A House or a Home?

There was a war inside of me. I longed to find an identity in the place where I was living, it was my home, my heart, filled with the people that I will always care about the most. But simultaneously, it was a place filled with hurt, brokenness and a confusing notion of safety. If this place that I came from defined me, I was looking in the mirror at a person I could never like.

For years I felt that my ‘house’ was where I needed to escape from, like it was nothing more than a hurdle I had to jump over before finding true peace. I grew up feeling like my family was something I would have to escape before I found true healing. I heard people use my last name as an adjective, like it was a swear word coming out of their mouth, like everything that they would ever need to know about me could be summed up by the family I came from. I ran from that for a long time.

I ran from the home where I had two parents who loved me very much because it was also the home where I had my trust broken. I ran because my place of safety had always come as a package deal for a place of judgement. At some time or another, I got tired of flipping the coin, hoping for heads, too often getting tails. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that sometimes good and bad walk hand-in-hand, as if they were somehow friends. I couldn’t reconcile the fact that joy was so often accompanied by sorrow. I wanted only one, not the other. So for a long time, I chose to see only the pain, only the lies, only the brokenness. I convinced myself that healing would only come through intense bitterness. An inability to see any beauty in the ashes.

Someone told me once that if you sit with your anger long enough, she will tell you that her real name is grief. I laughed. I now wish that I had listened instead to that wisdom sooner. I was angry for years before I realised it was a disguise. I was angry for years before I let myself admit that I was, in fact, grieving and broken. On the inside, I still felt like a child.

As time has gone on and as I have been able to put distance between myself and where I grew up, I have learnt that the idea of the home that I have always longed for was actually so far from the truth. I had put my dream of a home into the hands of everything and everybody around me but never myself. What I should have been doing, in fact, is realising that I carry home with me wherever I go. I could either make a home with bitterness and regret, allowing myself to wallow and stay stagnant. Or, I could make a home with faith. With hope. With love. To allow myself to move forwards and take steps I never thought possible. For me, this has been the most powerful choice I have ever given myself. Putting the ball back in my court, putting the power back in my hands. There is safety in knowing that I am building a life that no circumstance and no person will be able to shake the foundations of because the foundation is the power I have found in my own choice.


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