Friday, October 17, 2014

Home Is Where the Heart Is

After a long hiatus, it's about time I publish something I've written. On that note, how do I properly capitalize this title anyways?

One of the more interesting things I've tested over the past year is the idea of home. What it is, where it can be found, its importance to me. The past year has flipped my idea of home on its head and challenged my understanding of what this word and the oft-quipped saying really mean.

A brief history of my relationship with the word brings me first to Maryland, then Virginia, where I spent my childhood. The trees and rolling hills, beautiful autumns and humid summers, fireflies alighting at night, times spent outside with friends. Home was a familiar place, geographically known, with parameters measured in comfort and ease. I even had "Second Home," Miami, where I visited extended family and had been born.

I moved to Florida and began high school in a foreign place where people wore jeans in the absolutely sticky humidity. I had viewed Miami as a sort of home, so Florida wasn't alien, but having to actually root in Florida proved more jarring than expected. It's as if to build up the shaky internal bindings around my self, I looked to external stability, in particular familiarity with the land and geography, for strength. The loss of my stability, among other things in a chaotic adolescence, was painful, and I spent years "hating" Florida without really understanding exactly why. I still don't, but the process moves gradually.

Home for me was external stability to orient towards in a chaotic inner landscape. Home was land containing beauty that filled my soul and let me rest a bit outside of my million-mile-an-hour mind. Home, at some level, was safety and comfort in a world that felt scary.

How does one define 'home' when wings are spread, a search begins, and the internal is more stable than the external? Maybe home begins internally, where heart meets soul in deep places. We are not the beginning and end, but maybe Home flows outward, and we can start there.

As I'm preparing for my fifth address this calendar year, it gives me peace to center in the deep places. For the girl who found (and still finds) transition jarring, who takes comfort in familiar geography and traversing streets known to her feet, I still find it a bit wild that I've spent so much time moving, stepping into the things I both dreamed of and feared.

I look forward to the day when home becomes more external again as the constant 'hellos' and 'goodbyes' are tiring. Until then, however, my home is where my heart is; I carry it with me.

My friend and I pondering the concept of 'home.'
He's pretty settled; I'm a bit envious.

Beaches and expressive skies.

 A sunset in Florida's hill country. The sunsets here can be pretty stunning.

Beer flows aplenty in so-called Beer City, USA.

My next move is anticipated to be Asheville, NC for massage therapy school.
I know I love living near mountains, now to experiment with living in the mountains.