I remember a moment with my grandmother many years ago.
I cannot recall how young I was, but I remember the way that she looked at me.
I remember her smile.
I remember the way I fell silent unable to communicate what I was feeling.
But I remember the way her love felt.
I remember the warm feeling that surrounded me when she was around.
In those moments I felt like I belonged.
I never really knew what that meant until now.
But in those moments I knew what home meant.
As a traveler I am constantly asked the predictable question.
“Where is home to you?”
It is such a simple question, yes?
But also such a personal one.
Especially for the lost ones, that seem to find themselves so much later than the rest.
Or come to find out that they have known all along, but simply did not accept what they had already learned.
Staring into the eyes of strangers, as they ask me such a personal question, that I myself have been asking for so long.
Seems ironic, does it not?
How can these strangers ask something so easily, that I cannot in return express to them as easily?
A long time ago, I may have said that home was where I was born.
Except I did not actually know that location, until I was a teenager.
So that would not have been correct.
So then maybe I would have told you that home was where I grew up.
But that was a dark place.
And home was meant to be a place of peace, and solace, yes?
So that answer would not be of suffice.
So when people asked me the question, I learned to relate the word with a sadness and confusion.
For me home was a place of fear, and rejection.
Home was a place to hide far from, and a place to hide from others.
Home was a place to detach from, and to forget.
Home was a place burned into my mind, and onto my skin.
I felt like I wore my lack of relation around my neck for all to see.
I felt defensive towards the question.
As if someone was personally pointing out my solitary constitution.
But as time revealed more to me.
I began to see home all around me.
I began to feel the presence of home within my body, within my mind and within my heart.
I realized that the companionship that I had always desired in others, and in places……
Would only come to actualization if I felt at home in my own skin.
I had to stop looking externally for something tangible, and go to the depths of my own being to find the obscure and abstract that would somehow show me the truth.
The question became less painful and more apparent.
But still at times it had me wander off into a tangent, that it could take any like minded individual on.
I began to see clearly that…..
Home is subjective, and relative.
It is personal and consequential of a unique and respective journey.
No home is like any other.
Home is not always a place.
Home is not always a group of people.
Sometimes it can be found in the faintest of memories.
Sometimes it can be found in the smile of a woman that loved you so long ago.
But with a love so deep, it taught you somehow decades later how to love yourself.
And that love created within that acknowledgement of one particular moment……could become your home.
You could live in that moment forever. And that moment could spread to all corners of the world.
Your home does not have to be bound by latitudes and longitudes.
Those boundaries were created by man.
But your moments were created by thought, perception, and emotion.
I had to let go of what the people told me.
I had to let go of what the fairytales promised.
I had to let go of the expectations that I had built so strongly.
And I had to LET IN all that felt familial to me.
I had to remember the small moments that were beautiful.
And I had to make them big.
I had to let them burn bright, in order to ignite something within me.
And above all I had to love myself.
And when I did.
Everywhere that I stepped ….was home.
The sun that shined down on me was home.
The were all for me.
They were all part of my design.
And again a stranger would look at me and ask “Where is your home?”
And lightly, with poise I would answer.
“Home is right here.
And home is wherever I may find myself one day.
Home is strange, and familiar.
Home is loud, and solitary.
Home is beautiful, and painful.
Home is right here within me.
I carry everything inside of my chest.
So that wherever I may walk, and whomever I may meet.
Can share this place with me.
My skin breathes with me, my heart beats with me, my eyes see with me, and my home is here with me.