Home is a feeling, not a place
I have lived in many towns, villages, countries, houses and apartments. But home was never about the place for me. I think home is about a feeling. It is about a sense of safety, of comfort, of belonging. You can live in the most fancy mansion in the safest country in the world, but if you don’t feel like you belong inside that house, the people you are living with, or to the environment outside, then that place might not be your home. I believe that home has nothing to do with materialism, but all to do with emotions.
Home as a Child and Teen
Growing up, I never really felt safe in the place that was called home. It was a place of fear and pain. We moved a few times during my childhood and it didn’t matter where we lived, it felt the same everywhere. I felt better not being around my family so I often spent as much time away from “home” as possible. From age 6 to 12, I also had to work when I was at home, as my parents owned a restaurant and I had to help out in the kitchen. In the bedroom I often stayed up all night to make sure I could protect my sister when someone came up to hurt us. “Home” was not a safe place for me.
When I was a teenager, I almost never stayed in our house. I was out most days and most nights. Ironically enough, at the age of 12, I hung out with a lot of homeless people. And I felt a sense of belonging for the first time. We were a group of people who cared about each other, no matter if you were an addict, an alcoholic, a traumatized teen or a punk wanting to rebel. I dated a homeless heroin addict, and yes, he provided more of an emotional home for me, than my parents ever did. Being in our house, still felt like I was on enemy grounds. I had my own room at that point, but I had no key and I was pretty neglected: for a while I didn’t even have a proper bed.
When I had become goth, I found a new home in the goth subculture. I was around like-minded people who enjoyed things that I loved and I had a close-knit group of friends. That lasted for quite some time, and was a great refuge for me when I wanted to escape the place that was supposed to be my home. Even when I moved into my first apartment, it still didn’t feel like I wanted to create a “home”. There was still a strong connection to my family, and I didn’t feel free to create a safe space.
Home with a Partner
Even when I moved to Sweden, I first didn’t create any kind of home, in the materialistic sense. My boyfriend and I shared a small one room apartment. And for me it felt like just another cold shell that I spent my nights in. But it was with him, that I first ever felt being home with just one person. Where he was, in his arms, that was my home. We moved twice in the ten years, and it was in the very last place that we moved into, that I finally felt a want to create a “home” for us.
See, if you don’t come from a place where the idea of home, the materialistic concept, means anything, then you don’t really understand wheat it actually stands for. Sure, even in my childhood “homes” we had pictures on the walls, and cushions to make things seem cozy, but the feeling of home was missing. My partner also never really had experienced that sort of home: he was adopted and was even homeless for almost 10 years when once he had become an adult. So we were on that journey together: creating a home.
We bought things that we liked to decorate our apartment with. We kept it clean but cozy. And we had a lot of good moments together, and with that we created a sort of safe space. The walls weren’t telling horror stories, but were the framework for a place of belonging. Up until my mental illnesses took over and ruined our life together. Suddenly our apartment became a space for my anxiety and suicidal thoughts to spread freely. It suddenly felt uncomfortable and even suffocating to be in our home.
The vibe changed and it no longer was the safe space we had created together. We both felt it, but there was no way to air it out, to repaint the walls in new positive emotions. Our relationship eventually fell apart, and he wanted to get out, actually expressing how our apartment was making him feel bad, anxious and sad. It was a very painful time because my sense of belonging disappeared.
I definitely found a home in the online community I worked in during that time. A home doesn’t need to be a physical place after all. I felt safe. I often said that the main chatroom that I was running was like my own personal living room. At that time I realized, that that sense of belonging, a feeling of home, was important to my survival. Without that sort of connection, it can be difficult to feel anchored in reality. But all good things come to an end, so did that adventure of mine.
I have now found a new sort of home for myself. I moved to Canada and I am in a committed relationship with my Master. And with him, I feel at home. I am not totally acquainted with my new environment yet, but I already know that it is not the place where I live that I will call my home. Although I love it here and the city I am living in is pretty amazing. No, it is the safe space that my Master and I have created together, that is my home.
Physically, we have also started to decorate the place we are living in. We have made it cozy, and we are slowly finding small things that we can add to make our apartment more of a place that represents us. But it is the mental space that him and I are in together that I would call my home. It is in my relationship with him that I feel anchored. We could be living in a tent in the desert, a mansion in Beverly Hills or a hut in Asia. I don’t care where we live. As long as I am with him, I am home.
Home will never be a physical place for me. Due to moving so much and moving countries twice, I am more like a citizen of the world than someone who is rooted in one physical location. Home is a feeling: of safety and of belonging. It is all about who you are with and if the circumstances that you have contributed to creating, give you the opportunity to be who you really are.