relating to the place where one lives, resides.
return by instinct to its territory after leaving it.
I recently attended an interior design event where each speaker was asked the question ‘what is home to you?’. I find this a really interesting question and what I would call a ‘slow burner’ because it’s multi-levelled and can be interpreted in so many different ways. It stays with you and there’s no way that your initial answer is the true answer. When we are asked questions in the public domain the majority of us will answer based on what the given audience wants hear (or we try to impress the audience with an over-inflated answer that has lost sight of the truth). I was speaking with a friend who had felt this so deeply she claimed she didn’t actually know who she was. She was so conditioned into the roles she had to play in the different facets of her life that answers to basic questions like ‘what’s your favourite movie?’ was different every single time. It’s so easy to lose ourselves to external validation in who we think we should be, but if external validation is your only nourishment, you will slowly starve.
So I have thought about this question for several weeks and I encourage you to as well. I encourage you to quietly think about who you are and what ‘home’ means to you in the early hours of the morning when there’s no one watching you, listening to you. When there’s no ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ available to justify what your doing and the choices you make. When it’s easier to remember who you are because there’s no one around to remind you who you should be. When it’s just you and your heartbeat in the dark. Take a deep breathe and soften your eyes. What is it that tears your walls down and sets your soul on fire? Where do you instinctively return to?
This exercise asks a lot more of you than to skim through your Facebook photos and pull out a perfectly tanned version of yourself in a bikini standing on top of a mountain with your fingers perfectly poised in peace signs and your lips plumped just right- hashtag ‘i’m home’ hashtag ‘living my best life’. This is bollocks. This is your highlights reel. This is copy-catting what you have seen others do and consciously believe it makes you happy as well. This isn’t original or authentic. I’m pleased it embraces the great outdoors and expanding horizons but this is a photograph with a filter on designed to obtain external validation. I want to you to dig deeper. I want you to think about why you felt good climbing that mountain, the physical and mental challenge that you succeeded at, the feeling of oneness with your body, the rush of oxytocin and endorphins. The panoramic view from the top that made you feel like a tiny dot amongst the vastness of time and space. The new found appreciation of nature’s grandeur! Unpick it, pull it apart, deep dive why you actually feel at home and ‘yourself’ somewhere. We are multi-dimensional beings, embrace all of it.
One of my rescue dogs is incredible at finding ‘home’ in the most unstable environments. He has a very difficult and sad history that makes a lot of people uncomfortable to listen to because it holds a mirror up to how cruel humanity can be. He has survived and he does this by continually changing his perception of home. Unlike other dogs i’ve had this one will make a bed for himself out of anything…. a piece of wood, back set of an empty car, dirty tea towel, cardboard box or failing that he will literally dig a hole in the earth and lay in it to go to sleep. His definition of home is shelter and security. It’s an interesting reflection that our soul’s passed traumas and experiences will and do shape how we define ‘home’.
For me, home is the perfect storm. It’s the chaos and the calm. Most nights it’s two arms and a heartbeat. Home is where I can live by my own definition completely and unapologetically. It’s letting go of the illusion that it could have been any different, it is the way it is. It’s accepting and loving imperfection and it’s precious.
Photo courtesy of The Copper Lens