I have always felt saddened by the fact that “you can’t go home”, but today I felt a sense of relief as I read a quote from Maya Angelou. In her book, Letters to My Daughter she states:
“Thomas Wolfe warned in the title of America’s great novel that ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’ I enjoyed the book but I never agreed with the title. I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears, and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes, and possibly in the gristle of the ear lobe.”
I agree with her wholeheartedly. I have always thought it so sad that supposedly I couldn’t go home, especially since I live where I grew up. Am I here and not supposed to be? Even when I didn’t live in my home town I still carried it with me and never, ever left it behind. True, I don’t have many friends here. True, there are some less than happy memories here. But I grew up with this dirt under my fingernails and in the seat of my britches. I grew up with this mud oozing between my toes. I grew up breathing this air. I looked up everyday as a child and saw this sky.
Not that I haven’t tried to get away, thinking if I left I could “start over”. My new starts were only bandaids, hiding wounds and scars that were always going to be there no matter what. The shadows, the dreams, the fears, the dragons, always right there with me, hanging around my neck like a noose. I thought if I left, I could leave behind “who I was” and be somebody else. Didn’t work. Not even one time did it work. That “who I was” was, remarkably, “who I was” no matter where my tailbone landed. That “who I was” is still “who I am”.
But I am, as I’ve written before, learning to love “who I am”.
Slow process…big rewards.
Also a very remarkable fact I’ve discovered is that all I had to do was reach up and loosen the noose around my neck and BREATHE. I am in control. I never really had to leave in the first place. There now…all better…I can go home.
I am at home.
I am at home even in this old house that is falling apart around me. I am at home when everyone else around me seems strange, wearing masks so I can’t see who they really are. I am at home when there is war next door and murder down the street.
BUT I also believe that HOME is where your heart is. HOME is where you hang you hat. HOME is where you plop your butt. Anyplace can be home. So if you’re not playing in the dirt you grew up in – take the shadows, dreams, fears and dragons of home and plant them in the dirt you stand in now.
Have I contradicted myself? Probably.
The truth is…home is wherever I chose to be.
Plain and simple.
But its never truly black and white. Only shades of gray.
And nothing is written in stone. I can be home, go home, leave home, or build a new home…anytime I want to.
I’ll hush talking now. I’m confusing myself. Am I home or not?