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Coming Home

"Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life's undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room." ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

I don't know where home is anymore. Supposedly, I am here now. But I occasionally think, with absurd ambivalence, that I want to go home. And when I think I want to go home - for that tumultuous, turgid fifteen or thirty minutes or sixty minutes- I mean my latest home, and that is in Dubai.

It's hard for me to say where "home" is. Now, it is in Dubai - or at least I have referred to Dubai as home since December, when I felt it was time to make an exit from the cacophonous subcontinent back to the desert. Yet, as summer holiday approached I began to think about coming home - to the United States and more specifically North Carolina. I lived in North Carolina for ten years, my entire adult life until I left for Dubai, and prior to that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, respectively. While I usually tell folks I grew up in Ohio - because physically I did - I, in fact, grew up in North Carolina - most importantly - emotionally and mentally. My mother and my brother remain in Ohio. My father and my stepmother live in Atlanta, and that is my "home base" when I am in the States. And to a certain degree, all of these places - Indiana, Pittsburgh, Ohio, North Carolina, and Atlanta, are some semblance of home - or what home is supposed to be.

These places are my family and my friends. They are places where I have lived and lost and loved. They are joy, silence, laughter, love, acceptance, rejection, sorrow, ecstasy, anguish, chaos, familiarity, nostalgia, turbulence and resilience - all of the things that make up home as well as break it down. They are amazing food in restaurants I already know, they are people I worked with and was inspired by, they are bars where I spent many a summer evening, they are short visits with pals filled with chatter and light and laughter and a longing to continue but acknowledging that the feeling is fleeting and so is the meeting so here is our quick goodbye - again...sort of a little too similar to last year - isn't it?

It's fierce - this feeling of anguish and angst to return to Dubai, to a location I fought with for months, and fought against for months until I accepted it was mine. Knowing I was so excited to come here, to come home, and then arriving and it's amazing and it's almost everything I hoped it would be, but then for a minute, for an hour, those distorted thoughts and feelings overwhelm me and I picture my unpacked flat and my eccentric security guard and the ease of daily life and I "want to go home". Then I am perplexed and awash with guilt and shame simultaneously mixed with comfort and inextricably linked to what I know not, and I wonder about the holidays and next summer and when and if and how I will "come home" again.

And now I am here. Loving every moment. Living every moment. Accepting everything the Universe has to offer. And when those forty-five minutes or so roll around...and I am submerged in discomfort and living the questions, I do not escape it. I do not resist it as I did my new home. I embrace the fear and acceptance and the tears and the peace. I reflect on my people and the amazing visit I have had over the past three weeks and I smile and I am grateful I am here. And when someone asks me when I go back and I realize it is is ONLY ________ weeks (now five), I return to the present and I contemplate "home" - a place and a definition I have been seeking and finding and leaving for the majority of my life, and I breathe. Because whether home is in Ohio or Atlanta, or North Carolina or Dubai, or with my family or with my friends, or with my Papi or where the heart is - or all of it and none of it at the same time - "wherever you go, there you are" and maybe home is there also.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Home is a place where I can fall asleep on the couch at will. Home is a place where family and/or friends can be summoned on short notice. Home is a place I can be alone. Home is a place where I can be barefoot without being creeped out. Home is a place bearing little stress, where I don't need to be on my best behavior, where I don't have to wear earrings or mascara. Home, for me too, is many places.

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