New Chapter

This summer, I moved with my family from one continent to another. And so began a new chapter in my life. I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities, paralyzed, really, by all the different ways in which I can reinvent myself. What will most likely happen, though, is that I will stay put in this exact same persona, doomed to carry on the same cycle of negative thinking. I’m trying so hard for this not to be true. To be a stronger, more emotionally resilient person. Not so dependent on any one person to make me feel loved or special. The love lies within, I keep telling myself. The strength lies within.

But who am I kidding? This is easier said than done. The frequency of moments in which I feel overwhelmed just keeps increasing. The potency of those moments, too, and their ability to just shut me down, completely. I always feel a hair’s length away from falling apart. Why am I like this, I often wonder. God made me this way, so I can’t be all bad, right? God made me sensitive and caring to a fault. There must be some way to be sensitive yet strong. To not lose heart every time I hear the news, or talk to my son about what bothers him, or see my spouse vacillate between moods. I want to find this wellspring of strength within me. I need to find it. Because I don’t think my life can go on this way.

A new chapter means new beginnings and endless possibilities. I hope I find that strength so that I might be the surprise character who emerges from this next chapter, the one who will carry the entire story through to its glorious end.

Home

What is home?

And if someone knows, can he/she please tell me where mine is?

When you’re young,

home is simply mother.

The giver of all your milk and love.

The receiver of all your poop and tears.

Slowly, home grows to include father,

and then siblings,

and finally,

the concrete walls within which you sleep and wake every day.

Home stays that way for a while, and continues to impress itself upon your memory,

with its smells of mac’n’cheese and aloo gosht,

the sounds of your brothers practicing with their band in the basement,

the sight of sunlight pouring in from specific angles every day,

just so,

the feel of your fuzzy stuffed animal collection,

or the soft, pink hairiness of the carpet in your room.

But what happens when you’re suddenly uprooted and swept away to another continent?

Does home remain where it was,

something to be nostalgic about in later years,

something that will seep into all your future dreams?

Or will it become this new city, where, apparently, you were born,

and everyone tells you how much you’ve grown?

The place your parents called home, before the idea of you even existed?

With time, this new place turns into home,

with confiding friends, loyal cousins, first love, and hating homework.

In this new home, no one needs to keep asking you how to pronounce your name,

or where you’re from,

or where that is.

Things are good.

Things are really good,

until you leave again,

this time, by choice,

for the sake of education, on the surface,

but really,

for adventure.

This will be temporary, you think.

So it doesn’t matter if your new, makeshift home keeps changing from one claustrophobic dorm room to another,

because this is a rite of passage,

and you know you’ll fly home one day.

Then suddenly you wake up and realize

seven years have passed

and you never went back.

When it’s time,

home changes, yet again,

from your parents’ home to your husband’s.

This home is lovely,

new and exciting, but fraught with its own tensions.

This home will stay, you hope.

No matter which part of the globe you’re in,

no matter how many cities you visit,

or how many times you have to buy new furniture,

this home will stay.

Does that mean home is not a place then,

but rather, a person?

People can be so unpredictable.

They come and go.

They have their own tales of home to deal with.

They’re fickle and hard to control,

in fact, not at all within your control.

A decade on, and you start to feel that home is not a person or a place.

It’s you.

Because you’re the only one you can really control,

and trust to be there during every up and down.

Your body, the skin and everything within,

this is your home.

But wait!

Even this home is starting to feel different.

It’s no longer as energetic as it once was.

Aches and pains have erupted in hidden corners of the body that you always took for granted.

This body is aging,

and you realize it won’t be around forever.

What, then, is home?

Not a place,

not a person,

not a human body you think you control.

What is home?

Home is still you,

you eventually conclude,

just not the physical you.

That part is only temporary.

Home is the source from which you came,

and where, hopefully, you’ll one day return.

Home is an invisible being

who embraces you every day

especially when you need it most.

Home is the soul and all that it’s connected to,

which, very conveniently, follows you around the world,

without any moving fees,

or emotional goodbyes,

anxious first days,

or troubling sighs.

Your home was here all along,

the one place you didn’t think to look.

Silly rabbit!

Now that you know where home is,

you need to make sure you take care of it.

Clean it, regularly, of clutter and toxicity.

Warm it with kindness. Beautify it with light.

Take the time to sit in your home for a while,

even on your busiest days.

Really sit

and reflect

on your home,

so that, with time,

this home will show you the way to your next Home,

and everything you must do before you get there.

This home will never leave you.

At the very end,

you’ll be a home within a Home

which will feel like such abundance, because

you started out so clueless,

with no idea of what home is,

and you ended with an infinite array of possibilities.

You learned that you’re the creator of your own home.

You learned that you are home,

but also that

you are home.

*My lovely readers, what do you think of when you think of home?*