The American novelist Chuck Palahniuk said it best: “I am the combined effort of everyone I have ever known.”
And in this combined effort, I have created some semblance of a home.
I tend to find pieces of myself in people. As I meet new people and our relationships ebb and flow, so too do the feelings of home brighten and fade within them.
Once, I found home in the strong arms of friends and lovers. When I called to them, their smile would light up the rooms within. As our bodies connected, I could feel myself become one with them, our heartbeats pounding in perfect sync. We were friends, we were lovers, we were home for each other.
You knew me intimately, in the way that the walls of my room don’t judge me. You saw through me, through my fronts and my facades. You knew exactly what to say when I was feeling blue and you knew how to lift me even higher when I was already feeling on top of the world.
You were my rock and my home.
As our relationship strengthened, so would our foundation. We would build a home of strong brick and concrete. In every room, we would hang photos on the walls to commemorate the happy times that we shared together: the crazy nights where we forgot who we were as we danced the night away. The quiet moments alone in my room while Copeland played in the background. That one beer too many that made us extra vulnerable to tell each other how we truly felt.
But then our relationship disintegrated, and as a result, our sense of home with one another faded. We got into fights and screaming matches, slammed doors in each other’s faces and avoided each other for weeks. We hid in our rooms, and the temperature of our home fell into a deep freeze.
Eventually you would tell me that you couldn’t do this anymore. You wanted to move out. And suddenly I’m sitting in an empty wooden frame, a single light bulb hanging overhead trying desperately not to burn out. But it does anyways.
Suddenly, this home is just an empty frame of what was.
When you moved out, you took a part of me with you, and my trembling hands reached out to grab yours. Don’t go, I whisper. I don’t want to be left here alone.
But your mind was made up, and you turned to bid farewell. Later on, I would find out that you would come to build a home with someone new.
I spent months, years even, trying to rebuild my home with someone new. But with every home that I build, the foundation starts off weakly, cautiously. I tell myself not to put people on a pedestal, not to let them in too quickly, and not to be so trusting.
But aren’t these the best parts about being at home? To be comfortable in the space that you’re in, to have the option to bare your soul and your body, and to be reunited with the ones who you love?
This essay was published in the fifth edition of Maker’s Magazine, entitled “Home”. Learn more about Maker’s Magazine, and shop this issues and back issues, here!