You shouldn’t have to hide in your bedroom when other people get home and shove headphones over your ears to drown out their sounds. You shouldn’t have to bite your tongue until it bleeds because you know speaking your mind would start a fight. You shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable inside of your own home. You shouldn’t have to feel like an outsider in the one place that is built to bring you comfort.
When you’re at home, you shouldn’t be thinking about how badly you want to move out. When you’re at home, you shouldn’t feel like you are trapped in your own personal version of hell. If you feel that way every time you step through the front door, then you are in your house, but you aren’t actually in your home.
Home isn’t the place where you drive to after a stressful day of work if a part of you wishes you were still at work — because even though your boss might not respect you and your customers might make you want to bang your head against a counter, at least you stay busy at work. At least you feel useful. At least you feel comfortable. You don’t have time to worry about anything real while you’re there, because you’re focused on getting your job done.
Home isn’t the place where you sleep if you wake up ten times per night because you can never get comfortable. Because you’re worried something bad is going to happen soon. Because you are waiting to hear screaming or slamming doors or drunken arguments. Because all of your bad dreams are realistic dreams, dreams about the house you’re living in, about the people you’re living alongside.
Home isn’t the place where you shower, shit, and sleep. That is just a house. That is just four walls and a roof that keep you from starving to death and/or freezing to death.
Home is the place where you feel safe. Home is the place where you feel understood. Home is the place where you feel relaxed, at ease, at peace.
If your anxiety gets worse whenever you walk into the house, if you stay out extra late with friends to avoid coming back inside, if your headphones have become your best friend because you never stop blasting the stereo, then you need to move. You need to scrape money together and get the hell out of there.
I know that isn’t as easy as it sounds. I know you might have to work longer hours. I know you might have to sell some of your stuff. I know you might have to downgrade. Maybe instead of having three bedrooms and two bathrooms, you’ll have a one bedroom apartment without a working shower. Maybe instead of living rent-free, you’ll have to pay over a thousand per month.
But even though leaving will be an inconvenience, it’s better to live somewhere you feel comfortable. Somewhere you don’t dread returning to after your day is done. Somewhere you don’t stay out late drinking or driving through empty streets to avoid.
It’s better to live in a home than a house.