I beg the universe to let me feel again.
I want emotion to wash over me like heavy rain, coming down in sheets of forgiveness from Heaven, of purity in each individual drop. I want my hair to be drenched and my makeup to run off, to look up at the sky with no veneer, with no way to veil the thoughts of my heart.
But I feel nothing.
There is no purity. There is no emotion. There is no rain.
When did I allow my heart to grow cold? In the midst of “hellos” and maybe more importantly, “goodbyes,” I forgot that empathy is one of my greatest gifts to the world. And one of the world’s greatest gifts to me. As I’ve jumped from place to place, I’ve allowed stoicism to overtake my soul and paint black over every lonely blue and angry red. I’ve watched myself become too “logical” and “nomadic” to deeply invest my heart in relationships. And I forgot that to feel deeply and desperately isn’t weakness, but instead beauty.
That at the intersection of self-reflection and living in the moment there is a beautiful synergy, found by choosing to really BE wherever I am. That, no matter where I’ve traveled in the world, it is always the stories of people that are the most moving and memorable aspects of any physical place. That deeply knowing someone and knowing their story is one of the most incredible privileges available. That observing tender vulnerability evokes emotion. That to be trusted with someone’s story is not only a great honor, but also contributes to my own story.
While my default setting used to be “feel,” it has somehow shifted to “not” and I am fighting to open my heart back up to the possibility that maybe it’s okay to start feeling again. That although home has been a hotel room for so long; maybe it’s time to find home in people instead of in places.
I’ve realized how much my adult life seems to be focused on living for the next step, the next place, the next promotion. That “home” has become an illusion I cling to when I am lonely or lost. That I haven’t actually felt at “home” in many years, with next steps always in clear view and living in temporary houses with white walls. Paint is too permanent for a nomad.
Then I think of people: My mom, who listens to every detail of every day. My childhood best friend, who has a husband and a 2 year old but still makes time to talk about dreams, faith, and boys. My brother, who is currently transforming from “Southern Tide” into “Urban Outfitters” and weekly sends me pictures of potential new clothing investments. My best friends from college, who aren’t surprised when I send them group texts with pictures of potential date outfits or with pleas for prayer. My grandma, who never forgets to send an American Flag bracelet for the 4th of July or a ghost pin for Halloween.
And I realize that maybe “home is where the heart is” isn’t so far off after all. That maybe I should stop romanticizing this concept of finding a “home” and realize what’s in front of me. That when I throw my heart into people, they all become parts of home. And then, home goes with me everywhere.
Every new place, every uncertain thought about the future, and every night that feels lonely collides with fireflies that light up darkness, love that shatters veneers, and a heart that is always at home.