During my lifetime (so far) I’ve lived in at least 10 different homes (physical buildings). Half of those were apartments I’ve rented and the other half were family houses (parents/grandparents). Some of those homes have the fondest, deeply held memories of love I’ve ever encountered. And some have been places of insidious darkness.
I was fortunate that my first concepts of ‘home’ came from a family where love was an existential key driver. You could be going through something truly testing but there were people around you that shared knowledge, love and guidance. Sometimes it wasn’t wanted. But it was there. It was the people who made the place you lived a home, not so much the four walls themselves.
When I moved out on my own for the very first time, I had the most amazing landlords who wanted me, as a young person, to have a wonderful first step into independent life. And it really was, and everything felt like home until I met someone who changed that. It seems like a lifetime ago because I’m not the same person that I was then, but someone I let into my life at that time was a manipulative emotional abuser. They chipped away at my sense of self, my independence, my confidence and scammed me out of everything I earned and owned.
It has taken years to get out of that mindset, and if I’m honest I’m not fully free of those planted doubts … but I fought back once I was ready to. Those on the outside could see it, I could see it but when you are in the grip of someone who has seeded mistrust and uncertainty in your bones, it is hard to break free. I count my blessings every day that the beginnings of my life were housed in love and support because it meant I carried a strength I didn’t know I had until I needed it. I’m profoundly aware of the privileged position that puts me in.
Some loved ones, or those I’ve been fortunate to meet along the way, have had beginnings of chaos, abuse, abandonment or other struggles that have weighted their souls far beyond what I can fully grasp. Through these people, and the exchanged knowledge that came from different perspectives and individual experiences, has provided a sense that even with the rockiest of beginnings or events that look set to disrupt our foundations, a fresh new layer to build upon can come at any point, and from anyone who shines love and kindness to help you grow.
Don’t be afraid to seek these kinds of people out even if you don’t feel you can or should. Those are the type of individuals who nourish you. They may be family, they may be friends, they may not stick around forever, they may be by your side for a lifetime, they may be someone who lands in your life unexpectedly and accepts and loves you even when you don’t brush your wild hair or get out of your pyjamas for a day – in whatever form they come – those are the ones that help you find ‘home’ in yourself.
Be that kind of person to others too, it is all reciprocal.
Thank you for reading, and thank you to Bear, who is my person.