I can still remember times when I felt I was home, protected, supported by a safety net of a place that saw me grow up, friends that knew all the good and bad in me, family that was a walk and a coffee-break away. It was all a myriad of habits that made my life a line with few curves or bumps. Home was the city that raised me in melancholy, the family and friends that understood me, the coffee shops and the little stores that knew what was my favorite cake and my clothing size. Home was more than my house, built with my partner, was a series of routines that made me comfortable, warm...and a bit numb. The thought of leaving this place, this state of body and mind, made me extremely anxious... maybe because I knew from the start that once lost there was no way back. Home was a feeling I had built over comforts and experiences that could easily change once some premises were lost.
Abruptly, in a short few months, when uncertainty took my life in a whirlwind of changing emotions, persons and places, home was gone. I had a place to sleep, I even had the same apartment back in my hometown, but home was gone. And I knew "that" home was gone forever. Going back to ignorance, going back to a non-wanderer state is impossible to achieve. You can't un-see what you already saw, un-know what you already learned, un-feel what took over you heart. The place that gave me the comfort I so relentlessly wanted to keep was gone. I felt a discomfort that haunted my thoughts and that became the subject of every drunken conversation prolonged into infinity with new people that, like me, felt homeless! All of sudden we were a community of gypsies.. wanderers like I dreamed of being in my teenage years... nomads with no home, no place to rest and the whole world to see and absorb. It was the most uncomfortable feeling I had ever felt but it was all I could be and all I became. The discomfort of this uncertainty was also the beauty of it... in most instances is this unquietness of the soul that makes us discover who we really are, what we really want, what can we really do.
I embraced the wandering soul and the gypsy life with pride and an eager spirit. I can see all that it gave me... all the good and all the bad. Awareness, self-discovery, time and personal bonds that are for life contrasted by a disconcerting cynicism about life, love and friendship, the understanding of the fickleness of feelings and a constant battle with my own self for a peace that was lost. Ignorance is a bliss but, ironically, you can only appreciate it the moment you no longer have it in you. Only then, and then is too late and that road is forever closed in your spirit. Friends that always were become strangers, routines and spaces lose their magic, you become an alien of yourself and discover more than you asked for. It is incredibly rich and exceptionally unsettling.
And after a while comes the troubling doubt... Will I ever find home again... find my peace, my balance built of more than a place and ephemeral feelings of comfort? I do miss the idea of home... the feeling of safety I once had, the person I was. That same feeling and that person can't ever be again. The place will always be different, even if it is the same apartment in the same city, the relationships will never come back unaffected, even if they are built with the same people I always knew, and the habits will never be lived as they once were, even if I still drink my tea at 6pm. Home will be a new idea, a new stability whenever I am able to find it within myself. Or I will someday find my peace in this wandering ways I learned to love and hate... Until then home will be a fleeting feeling in this momentary place and the people that populate my world in these brief flashes of contentment.
"You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone. (...) You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place."
Andrew Largeman in "Garden State