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Where is Your Home?

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I Was Born Here, I Live There

I moved 10 times before the age of 17. I went to 3 different high schools in two different states. When people would ask me, “Where are you from?”… I used to want to cry. I didn’t want to lie, but I didn’t want to tell the truth. I felt like I was from nowhere. It didn’t feel good. It seemed like everyone else had a home town. A place they knew, where people knew them, where they felt like they had an identity. I couldn’t relate to that… at. all.

By the time I was 25, I had moved 30 times. In the past 18 months I have moved 3 times, in 3 different states. I’ve never lived in a place where I felt at home. And I never felt at home inside my own skin. I know I am not alone in this feeling.

Butterflies Are Free

If we use the analogy of the butterfly in the cocoon, we know that the butterfly must struggle to escape the chrysalis. Perhaps the same thing applies to me as I’m trying to find my home. Maybe the journey of living in a lot of places, meeting so many people, having no sense of a place where I belong, is an important part of my journey.

Maybe the only way for me to have real empathy for others is for me to struggle with my own sense of identity. Maybe I’m supposed to see myself as a citizen of the world, not a citizen of a place.

Home is Where I Stop Trying to Escape

It occurs to me that home might not be a place “outside” my body, maybe it’s inside my body and mind (and heart). The only way I will stop trying to “escape” (find someplace to call home), is when I have peace of mind. When my body can be anywhere, but I am at ease because I know that I belong, no matter where I am.

I belong to myself. I belong to the world. I see home as a state of mind not a place.

I’m going to have to sit with this idea for a while. I’ll let you know how it’s going. Where is your home? Is it a place?

More thoughts from Naguib Mahfouz 


3 Responses
  • Irana van Oostrum
    May 3, 2018

    I very much relate to your feelings, debbi. I have a lot of friends who still live in the same house they were born in. In my life time i’ve moved a lot as well. I’ve even lived in another country for 8 years. My friends could not imagine living in a different house or even in a different country. But similar to you saying that home isn’t a place but a mindset, I read somewhere that “home isn’t a place, but a feeling.” and I kind of agree, but I also have a different interpretation. when I think of “home” I think of it as like a capsule, in which you’ve decided to create memories and experience life, regardless of where it is and how long you may spend there. I see “home” as somewhere where you have a roof over your head, where the things happen to keep you alive (to get as primal as possible with this analogy haha). “life” doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the actual place you call “home”. “life” happens due to the people you meet, the opportunities you get, the way you grow as a person. and doing the “staying alive part” in different places and being surrounded by different people just attributes to those life experiences in my opinion. measuring to which extent you “feel at home” in my opinion is nothing more than measuring to which extent you feel like you can experience life and grow as a person in the place you choose to call “home”.

    hope this made the slightest bit of sense. hope you are able to find the inner peace you are searching for. you’re already making big steps. <3

  • Deborah
    Deborah
    May 7, 2018

    wonderful food for thought. thank you!

  • Kelly Robinson
    May 10, 2018

    Home is with my husband and daughter – While I have not moved a lot I only feel at home with them. Growing up I never felt I had a home so as an adult this feeling is incredibly important – and it is just that, a feeling.

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