H I R A E T H

H I R A E T H

I'm homesick for a place that no longer exists
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“A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past and the departed”

I used to sit out on the front porch roof, right outside my bedroom window, and patiently wait on edge for a shooting star. The silence at 2 am was thrilling. The magic that took over when that tiny streak of light finally made its way across the sky, so sudden it was easy to miss, but so entrancing it caught your eye, would stay with me forever.

I used to wake up so early, especially on summer days. The backyard was enough of an escape for a five-year-old, with the sun barely awake, wet grass under my bare feet, and the sweet scent of summer stuck to my skin as I lost time with fairies and far away kingdoms that existed in the honeysuckle bushes.

On Friday nights when we were little, my brothers and I would get in our sleeping bags and sleep on the pullout couch for movie night. Our mama would order pizza, and we would struggle to stay awake through the entire movie. Friday nights were for Homeward Bound, The Worst Witch, The Chipmunk Adventure, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, Free Willy, and Drop Dead Fred. I remember hiding my face in my sleeping bag so my brothers wouldn’t tease me for crying during the part in Benji when the dog gets kicked. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, the familiar sight of our living room slowly coming to me, and the feel of warm bodies surrounding me.

Even in the dark I could see the pictures in the frames that sat on top of the entertainment center. Even now I can see them, as if they still existed. As if that living room still existed, just inside the screen door with the broken handle, and the ugly green front door that you had to slam to get it to close right.

The stairs were on your right. Those stairs. The ones we used to slide down on cardboard boxes and I broke my butt bone when I was 7. The banister that my mama would put Christmas cards on was the same banister my brother would get his head stuck in so often we would just keep walking by him until his pleas got annoying. The stairs we would huddle on, watching and listening as our parents fought in the middle of the night.

Our older brother would lead us back to his room, the one at the end of the hall, farthest away from the chaos that became a regular 3 am occurrence. He would scare the shit out of us with ghost and murder stories, and then suddenly the sound of our family falling apart downstairs in the kitchen wasn’t that big a deal.

When the kitchen wasn’t a battleground, it was the heart of our house. Pancakes, board games, homework, birthday cakes, multiplication tables, heart to hearts, card games, chicken noodle soup – our kitchen table witnessed it all. That kitchen, with its yellow walls, cracks in the ceiling, and broken tiles on the floor, was the one room in our house where everyone gathered to eat, talk, and laugh. I remember having a friend stay for supper once, and when she was leaving she asked me, “Is that how it always is when your family eats?”

“What do you mean?”

“People just show up, and then everyone sits around and talks after you eat?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

“Your family is awesome. I love it here.”

I loved it there, too. The good, the bad, the ugly, the anger, the fighting, the abuse, the comfort, the laughter, the noises, the chaos, the smells. My mama moved into that house when she was ten. She lived there until she was fifty-eight. My brothers and I grew up in that same house that sat smack in the middle of our street, where we were surrounded with neighbors that were more like family. My mama’s childhood bedroom became mine, the first one on the left when you came up the stairs.

I had one window in that room, the room that held my heart and soul all over its walls and my dressers. That window was my escape. It let out my loud, angry music I blared when my insides were just as loud and angry, letting the entire street know as well. That window gave me a view of the sky and the stars and the daydreams that happened in the night because I could never sleep. That window led to the porch roof, where the jump wasn’t very far, making it too easy to sneak out. In high school, my best friend would throw pine cones at that window to wake me up.

When we got too old to huddle in bunk beds and tell ghost stories to forget about the screaming downstairs, that window allowed me a place on the porch roof, where the silence of the night drowned out the timeless blackhole that was my parents’ marriage. As constant as those fights were, so were the stars in the sky to make endless wishes that never came true.

You used to tell me to wish on shooting stars, but that if I ever saw a falling star, to picture my future. I must not have done it right, because nothing happened the way you said it would when I made stupid wishes on dying stars. You’re gone. You left six months after dad did, and I will never understand how you could be so lost after you were finally free from the person that only brought you suffering.

But then you left, too, and all the suffering was left for us. I never stepped foot in your room again, the room where I ran to with bad dreams, sore throats, and tummy aches. I should have, though, because I never got the chance to again. That house is no longer ours, and I haven’t had a home in nine years. Strangers live in that house, laugh in that house, yell and scream, sleep, eat and love in that house now.

And as long as you’re gone and I keep fucking up my wishes on the stars that fall from the sky, I will never have a home again.

Hiraeth.


Cover Image Credit: Kerri Caldwell

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Thank You, Odyssey, For Giving Me A Place I Belong

You were the thing I never knew I needed.

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When I was asked if I wanted to write on Odyssey, I was skeptical. I had no idea what it was. I maybe had read two or three articles that I saw on Facebook but besides that, I had no exposure to it.

I didn't understand what Odyssey was. I was told it was a place where people from all over could write about whatever they wanted.

To me, that sounded amazing. I could freely write about any and everything.

Since joining Odyssey I have found something within myself that I never knew I had.

I didn't ever think that I would enjoy writing as much as I do now.

Writing for Odyssey makes me happy because I know that no matter what someone will read what I write. You're guaranteed at least one reader, and sometimes that's all you need. One person, one view, one soul to care about something that you are passionate enough to write about.

It's more than just writing a weekly article, I am now in a family. My fellow Odyssey members and I support one another, offer help, and inspiration.

Thanks to Odyssey, I have felt more comfortable talking to people about some of the serious topics that I wouldn't prior to writing for them. For whatever the reason I psychically couldn't talk about how hard it was losing my uncle. But after I wrote my article on What I Would Say If I Could Call You, One Last Time, and it peaked at 2,600+ views, it gave me a sense that other people knew how I felt.

I had friends, family, and complete strangers reach out to me following the article. For the first time in my life, I could verbally communicate with them about such issues. It helped bring me out of my shell.

I was always so anxious about sharing my articles on my social media. Facebook? For me, that was strictly for family and close friends, and I was scared people were going to judge me. They were all going to see a side of me that I show very few people. Vulnerable.

But I did it. I shared my first article on Facebook and surprisingly got a lot of support.

To anyone in need of an escape or hobby, consider writing. You can find the Odyssey application by clicking here.

Joining Odyssey family will give you a sense of belonging, just like it did for me.

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