Remember Your Journey – Recognize Your Home

October 16, 2009
By , Oxford, OH
Pack your bags, my friend, and join me on this lavenous journey of life – it will take you under roaring waterfalls, perched atop a stool in a warm coffee shop, in the midst of a dense canopy of trees, above mazes of rushing traffic, and in the strangest local bathrooms on this planet. The voyage is long…and perhaps hard, but your luggage is light. Everything you need for this trip is already within you: your heart, your mind, your body.

I saw initial light in Lincoln, Nebraska. I don’t remember a looming doctor, the place I ate or slept, or even what those around me looked like. A while later, I visited China – though seeing as I had hardly been alive long enough to consider anywhere a “visit”, the visit could probably be considered more of a residence for babies. Ohio approached from the horizon not long after. Some strange, unmemorable reunion occurred and I grew up with a mother, father, sister, and occasionally grandparents and other relatives. But none of these places were really my homes at any given time. Why? Simply because I was not conscious of it. Home is safe, controllable, and understandable. But Lincoln, Beijing, and Ohio before I was old enough for memory were places – not homes.

Hooded red sweater, play-dough, stairs, piano failures, eating with my hands, reciting cartoon books, a bunk-bed with hearts, the tooth fairy…from about age 7, my brain seemed to have begun evolving. I have no sense of time through these memories, so everything appears to have happened at age 7, after which I experienced about 2 years of nothingness, followed by a few more months of experiences, proceeded by yet another few years of blank space. Yet through this swirl of time, Ohio, Beijing, and Indiana entered and re-entered my life. I can now actually recall specific events happening instead of stopping mid-action all the time and whispering “déjà vu” creepily to myself after I had learned what it meant. Those three places gradually became my homes. I felt safe making friends and sharing my stories, I felt as if I could control bits and pieces of my life instead of helplessly looking for fate to lead me, and I understood enough about the cultures of each place to feel a sense of belonging. Without these three sentiments, nowhere can become home; with them, I can be at home anytime. I and those around me took our individuality with us and integrated it into the voids that awaited us in each location.

Yet above all, I have a true, immediate home. I only have one of these. This home is wherever my family is – it is where those closest to me reside and feel that same overwhelming sensation of belonging as I do. Ohio, little red home with grass that’s rarely mowed because we’re all just that lazy…you’re my home. Your place in me, in my heart, and in my mind will not change so long as my family does not – you have at least a decade before I see you as just another home. But don’t you worry! Despite the ups and downs, rights and lefts, forwards and backwards, over sideways and unders, you will always be wonderful because – believe it or not – I can and will remember.

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