Sometimes ‘home’ is a more complicated concept than it appears to be.
It seems simple enough. Home is where you lay your head at night, right?
Having a roof over one’s head is something to be thankful for, of course. It is a glorious thing to have, but sometimes that roof doesn’t feel like home. It may feel like routine, or convenience, or the best or only option at the time, but not quite like home.
I’ve lived in the same apartment for years. My son has spent most of his time here. Even before his father and I split, this place didn’t quite feel like home. Sometimes I’d think it was because I don’t like the layout of the apartment, or that I can’t change some of the features that I’d change if it were truly mine. Maybe it was the environment itself, or that I knew deep down that I wouldn’t have roots in this place. But then, I started to wonder if that was truly it.
What if home isn’t a place outside of ourselves?
I didn’t feel at home in my own body for as long as I can remember. Sometimes the feeling of unease and not-belonging came from external things, like clothing or hairstyles. There were other times where it was more about what I saw in the mirror, and the lack of self worth and confidence. I put myself through a lot on both fronts, with trying to fit in and trying to make myself smaller. It didn’t matter what I did, though. Nothing seemed to be enough.
Skinny, but not skinny enough.
Made up, but not pretty enough.
Athletic, but not strong enough.
Something was always missing. Even when I reached milestones that I set for myself, and gained what I thought I had wanted, there was a hole that kept me from feeling satisfied. There were moments in my life where I looked around and wondered why, because everything seemed to be going according to plan; I got married, I started a family, I had a nice vehicle. While things weren’t perfect, because nothing truly is, things were overall good.
I didn’t feel at home. Not in my body, not in my apartment, not in my bed, or my marriage. I didn’t understand it, and more often than not I shamed myself for not simply being grateful for all that I had. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful, but the craving for more never really went away.
Well if you missed it, I separated from my husband and figured out I was gay.
That realization was the lightbulb I had been waiting for, the ah-hah moment, the final puzzle piece. Suddenly, it made sense why I didn’t feel complete, or at home, or at all myself no matter how hard I tried to just be. I couldn’t just be, because I didn’t know how to be me. Not then, not yet.
When I’m asked if coming out was hard to come out, I say no. Yes, I was lucky to be well received and surrounded by love, but it’s more than that. I felt the most like myself that I had ever felt, and since that day I’ve only come more into who I really am.
I’m standing proud.
The work isn’t done yet. Knowing this, and discovering other things about myself has started me on the path of healing. While I still have work to do to end the internal war, there has at least been a ceasefire. It’s as close to home as I’ve ever felt. Knowing more of myself, and radically accepting myself for who I am and where I am has brought me here.