A photo by Ben Kerckx of three wooden heart ornaments hanging in a row.
Everyday Lifestyle, Poetry

Concepts of Home

During my life thus far, I’ve lived in at least 10 different places. Half of them were apartments I’ve rented, and the other half were family houses (parents/grandparents). Some of these homes hold the fondest, most deeply held memories of love I’ve ever encountered. And some have been places of insidious darkness.

I was fortunate that my underlying concept of ‘home’ came from a family where love represented the key existential driver. I could be experiencing some struggles, but there were inevitably people around me who shared knowledge, love and guidance; even when that support wasn’t cherished at the time.

It’s the people who make the place you live a home, not so much the four walls themselves.

Poem by Molly from Transatlantic Notes called ’Roots’: “Our understanding of home evolves with time and transforms through experience. The knowledge of what was there before is not lost but becomes a fresh new expression of life; a new layer of soil from which our growth continues."

When I moved out on my own for the very first time; I had the most incredible landlords who wanted me to thrive during my first steps into independent life. And it undeniably was, as everything felt like home until I encountered someone who changed that. It seems like a lifetime ago; I’m not the same person that I was, but someone I let into my life during this time ended up being a manipulative, emotional abuser. They chipped away at my sense of self, my independence, my confidence and scammed me out of everything I earned and owned.

It took years to get out of that mindset, but to be completely honest; I’m not fully free of those planted doubts — I did, however, fight back once I was ready. At the time, those on the outside could recognize what was happening; and in hindsight, I could too. But being in someone’s grip who has seeded mistrust and uncertainty into your bones is hard to break free from. I count my blessings every day that the beginnings of my life were housed in love and support; which enabled me to carry a strength I didn’t appreciate I had, and I’m profoundly aware of the privileged position that places me in.

Poem by Molly from Transatlantic Notes called ’Those Who Shine’: “Anyone who shines love and kindness to help you grow; those are your people."

A number of loved ones I’m lucky enough to be connected to have experienced beginnings of chaos, abuse, abandonment or other struggles that have weighed their souls down. It’s through these individuals and the exchange of perspectives/experiences that reveal, despite the rockiest of events trying to disrupt our foundations; we can still grow and build something better for ourselves at any point in our lives. 

Those who shine love and kindness towards themselves and others help to create a sense of home; they’re the people we deserve to surround ourselves and practice reciprocity with.

Don’t be afraid to seek out these kinds of people even if you feel you don’t deserve to — you do. They can be family, friends or individuals who are by your side for a short time or a lifetime. They can land in your life unexpectedly and accept/love you; even when you don’t brush your wild hair or get out of your pyjamas for the day. In whatever way they arrive in your life — they will be the ones who help you find ‘home’ within yourself.

Be that for others too.

Thank you for reading, and thank you to Bear, who is my person.


Further Info:

You’re Not Crazy, But Emotional Abuse Can Make You Think You Are – Better Help

National Domestic Violence Hotline

NAMI Helpline – a free, nationwide U.S. resource that offers experienced peer-support guidance and advice https://www.nami.org/help

CheckPoint – global (by country) resources for mental health support

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3 thoughts on “Concepts of Home”

  1. Funnily enough, Paul and I had a conversation about said soul-sucker as we walked past your old flat the other day. It takes strength to walk away from someone so controlling. The experience cannot have been a pleasant one but it helped make you the person you are today.

    Like

    1. Thank you! Yes, it did take a lot of strength and energy but one I am grateful I finally got to do, and with the support of great friends like you and Paul!

      Like

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