A home should be a sanctuary from the world, but I've never really felt as though I've had a home as such. My early childhood home was volatile at times, unstable at others and only a substitute for a thing called "home" for a while.
Difficulties between parents and loud arguments heard outside closed doors.
A father lost.
More arguments with a less than kind step-father, now seen instead of only heard and another quick divorce.
Parents moving to far away cities and a living arrangement with grandparents. One who was chronically ill.
The return of a father and a new not quite home, with a step-mother only just enough older than I for me to be her competition, instead of any kind of child for her. She did her best but I was always an intrusion of sorts. And she made this clear when my father was away on business.
On to my own first flat straight after I graduated from high school.
I lived alone and, sometimes, with boys who used me as their home for a while.
I drifted overseas to look at greener pastures but couldn't bear the isolation or, more specifically, the winters in Europe after just one year.
I returned to my country of birth... and then departed again within just a few months.
A couple of years of an endless summer.
I drifted around Europe on my own... backpacking through the South until I heard news of the death of a friend and was drawn back to my home country to be responsible support and to make a life nearer my family.
So I married and had my first child.
And I tried to make a home.
But my understanding of what a home was, was too skewed by the acrimony and instability of my early years to ever make the right choices of a partner to do it with...
or even to create it myself.
Home was high drama. Home was high adrenalin. Home was kind of chaotic. Home was unstable. Home was conditional and demanding. Home was rejection for not being who I was expected to be.
Home was not safe.
I was angry about this for many, many years and I didn't even know it.
Looking back now, I only find it sad that so many of us equate these kinds of feelings with home. The all too familiar feeling of fight or flight being mistaken for love or passion. The all too familiar feeling of fear that forces us to be who we are not, so that maybe... just maybe... somebody will finally love and protect us in the way we desired and needed so much as our younger selves.
The safety we so desperately needed but were unable to be afforded with, by those that should have know better but didn't.
And it's not even anybody's fault...
Although, at times, I have blamed my parents.
I blamed them until I became a parent myself and I understood more clearly how us parents mess up in so very many ways, simply because we don't know enough.
Or haven't healed ourselves enough.
Back when I was my younger self, stressed out parents in a challenging world had little to no idea of how their own struggles might impact generations to come.
Because nobody knew about how this all worked back then.
A stiff upper lip. Keeping up with Joneses.
We were expected to not talk about the hard stuff. Doing so would expose us to being ridiculed, unvalidated and (ultimately) being rejected. To make sure we didn't even try that sort of thing again.
This, again, was not even intentional. This is how some systems learn to work together to create some outward semblance of "normal".
They do this by pretending that nothing is wrong. If you never address the problems, perhaps they can be avoided in full.
The unspoken will appear regardless of how much it is ignored. And probably more so, in fact! This is the nature of the unconscious and we can't avoid it.
No matter how hard we may try.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” - Carl Jung
Still, I learned to call this "home". Even though home, again, is supposed to be our sanctuary in a sometimes frightening world.
Yet if you are unable to be honest about how you are feeling, what you are thinking or who you even truly are...
how are you ever going to feel truly safe?
I have still not found my home.
I'm 51 years old now and it took me a long time to learn that what I was recreating was never the home I truly desired.
I'm 51 and I've given away, sold and abandoned my home and all of the material possessions that filled a large three bedroomed semblance of it over the last years.
I did this in stages. Minimising. Simplifying. Scaling down...
until a life challenge pushed me towards letting all of it go in full.
I did this when I understood that home was never a place. It was never the furnishings that completed it. It was never even the people who inhabited it as it turned out.
Home was a feeling.
And it was this feeling that I had been searching for my whole life.
Warm and safe.
This is what "home" means to me these days.
This is the sanctuary I've been seeking in an often dangerous and frightening world filled with hurt people who hurt people, even though they don't mean to, and who are doing the best they can with the understanding they have at any given time...
There is no place that can save me from this, I have come to realise.
There is no sanctuary that can save me from being hurt by people.
It's not possible.
Not unless I completely isolate myself from the world and the people in it in full. And then what's the point of even being alive, I would wonder? When there's no real connection or exchange or, thus, living of the experience of being human in this thing we call Life.
Are we even alive if we aren't engaging with the world and people around us?
If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it even make a sound?
I even tried to protect myself by completely isolating for over two years, but all that happened...
was that I stopped really living for a while.
The self-imposed isolation also gave me the space and time to figure out what "home" might be for me.
Warm and safe.
With this new understanding of home not being a place...
and no permanent sanctuary really being possible, for me, in a world that demands interaction (and action) between it's participants to fully experience being alive...
along with the inevitable joy and pain of this...
I've learned to find the sanctuary I was so desperately seeking, for so many years, inside myself.
Some days it's still hard to find, but I've only learned this was even possible in the last couple of years. I'm still beginning. At the age of 51. I'm still learning.
But I also know, now, that there's no time like the present to begin something new and that it's never to late to start again.
I also know, now, that by finding this sanctuary within myself...
I am finally able to create the actual physical home I will feel safe and warm in.
When I find the place to do it.
It is never to late to begin again...