I have nearly reached the end of my first year of college. In a few short weeks, the first chapter of my university life will have ended. It has been a tremendous year full of activism, learning, and growth.
I will be moving from the fourth floor of Freudenberger House, famously known as Freddy, immediately following finals. The strange, cold, cinderblock room I've called home for the past two semesters. It has caused me to wonder--what makes a home?
Moving out of the dorms and into a space of my own is a transition I've felt ready for a very long time.
Not having to share a bathroom with fifty other people, not having to listen to my neighbors having yet another social gathering in the middle of the week, and not having to walk up and down several flights of stairs just to wash my work uniform. Freddy House was hardly ever home. That is something I know.
But what about the house that I grew up in? All ginormous, sturdy trees, sprawling wildflowers, plenty of room to run and be imaginative.
But for some reason, I grew up not feeling completely comfortable in that old countryside house. There was never a sigh of relief coming through the front door, never a feeling of truly arriving anywhere.
So, then there's my Father's house. A cozy building that only existed for me on Saturday nights, because that was the agreement.
But it was always more about what was on the outside of the house--horses, trees, fields, a pond, plenty of backroads to ride my bike on. There was always a comfortable place to read in or outside of the house. But I was only there 1/7th of my time, so it was hard to constitute it as Home.
So I left the buildings that kept my clothes, my art prints, and my books. I looked for home by pouring myself into grueling coursework, overwhelming exercise, and any person who looked at me with a certain sparkle in their eye.
But I ended up much like my childhood home, more empty and bare than when I started aside from a few stray boxes of dusty picture frames. You can't make homes out of human beings. That is something I am still trying to learn.
What does home look like for me? What does it look like for you? Is it the place where you feel safest during storms? Where your coffee is always the perfect temperature? Where creating art is easy and free?
Where no one could ever find you but it's still the first place they'd want to look? Is it the building you grew up in, where you had your first kiss and your first taste of sweet red wine?
I am still searching. I am still waiting for the place where I hang my coat and play my records. Where nothing is difficult and breathing is easy. I am still looking for the place where my bookshelf would look best.
Where I can tell my Grandmother to send postcards. I'm still looking for the place that is safe, filled with sleepy morning kisses and warm candle-lit baths. I am still looking for my Home.