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on home

I’ve never felt really attached to anywhere. I struggle often with defining what my home is. Now that I live in the United States, people assume that when I say home I mean Spain, and I don’t correct them. Perhaps they are right. Nonetheless, I feel that I’m always lying, no matter what I say, when I talk about home.

When we call a place home, we assume we’re not talking about where we live. There is a connotation to that word, a heavy meaning. The idea of home implies many things that have nothing to do with any physical space; it comes with a sense of belonging to that place in particular, with a recognition of yourself as a part of that environment. Home means you stay linked to that place, no matter where you are. Home is a place that has seen you, in one way or another, grow. Home holds your secrets. Home welcomes you back, no matter what.

I’ve grown in many places and I’ve hidden many secrets, but I don’t have a place that welcomes me back. It’s natural; I’ve never been fully committed to anywhere. I’ve never let myself build that link. I still don’t. I’m the observer, and I’ve always been. 

My story with the places I’ve lived is very similar to my story with the people I’ve loved. I give it all to the story, and when it’s over, I move on. Said like that, it seems like a questionable philosophy; and perhaps it is questionable, but it is not really a philosophy: it’s the simple description of how my circumstances determine what interests me, and what interests me tends to determine what my life is about. When the road I’m sharing with someone else ends, I naturally find another road. When I feel I’ve understood the mysteries of a place, the attachment I feel to that place starts to vanish.  

The thing with home is that you cannot leave it though. The symbolism of home resides in a place that holds you. Home is a refuge for that virtual part of yourself that never changes, and that never will. 

The days I feel good about myself, I like to picture my inability of staying attached to my past as a result of my natural tendency of being present. I’m passionate, after all; to me, the future is too exciting and the present too interesting, but the past offers me little. Past people, past places. I’ve been there before, I tend to think: my urge for discovery pushes me forward.

That’s part of the truth, of course. But I wonder how much of it has nothing to do with passion and everything to do with fear; with the fear of being understood but unaccepted, or never understood at all. The days I don’t feel good about myself, this story resonates more.

In any case, me and my past don’t go along well. I behave badly when I think about it. The past is always melancholic, and I am not good at escaping melancholy: it’s an emotion that sinks me in. But the past tells me who I am, after all; there are new things to discover there too. The things we have already lived, the people we have already loved, the places that meant so much to us and now mean very little—we’ll find something there, if we don’t let its meaning fade. 

That’s why home is so powerful. Home is a place that never fades, a vessel for your whole story; sometimes cruel, sometimes kind, but above all, comforting—because it holds your sense of self. That sense of self that seems to vanish through the years. Through the changes. 

Home. I wonder if I’ll ever do it; saving all the pieces of myself in only one spot. I still distribute them, the pieces that make myself me: some here, some there. To me, it feels good to know that it will be difficult to get the whole picture.

But sometimes, I crave home. The ruthless acceptance of home. That safety.