“So hey, Brady. I don’t like the holidays, not simply because I don’t believe in them, but also because if I were to go home, well, it comes at a cost. Give me some advice, not that I’ll take it.”
So, yeah… the idea of home, and the idea of the holidays as a reminder of a home to come back to, troubles many people. It makes sense that coming home is stressful to many people because there are many expectations and nuances of what home should be like. As I like to think of it, the act of coming home, then, is one of meeting those expectations and embracing the complicated realities of what home is.
Home should be the place that we return to with happiness, however it can also be the place we want to escape from to be our own entity and leave our own sadness.
Home, for some, has no anchor of a house, of a family, or any sense of shelter. In that absence, home is wanted while it is not found.
Home can be a celebration of the lives and accomplishments of those housed therein, with refrigerator doors screaming earnest memories. It may also be a place of unacknowledged mourning of those that are no longer living.
Home might be that special space that makes you feel part of a family, feel loved, yet it can be a reminder that to be part of that family, you can’t be yourself.
Home can also be that shapelessly hollow emotion of “good,” as much as it can be the placeholder for a deceptively cold veneer of niceness.
Home could be a vigilant fire, ever warming those near the flames, as shelter from the cold. That same fire can engulf and burn, leaving behind little to be recognized.
At least from where I write, the idea of home itself often gets in the way of fully living in and loving our homes. However, the cost of going home, of meeting the realities of what your home is and how it impacts you needn’t cost you your wellbeing, sanity, or integrity. If I were to give you any advice, or any direction, it would be to stay where you do feel whole, sane, and most yourself, because that is home. The cost of going home needn’t be your safety, because even though the expectation that home is the safest place in the world exists, what actually exists may differ.
In an altogether different frame of mind, I personally like the idea of feeling at home in any situation, in any context, and with anyone. That home feeling, of belonging, of safety, of being wanted, could arise anywhere, and I like to imagine it does. Imagining a world where everyone feels safe, blanketed in acceptance, celebrated for who we are rather than how others want us to be, and at home, warms me.
(Originally written January 2, 2013)