Home

Home.
One syllable.  So much meaning.

I’ve been on a quest, for several years now, to find my home.  The meaning of “home” and all its implications has been rather problematic for me.  A while back, I took a poll in my blog asking you to vote on what “home” means. I believe it went something like this:

Home is:

  1. where the heart is
  2. where you live/where you’re stationed
  3. where you were born
  4. where your family lives
  5. the place you like the most
  6. none of the above

Unfortunately, MySpace polls unceremoniously kicked the bucket, so I do not have the exact results of this particular poll, but I do recall that option A was the strong lead.

Let’s discuss.

“Home is where the heart is.” What the hell does that mean?  This is the kind of statement that is so vague it has to be true.  If I love a place, that place is my home.  If I love a person, that person is my home. How sweet—puke.  (As a side note, there was a point in time where I thought maybe Adam was my home.  But when I expressed this idea to him, he laughed at me.  I don’t think “home” will laugh at me when I find it.)  Though this definition of home, by default, must be right, it is still not what I am looking for.  It is the easy way out of a hard question.  If home is where the heart is, the heart must be defined, as well as the location of the heart.  Without these definitions, this is just a phrase that people like to cross-stitch into pillows.

Home is where you live/where you’re stationed. I like this option—it is very pragmatic.  Those of you who chose this option, I salute you (a fitting action, as many of you are military).  I admire you for being so adaptable and accepting of where you live. Though I’ve moved around quite a bit, I’ve still not developed the knack for being “at home” anywhere.  I can be comfortable, even content, and still not be at home.  I live in LA. I like LA.  LA is not my home.  I am out of place here—I don’t stand out, but I don’t “belong.”  (Not complaining…just stating the obvious.)

Home is where you were born. For me, that would be Dillon, Montana.  For the first 15 years of my life, I thought Dillon was my home.  I was born there.  My grandparents lived there.  But mostly, the mountains made sense to me.  The time I actually lived in Montana was very brief, but I felt like those mountains were my home, no matter where I lived.  The sky, the smells, the trees…I felt I identified with it all.  Then my grandmother died and it became a little less like home.  The next time I visited, I received a strong dose of small town rudeness.  One woman even accused me of being a Nazi because I lived in Germany.  Apparently, once you leave Montana, you can never go back…not really.  When I visit now, I enjoy the company of my family, I take in my fill of the air, sky, mountains and water (just enough to recharge my batteries)…then I leave.

Home is where your family lives. I’m not sure how many people (if any) voted for this option. It doesn’t surprise me that this option didn’t get a lot of love from my MySpace friends.  Let’s face it: like me, most of you have flown far from the nest and wonder why others have such a hard time with this.  But when you go back to your parents/family, do you feel at all like you’re going “home”?  I do, a little bit.  The act of going to my parents’ house makes me think I’m going home.  I even feel at home for the first few days I’m there. Then I remember I’m an adult and I long for my own house (house, not home) that contains my boyfriend and my cats.

Home is the place you like the most. SO tempting.  Word to the Heidelbergers who voted for this one.  Ahh…Heidelberg. I loved Heidelberg.  I think I can confidently say Heidelberg was my home.  There were so many things about that city that made me happy…so many things that I loved.  “Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren.”  Very true for me.  When that plane left the ground, I felt as if a vital part of me were being ripped out of my body—a part of me I’ve yet to reclaim.

Please don’t misunderstand. When I left Germany to come back to the States, I was very eager to start my new life.  I was not interested the opportunities the American military community had to offer and I needed to be elsewhere.  I needed to get a job, go to college, date boys whose parents weren’t in the army…  Even though I had all these things to look forward to, they did not make it any easier when I saw the only place I knew and loved shrinking below me.

But can I call Heidelberg my home today?  Absolutely not.  The one thing I’ve learned is that there is no such thing as “going back”.  Montana taught me that.  I do wonder, however, if I ever do make it back, will I finally take back that piece of me that has been missing for so long?

Option E was last place with only one vote: mine.   Home is none of the above. After exploring the options above, I would like to recant that vote.  My new conclusion is this: Home is all of the above.

b. LA, the city, is not my home—but Adam is here, my cats are here, and my house is here.  I enjoy my job here.  When I leave, I long to be back in my house with Adam and my cats.

c. Montana, though I’ll never be able to live there again, is also my home.  A few days in Montana makes me balanced and gives me the opportunity to breathe.  I always miss Montana.

d. I love my parents. No matter where they live, I’ll always have a home wherever my mom and dad are.

e. Heidelberg will never be my home again, but I will always remember how much I loved it and I will always search for a time and place where I can be so completely ingrained in my environment.

…and finally…

a. Home is where the heart is.  What the hell—this can be true, too.  For me, my heart, which I choose to define as “a sense of longing and belonging”, is everywhere and nowhere.  This is the truth.  It is a curse and a blessing.  I will never truly be at home—I will always be disconnected and detached.   And because of this, I have nothing to lose.  I am free.

So I pose this question to anyone who actually managed wade through my post-midnight babble: Where/what is your home?  Does anyone else over-analyze this, as I do?  Or do you think the concept of “home” is far simpler than I’ve made it?

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