Home Is Where You Find Yourself
Since I could remember, I wanted to live in an urban area so I could write stories and make millions…
Wait, let me start that opening again…
I sat in the corner of the empty bedroom in my apartment trying to get that perfect picture for Instagram. It was my last chance to take in the view before I subleased it to someone else. It had been my home for over a year and a place where many happy memories were created.
Whenever I write, I like to have some sort of inspiration. Usually pain is the muse, and writing is my way of screaming “UNCLE” to express what I’ve learned. It’s not pleasant, but it’s therapeutic and worth processing through the whirlwind of my mind.
So when I tried to get that picture to bid farewell on Instagram to my home that had once been a safe haven from all the turmoil I endured over the past year, I gave up after a few shots.
It was all because I came to realize two things: 1) I hate taking more than three pictures of the same thing for any reason, and 2) it wasn’t the house that was the safe haven; it was the roommates and the lessons learned that I would carry with me that made me feel restored from a crappy year of events.
The year before, I had been a fragile redheaded creature from the death of my grandma, a break up, being sick for a month straight, working every day, and moving back to back within a three month period to two different places in town. All this was done while in my last year of college. I think I handled it all well for what it was worth, but I didn’t look pretty.
I think I cried every day for a week when my grandma was sick, while other times I was talking to my roommates until they would want to shut the door in my face. I never blamed them. They had a lot more on their plate than to be fully attentive to an emotional brokenhearted girl, but I appreciated every hug and encouragement they offered me.
As I sat in my soon-not-to-be room off Green Street, I knew I was already running late for lunch with my mom, which meant I was going to be leaving town later than I had expected. That meant getting stuck in Chicago rush hour traffic. I had just moved there the week previously and was back in town only to finalize a sublease. You may say I was anxious to get back to Chicago.
That was the day I realized the truth about what makes a home. That is, home is where you feel settled and have promise. It’s not in your hometown, your apartment, your parents, or friends, necessarily. It is the place you imagine YOURSELF moving forward because opportunities await you, whether it be in a job, friendship, or relationship.
Maybe it was me getting tired of my hometown that set my gears rolling to want to move. Maybe it was the breakup. Maybe it was the broken friendships that came after the breakup. Maybe it was the job I hated. Maybe it was being underpaid at that job I hated. Maybe it was the ex’s best friend who tried to elbow me every time she walked by me and who degraded my work in front of my boss. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was courage. Maybe I was having a complete mental breakdown. Whatever it was, I was ready to leave that apartment full of memories around the time I was getting ready to graduate.
As hard as it was to say goodbye to the loved ones who stood beside me throughout the rough year, I knew greater things happened outside comfort zones. My gut told me I had gone down a dead end road for a while and was about to hit to the reflectors that signal you when to turn back around for another path. Either you do turn around or you crash and burn.
I wasn’t going to let myself crash and burn.
So here I am in a coffee shop in Chicago doing what I know best: writing. Not making millions, but it is a start. Still settling in my new home of one month, but it is home. That Instagram post may never have happened, but something tells me there was a better way to say goodbye to that empty room.