What Is "Home"? August 23 2012 27 Comments

I've put away my clothes in my tiny new closet, stacking plastic laundry hamper on top of plastic storage bin for lack of space. I've put up picture frames of people I love, arranged my familiar salmon-colored, ruffled pillows on my bed. I light my favorite candle which burns a familiar scent each day. My guitars stand guard dutifully in a corner of the studio bedroom. 

I play familiar songs, watch familiar movies on a strange old t.v. I've screwed up several meals in my new little kitchen with old-crooked wooden drawers that I have to shove closed with my knee. 

My toiletry items are arranged along the ledge in my shower with a shower head so low, I have to duck when I wash my hair. I use unscented shampoo and conditioner because I'm sensitive to smell. I use Hemp-Peppermint soap, because all the other kinds smell too much like flowers, thus bringing on a headache like clockwork. Unscented hairspray. Recycled yogurt cup toothbrush. Floss threaders. Things that all scream, "Made for Meg. Only for Meg. Meg lives here." 

But, I still can't seem to call this place home.

Maybe I'm rushing it. Maybe I'm doing the same thing with my new apartment that I've done with all romantic relationships in the past. After week two and date five, out comes the question, "So, do you love me?"

"It will take time Meg. You'll soon start to become homesick whenever you go grocery shopping for an hour. You'll see." 

Every night, before I go to sleep, I stare up at the ceiling and around my room and into the kitchen where the pale fluorescent light streams in from the communal hallways of the building. I can only see silhouettes of my cherry-wood dresser I bought on sale at Target, my worn yoga mat leaning up against the wall, and the vintage furniture that came with the place that smell like laundry detergent and saw dust. 

I feel like this room is as foreign to me as any hotel room that we stayed in on tour. Except during those nights, I hardly thought about the unfamiliarity of my sleeping quarters, since there were four other band members talking and brushing their teeth, and searching for the latest episode of South Park on t.v.. 

When Nick is around I feel better, no doubt. He seems to have an intuitive understanding of what the place needs. Right after the labor men left my apartment after "installing" my new window air-conditioner, Nick took one glance at their handiwork and pronounced, "Well, they totally installed that completely wrong." He proceeded to open the window and climb out onto the tiny, iron fire escape to correct all the mistakes the men made during their attempt at the installation. Nick knew how to connect the internet, how to work the swiffer, and discovered that what I had deemed the air-conditioner in the kitchen was in fact an exhaust fan.

The past few apartments I've stayed in haven't felt like home either, even after I've lived there for more than a year. The place that feels the closest to home is my folks house. The woman who's womb I came from occupies that place. She makes incredible Korean food daily. My dad has started his own Kombucha factory in the vacant upstairs mother-in-law apartment that my younger sister used to occupy before she went to college. We have a dog. The neighborhood is peaceful and quiet. Crickets sing in harmony. What's not to love?

How do I find that place? Does it have anything to do with the physical structure of the house? Does it have to do with my familiar "stuff" being strewn everywhere? Is it about the people we love being near? Is it about a selection of rainbow tulips adorning the front porch? Is it simply a matter of time? 

I think I know what is now. I know I'm not going to stay here. This is simply a place where I sleep, eat, and live for another "transitional" phase in my life. Isn't life only made up of "transitional phases" though? I suppose at some point I'll have come to that place in my life where I believe that I've finally "made it", I'll take out my flag and pound it into the floors of my home, scream out like Tarzan, and decide that for once: 

I'm not leaving. I'm staying right here.

Have you found your "home" yet?