The other night I was coming back from a long day of job hunting in the City. I passed by a house that had the lights on and the curtains open, and through the window I saw some bookshelves.
I must have been exhausted, but for some reason the sight of that bit of room gave me this emotional jolt of sadness. In that moment all I wanted in the world was a place of my own. A place to put my books up on the shelves.
I think the hardest part of this job hunt, or at least one of the harder parts, is that I don’t have my own place. I’m extremely grateful to have a place to stay, and I have my own room at my cousins’ which is amazing. They’ve been super welcoming and I want to visit and see them once I move out. And I don’t mind babysitting, the kids are great.
But nothing can replace the feeling of home and comfort when you have your own place.
As a kid, it’s easy. Your home is where your stuff is. Growing up, I had 2 homes, my mom’s and my dad’s, though most of my stuff and my time was at my mom’s. But if I count the emotional side of “home,” a place of memories and family and that feeling, it would include my grandparents’ house in Ohio. I was there all the time, and we had family dinners every week. They lived there my whole life until I was in college when they moved to assisted living. That, to me, was home. But my bedroom at my mom’s house was where I could be myself all by myself, where all my books lived on overstuffed shelves, where I could relax and not have to live up to anyone’s expectations. That, too, was home.
But college taught me that you don’t need all of your things, or a house, or even your family to make a home. you just need a little space to call your own.
It’s hard, though. To be a guest in someone’s home. Like I said, they’re 100% welcoming, and I know I’m lucky, but I’m also a big old ball of anxiety. I’m unfailing polite, so I don’t want to intrude or ask too much. I stick to my room, I try not to eat too much food or take up too much space. And I came with only 2 suitcases, so I don’t have the comforts of a home beyond my clothes and one or two personal items.
After a long day, all I want is a place to relax. To sit and be me. A place that’s mine, where I call the shots and don’t have to worry about keeping it for another person or tiptoe around. I think everyone wants that.
Back home in Ohio, I have about 15 or so boxes of books. One day I want to find a home of my own where I can unpack all of them. That’s when I’ll know that I’m settled. I also have some artwork I inherited from my grandparents, favorite pieces that remind me of that home. Until then, until I can be somewhere with those memories and that connection and that feeling, all I need is a little space to just breath and be me.
Because while home is your stuff, and home is the people you love, home is really where you get to be you.