Redefining Home

I rewatched my short vlog on snapchat and did a double take when I heard myself:  "I made it home to L.A." Home?  When ...

I rewatched my short vlog on snapchat and did a double take when I heard myself: 
"I made it home to L.A."
When did this place become 'home?' 
When did I become capable of creating my own space? 
Then I realized, "when was I ever not creating my own space?" 

They say home is not the places you are, it's the people you're with. The song 'Home is Wherever I'm with You' (get thee to YouTube now if you haven't heard it) has always been a favorite, and I naturally assumed that I'd feel most myself with whomever 'you' I was belting the verses to one day.  But I only recently realized that I didn't necessarily have "my" people. I have my family, of course; but as one that's freshly independent, settling into city fairly far away from your acquaintances or handful of dear friends outside of them has been an interesting challenge. Just like the song. 

"Home" isn't something that has been recently well-defined in my own book, personally; because, well, here I am - away - and I feel as if I'm most myself, or at least at peace to be.  How backwards is that? 

The people to make up that "home" definition, though they were perhaps few and far between over the years, were so delightfully and easily accessible - something that should not once be taken for granted. I laugh thinking about all the times Alexandrea and I said that everything closed in Palm Springs too early for you to do anything but go find a restaurant or hole-in-the-wall during the summer. Yet here I am, in the heart of Los Angeles, a city definitely not my favorite or where I would choose to live forever, with places open later than I can usually keep my eyes open, with no one to go to them with. 

but i still call this place home? 
for now. 
Home is where I feel most myself. That's the new definition. 
When I move on in August into an actual little house, that will be the new home. 
When I have treasured and cherished people and add them to my safe haven of trust & vulnerability, wherever I am, that's home. 

It's like the first time I left the 'home' church I attended for years. When I told my family, 'I can't do this anymore.'  

I left. Went what some call church-hopping, and scared myself as I walked in the doors of church after church. 

It was one of those ways God helped me find myself and realize. It took time for me to be okay with staying and mingling after services when I thought I found the right one. It took courage for me to go back, week after week, and to sit by myself in a church overflowing with young families, young people, couples, and everyone in between. Not what I was used to. But it was worth it, because that was the new home I had found - or rather, the new home I had been led to. I wouldn't leave that home now for anything. Somehow, God had already immediately stabilized my heart there.

I stopped worrying about anyone watching me walk down the street when I turned seventeen. The self-counsciousness that I was either too tall, not quite conforming to my industry standards, that everyone was 'watching me' to judge. But here we are. It took about seven minutes of stepping past my apartment threshold to realize that I was walking like my early seventeen-year-old-self again, and it took just thirty seconds after that realization for me to change that stance.

This is no different than changing churches, as strange as it seems or as odd as it may sound. I changed the doorknobs on my doors the other day, strung the key to the small collection that lie heavy on my chest when I leave, and felt a wave of accomplishment and capability. And again, the feeling makes you sit down or step out for a walk, look at yourself in the mirror before you leave, double-knot your adventuring shoes as you step out the door, take a deep breath, and recognize who you are - not who or what others have breathed into you or possibly perceive you as. That I'm still me. That, yes, I still know what and who I stand for, what defines me. Perhaps not where I'm going (which is, honestly, half the fun for me), but at least where I want to be. And that it is worth it to step out beyond the self-imposed comfort zone, beyond the steps and walls of your old home, and to grow green things and love.

Perhaps we are not quite the same people after all.

And, perhaps, that's for the best. 

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