Although I’ve never been homeless, it feels like I don’t have a home. All my life, I’ve struggled to find and accept one. To me, a home is a place where you feel content and secure. I’m so close to finding this sanctuary that it pains me, but I’m not there yet. I think that if it weren’t for my troubled childhood, I would be able to find a place to call my own.
Growing up with two alcoholic parents doesn’t exactly set you up for success. I did have a perfect childhood, until my parents split up. After the divorce, my sister and I started living with our mother. This is when her alcoholism truly took control of her life, and ours. We would come home from school not knowing whether or not she would be intoxicated. At eight, I started to become traumatized by her instability and behavioral antics. We were too young to realize what was going on, but this had become our new life. Because of her alcoholism, I was forced to become an adult and take care of her while I raised my sister as well as myself. This life had broken any and all the memories I had of a home. Ten years later, I had a second chance of finding a place to call my own.
When I was eighteen, I moved in with a friend and his family. They accepted me and treat me like their own. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me and am eternally grateful, but even with all their support and love, I can’t help but to hesitate about calling their house my home. The constant tension within the house triggers something within me, making it difficult to relax there. because of the tension, I still return not knowing what I’m coming back to. This instability brings me back to when I was with my mother. They truly try to make me as comfortable as possible, but I’m still stuck in the past.
The closest thing to home I’ve ever had was my dorm at SUNY Geneseo. It was just me and my cat. I had my own space. The major difference was that the dorm was “mine.” I didn’t have to be anxious about what I would come back to. I had a safe space. This fall I will start an intercultural and interpersonal communications degree at SUNY New Paltz. I will once again be dorming and to me that means I’ll have a temporary home. I understand that home is what you make of it, but I just can’t adapt to living with others yet. I think that in order for me to let go of my past, I need to live on my own for the time being.
Home matters to me, as it should to everyone. Although I’m not quite there yet, I believe that my home is out there waiting for me. I’m not sure how I’ll get there, but I know I will. In the end everything works out, I’m just one step behind.