right,” I’ve thought. “That’s who I am.” And who I am is someone joyful, and loving, and loved.
I am someone who knows how to be happy, even when I think I’ve forgotten. I am someone who doesn’t give up, even when I think I have. I am someone who takes more and more of the world into my ravenous heart and delights in the way it becomes laughter. I am someone who laughs, even when I don’t expect to.
All of my life, I have found my way home. I have traveled all over the world. I have taken giant leaps. I have stepped bravely outside of my comfort zone. I have gotten lost more times than I’d care to admit. But I’ve always returned to something familiar. I’ve always come back to the people and places I love.
I remember the day we left my childhood home for the last time. I remember walking through the empty rooms trying to say goodbye. I wanted to feel sad, but didn’t. I wanted to feel nostalgic and sentimental like they did in the movies, but I didn’t feel anything. I was just ready to go.
It wasn’t until days later that it hit me. I took out my phone and saw the entry “home.” I realized that I’d never have that again, at least not in the same way. My family members were all separate entries now. It was the only way to reach them. I opened “home” and pressed the delete button. And just like that, it was gone.
Four years ago, my friend and I bought a house together, and while there were many reasons why, the most essential for me was my embarrassing need to have a place that felt like home. A real home. More than the series of apartments I lived in that always felt uncertain and finite. I needed to have a place that belonged to me. I needed to have a place where I belonged.
It is part of the reason I cling so tightly to my childhood friends. Being with them is another form of remembrance. It is returning to a place that feels familiar, no matter where we are. Laughing with them is a way of coming back. Loving them is a way of belonging. When we hug, I find home inside their arms.
But there is another form of home that it’s taken me 27 years to discover, that I’ve only just begun to recognize in this past week away from writing. It is the home that exists inside of me – not just the memories of past homes, but the home that is the girl I have always been, and will always return to. It is the joyful, loving, loved person I sometimes forget I know. But she is always there, waiting. And somehow, I always find my way back to her.
And it is an amazing thing, I must say, to wake up one morning and realize that what you thought you lost, what you’ve spent so many years searching for, has been inside you all along. It is an amazing thing to carry home with you. It opens so many doors.