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19 Dec

A Post Secret favorite

I’ve been meaning to write this since Thanks-
giving, but life got in the way.

The topic of home and family has always been touchy for me. While I would never claim that I had a rough childhood, I had one of upheaval. By the time I was 11, I had lived in five houses, attended five schools K-7, and I found myself in Nevada, far away from everything I knew. (Funny story, when my parents told us we were moving to Nevada, I started to cry and asked them if people spoke English there. I was 9.)

We settled in Reno, but it never felt like home. I never had an attachment to it. Living in Seattle felt like home, but I didn’t even really know what home felt like. It was like my Moby Dick. It was confusing and obtuse, and I ran away from Seattle thinking there was some other home out there for me. One of my biggest regrets in life.

I’ve written endlessly about the search for home, what it means. “I’ve been home, but I’ve never possessed it” is a phrase scrawled throughout my journals, notebooks, poems, short stories. I’ve always mourned my gypsy ways and considered myself “homeless.”

Over Thanksgiving, I had a revelation.

I was staying with my aunt and uncle in Philadelphia. I spent a lot of time with them growing up, but I hadn’t seen them much since our move out West. The holiday was spent with my aunt’s family who I am not related to and don’t know well. I felt out of place, and I yearned for a home and a large family of my own.

I was sitting in the sunroom with my 9-year-old cousin Frances (who I have come to ADORE) reading, snuggling with their Australian Shepherd Mix, Heidi. I was reading the book “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott which is AMAZING. It is a book about dedicating oneself to writing, but also using the lessons of writing to live a better life. I read this quote:

“We don’t have much truth to express unless we have gone into these rooms and closets and woods and abysses that we were told not to go in to. When we have gone in and looked around for a long while, just breathing and finally taking it in– then we will be able to speak in our own voice and to stay in the present moment. And that moment is home.”

I wrote in the margin, slowly and methodically, as the light bulb illuminated above my head, “Home is right here. Home is now.”

I realized I am not cursed by a peripatetic existence. I am blessed. I have homes all over. I have family in so many places.

In San Diego, sitting by their backyard firepit with Stephen, Nancy, and Brett sipping champagne on my birthday, listening to the rustle of palm trees, I was home. Sitting at a dark dive bar in Seattle with my oldest friends laughing harder that I ever laugh with anyone else, I was home. Smoking weed and stealing a grill in Boston with my sister, I was home. Watching Husky football with Gian and Brian, calling out to the waitress “A Pucket of BBR, and friendship fries!!” I was home. “Gone With the Wind” marathons with my mother, Chaucer curled up in the crook of my knee. Home. And there, with a snuggly dog, a charming cousin, and Bruce Springsteen posters on the wall, I was home.

I felt it so clearly at that moment.

I am soooooo lucky.

 

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