I guess this has turned into a bi-weekly blog, at least for now while I’m busy with school. I hope that’s cool with you guys! And just pretend that today is Wednesday and I was on time with this post 😇 This post is about the concept of home, and it was really important to me that I get it right.
Especially with the recent election, I know there are a lot of people in this country that are scared their homes will be taken away from them. I can’t pretend to know what that’s like or how that feels, but I’m figuring out ways that I can help with the privileges that I do have. It’s a small gesture, but I hope this post can give some people comfort and strength to keep fighting for their homes and lives.
It’s Gezellig is built (no pun intended) on the idea of giving people a safe, individualized, and beautiful space to call their home. That is something that has been super important to me for a while now, and with this post I just want to share my thoughts about what home means to me.
I always think of my home issues starting with going away to college (cliche, I know, but true). But looking deeper it probably started with having to navigate through my parents’ separation. I was lucky that they both chose to live in the same town, only a two or three minute drive from each other. Getting to put together my room at my mom’s house was really exciting because I had never had the chance to do that. But going from having my own room to having to share was definitely an adjustment. Being a twin, there aren’t a lot of opportunities growing up to be an individual, so that was hard, but my sister and I are close so it became normal.
I had grown up on one street my whole life that my identity was tied to, and moving away (even though it was so close) for most of the time changed a lot of things. The house I had grown up in was no longer my primary home, I had to make a new home in an unfamiliar house, AND I had to try to maintain both so that I always felt at home. That was really confusing for me to wrap my brain around.
In comes college. I decided to go to New York City which was almost the complete opposite of what I had always known. And it sucked. I didn’t find a group of friends there, I was sharing what felt like a 2′ x 3′ cell with my roommate, and everyone I loved were scattered across the country. Boston was my “hometown” city, but New York is nothing like Boston. And definitely nothing like Cape Cod. I didn’t feel at home one bit in NYC, and went to my “real” home once a month that first year.
When I started school in Boston, I knew I couldn’t be in a dorm– I couldn’t put myself through that again. A really cool friend let me crash at his house near the city for a little rent every month. I was sleeping on an air mattress during the week and going back to my parents’ every weekend. I can’t thank the boys at that apartment enough for sacrificing their space to make me feel like I had a home with them. But I had no space of my own to get away. Add a dramatic break up to the mix and it was not a good scene. I felt lost and and unstable. Eventually I started staying in Boston full time, and got an apartment with some friends a few months later.
I finally had somewhere to call home for the first time in what felt like forever. I could decorate how I wanted and had my own space to come back to after a long day. I’m now on to my third Boston apartment. It’s been hard every time to take down the home I had built for myself, pack it into a ton of boxes, and start over at an unfamiliar place. This last one has been especially hard for a lot of reasons. I’ve been so busy with school and work and everything else that I just yesterday got around to decorating my room. It’s been two and a half months!! I spent a good 6 hours yesterday planning and decorating my room, and I feel reenergized and myself again. It feels like I’m starting to have a home.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs comes to mind here. He argues that to have the capacity to think about or do other things, one needs to have their basic, lowest level needs fulfilled (super simplified version, if you want more info check here). Those include food, water, rest, and security/safety. Technically he’s referring to a physical place to stay, but for me that extends to the “feeling” of a home. I have a really hard time connecting positively with other people and feeling accomplished if my house doesn’t feel like a home.
Long story short, it’s true that home is where the heart is. I would not have made it through any of this without people I love. Where I live now, we have a half joke that we’re each other’s family because none of our “real” families live very close. I really take that to heart. No one can do this life thing alone, and no one should have to. But a home is not just a house either. It should be a safe place for you, and a place to express yourself and grow. And most of all: it should be gezellig!
For a lot of people right in America now, home has an even bigger and more complex meaning to them. It’s different for everyone, but everyone’s journey is attached to it in some way. Home is always part of the narrative. Again, to those of you whose home has been threatened, I can’t even imagine how you’re coping. But I hope you know what home means to you. I speak for a lot of others when I say that I’m willing to fight together to make sure your home in this country is not taken from you, and not all hope is lost.
Thanks for sticking with my ramblings, be safe, and I’ll check back in a couple of weeks.