12 December 2010

A Place to Call Home

Most people have a place to call home. Some people just have a house. Some don't even have that.

People ask me "Where are you from?" and my only response is "define 'from'". Is it the place I was born? The place I lived the longest? The place where I spent my formative years? The place I live now? It's too broad to be defined really specifically, but Webster's just adds to the confusion with a wealth of different definitions (which, after inspection, all closely resemble my hypotheses, surprisingly, even using the word "formative")-
  • The place where one resides; 
  • a place of origin; 
  • one's birthplace or residence during the formative years; 
  • a place one holds dear because of personal feelings or relationships; 
  • a place of security and comfort.

I think the last two are most suitable. I was born in Jacksonville. I spent my formative years first moving between Kissimmee, St. Augustine, Waikoloa, Mililani, and Killeen (we also might have lived in Ft Polk, LA, and Ft. Sill, OK, if my dad hadn't been willing to travel). The place I've lived longest is Burleson. The place I live now is Burleson, but when I move out of my parents' house, it'll be somewhere else. There is no place I hold dear- they are all just places to me, places where I've been but never belonged.

 I live in a house. My parents' house. Is this my home? Not really. I don't feel like I belong here, and pretty soon (hopefully), I'll be leaving. Nevertheless, when people ask me where I'm going after school, I tell them "home". These days, I don't think it's politically correct to say "I'm going to the place where I live".....or at least it's not very common.

So, you might ask, where is my home? It really depends on your definition of home...the closest I can come is the state I live in...."Texas". But, in actuality, there is no place I really feel like is a home. A home is a cozy place you can go at the end of the day and feel comfortable. A home is somewhere where you feel comfortable around the people around you, and it's where you put your heart. Therein lies all your joy and delight, all your pain is comforted. You know you BELONG there.

I don't belong anywhere. Yes, I've lived near Ft Worth for 8 1/2 years, but I would hardly call it home. I came here in the middle of high school, and never really built roots here. I could track back to the place where I "kinda" grew up (meaning 6-14), Killeen, TX, but going back there now, I can't even navigate the main roads, and I hardly know anyone. Rather, they don't recognize me. It's like I was never there. Any place we lived before that (Waikoloa, HI, Mililani, HI, Kissimmee, FL, St. Augustine, FL, and Jacksonville, FL), I really don't have any recollection because of my age at the time.

If I modified my definition of "home" to where it wasn't a place where someone necessarily lives, but is in regular contact with, perhaps I could call Arlington "home", since I'm there more than I'm here at the house.

I just kind of yearn for a place that I could say I was "born & raised." Both my parents can say they were born and raised in St. Louis or Ponder (TX), and my sister can say she was born & raised Texan, but I don't have that. I was too old when we moved to Burleson to really feel like it's much of a home, but instead just a temporary residence until I move out.

Remembering back to my senior year of high school, it was a bit saddening to see the 13-year picture, of students who had been in the school district from kindergarten to graduation, because there's no way I could have done that. I was just a temporary transplant. Then, I had only lived here not even 3 years, so I was a bit depressed about that. Then there were the students who believed I didn't deserve to be salutatorian of the class because I "hadn't gone to Joshua schools long enough" and "didn't belong in their group". What a blow to a 17 year-old's almost non-existent ego. I already have no self-esteem- those remarks don't help. Besides, I worked just as hard (if not harder, because Shoemaker challenged me a lot) to get that position. They didn't feel I had earned it, because I didn't belong there.

Now, I hardly know any of Burleson or Joshua, but I can navigate Arlington so well, even though I don't live there.

I think the whole point of this was, not to complain that I didn't have a place to call home, because the variety of places I've lived has made my life a little more interesting, but to wish that I had something that a lot of people have, a place to call home. I can say I lived in Hawaii and Florida, unlike a lot of people. I've spent my life experiencing different places, and in fact can't imagine spending my whole life somewhere. Nevertheless, I live in a house. A very nice house. I've lived in lots of places. I've had lots of experience, and met a lot of people whom I wouldn't have met had it been for my family's slightly nomadic lifestyle.

I just want roots somewhere. A place to build upon myself, a place where I feel welcome, and comfortable. A place that I know with my eyes closed, where I don't feel out of place or like a "transplant". Unfortunately, now that I'm 23, that's unlikely to happen easily. Perhaps I'll carry on the nomadic lifestyle that my first 6 years consisted of. I don't know much else. I don't know what it's like to live in the same place for a long time. To establish myself as someone and matter. Maybe I'll even get a sense of who I am, what I like, where I want to go from here, how I'm gonna live my life, instead of trying to find a way out of it. I've spent so much time trying to escape, because I don't belong here.

Like Kelly Clarkson (who happens to be from Burleson) I "wanted to belong here, but something felt so wrong here, so I pray, I could break away". Or, as Taylor Swift sings in "A Place in this World", I want a place of my own, "I'm just a girl, trying to find a place in this world". I am. I want my place. I want to belong somewhere, to feel at home, to know who I am or discover myself.

Either way, even if I establish myself here, I'm bound to move at least once more, because I don't plan on living with my parents forever. In fact, I have been wanting to move out for years, I just don't have the means. It has nothing to do with the family dynamics, or lack of support, I just want to start my life on my terms, without reporting to mom and dad all the time. Unfortunately, I can't even get a job. I have an internship; perhaps that will turn into a job, but for now I have to just hold my breath and wait.

Until I have the means and the courage, I'll be here, not living at home, but living in my parents' house, a separate entity from the family unit, navigating my way through life on autopilot. And, for now, I don't have a place to rightfully call home, but when anyone asks where I go at night, I'll still tell them "home," because it's the only way I know how to answer. They usually understand it means I'm going to where I live. Maybe one day I'll be able to say "home" and mean it, but for now, this will have to do.

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