The Slowly-Built Home

In the past six months, I’ve moved three times. In the past six years, I’ve moved seven times.

And the day I move in, I look at the new apartment with the same old question: Am I home?

My answer is to unpack immediately. Of all the corners of the world, this one is now mine. And I want to make it home.

So, I stay up late putting things where they belong: Maine mug in the cabinet; barely-alive succulent on the windowsill; bankers box with hammer, half-burned candles, and two lifetime’s worth of miscellaneous pens under the bed.

When everything is where it belongs, I can sleep. My question, for now, has been answered: Yes, I am home. I, too, am where I belong.

And that answer gets me through the night. But I know that home is bigger than mugs in cabinets and plants on sills.

We are home, I’ve come to believe, when we accept ourselves. As we are.

I’ve spent a whole lot of time away from home. Uncomfortable in my own skin. Beating myself up over being unfunny, unaccomplished, unimportant. It’s a miserable, lonely place, this state of homelessness.

But the moments when I’m home are moments when I’ve shown myself some kindness, forgiveness, care. When I’ve put my attention on who I am and what I can do. Rather than regretted who I was and what I did. It’s an incredible feeling to belong in your own skin.

It’s faster to make a home with mugs and plants and bankers boxes. Than with kindness and forgiveness and care.

But this is the home – this often slowly-built home of self-acceptance – we can have in all corners of the world.

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