I spent my first 8 years calling a prison my home. I spent my next 7 thinking there was no way out. Looking out at the busy world beyond those walls; breathing in the cool night air at 3 AM, when everything was still and quiet. Leaning longingly over that 12th story balcony, thinking maybe, just maybe, I might finally fall. The asphalt below held such promise for me. So, why then, did I call this home? Because I didn’t yet understand that home is a state of mind. That home is not physical or local. Home is not any one place, a house or a town. Home is within us; it’s always there if we can find it. I’m 19 now and I finally understand. I spent the past 3 years searching for something I always had, I just couldn’t see it. No matter where I am or how bad things get I can always go home because: home is the place we care about, it’s the people who love us. Home is the things that make us happy.
Do you know what hate is? True hate? A friend enlightened me. Now, you can’t hate a person, not really, truly hate them; you can fix people. No. A hate, a genuine hate, is a fact or a circumstance or anything you don’t like that you are powerless to change. For so long I thought I hated a person more than anything but I was wrong. If all else failed, I could’ve fixed him. No, my greatest hate, which has been there my entire life, is that… the only homes I have ever known, have never been my own. And, I believe I’ll always carry that with me, that I always hated every place I’ve ever lived; that safety abandoned me when I was young, cutting short the precious age of innocence. My second greatest hate, well… That’s another story all together.
I know now it doesn’t matter where I sleep at night or how much I hate it. As long as I have people who care about me and things that make me happy, even though it’s sometimes hard to remember, I will always have a home. In fact, I have many homes, so I will always have a safe place to land. Home is not the house I live in. Home is not any one zip code or abbreviation. My home is in all of the hearts that hold a piece of mine.
So many people spend their whole lives searching for something they may never find… because they’re looking in all the wrong places. We always look outside ourselves when, oftentimes, the only place to find what we think we need is already there inside of us just waiting to be realized.
My journey, the search for home lasted 19 years. I went from naive to angry to hopeless to crushed to numb to unaware to surprised to smacked in the face with god damn brutal reality. And, actually, angry happened more than once on that ride. But I’m one of the lucky ones. It only took me 19 years to find what I think everybody searches for at one point or another. If you think about it, 19 years feels like eternity while you’re actually living it; especially if you can hardly stand living it. But, once it’s behind you and you can look back… actually, never mind. I just looked back and it was a cruel and brutal and insanely long 19 years. But, I’ve got the rest of my life ahead of me. Or, I could die right this minute. If I live for another 30 years or another 30 seconds, I won’t have died searching. I know where my home is, I found it. I’m a lucky one. I’m lucky not just because I found the true meaning of home while I’m still young, but also because I don’t wish to change the ride that brought me here to this understanding. Sure, the ride was rough, but I’m here now because of it… and I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, I might but I know that if changed anything I wouldn’t be the same person I am now and I’m happy with the person I am now so if I had the chance, I’d pass.
Welcome home. Turns out, no matter where I lived, for the past 4 years, I’ve always been home… I just couldn’t see it. And if you had told me that 10 years ago, when I was 9, I would’ve laughed in your face. Oh well, learning takes time. Sometimes, for the lesson to really stick, you can’t learn from other people’s mistakes; you’ve got to make those mistakes for yourself.
So, it turns out, home is something that no one can ever take away from us. Go figure.
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I called it prison, they call it home. Oh well, two each his own.