Home isn’t always a place. Sometimes, it is—and it’s a whole city. Other times, it’s a person. It’s the lyrics in a song that means the world to you. It’s your favorite comfort food after a rough day. It’s coming the pitter patter of your cats’ paws on the floor as she walks over to greet you.
For me, the definition of home has been ever changing.
At 16, home was my first love. In the beginning, he was gentle and kind and caring. At the end of it all, he was distant and cold. He told me I was “too much.” It scared me. It kept me from letting anyone else into my world—for fear they, too, would label me as such. And for a long time, I didn’t let anyone in. It was lonely, to say the least.
At 19, home was a boy I learned from. The first boy I ever truly opened up to. Maybe he didn’t always understand me, but he tried to. He wanted to. He took a hammer to the walls I’d built so high…even I couldn’t see over them. He tore them down so he could climb inside and dust off the ruins. He gave me hope that there would be others, later, willing to do the same. He taught me about the importance of feminism, politics, and sharing your voice even when it feels like no one is listening. You just have to do it for yourself. Someone will hear you. Without his presence in my life, I’m fairly certain that I wouldn’t be the smart, strong, sensual woman I am today. He came into my life for a reason, and for that I am grateful.
At 23, home was a city. Dublin, Ireland, to be exact. My time living there was brief—only one semester spent at University College Dublin—but they were, to this day, some of the best months of my life. Dublin is a city that’s best explored on foot, with your best friend from the next apartment building over at your side for the duration, and a sense of adventure in your heart. If you ever have the opportunity to spend time there—however little—I urge you to take it. Just as I did, you, too, will fall in love. The people, the culture, and the beauty of it all will likely pull you in, as it did me, and enamor you.
Now, at 26, home is no longer a place. It’s not the room I wake up in, where I relax, or where I have breakfast. No—home is promise of possibility. Home is the future. Home is the next chapter of my life—whatever that entails. Home is the amazing, strong, and brave people in my life who inspire me every day to be more, do better, and love harder than I ever have before.
Home is no longer being afraid to do those things.
And I hope you aren’t, either.