I used to be a travel girl. The best feeling I could ever imagine was to be on the road. It didn’t much matter where I was going, as that I was going somewhere and that somewhere should be as further from home as possible. Could it be that my feelings of unbelongness rooted in my unstable family, or maybe I got used to escape from home, the place of never-ending problems….I don’t know. But the most important thing that I understood later is that it became part of my personality only because of the life I was having, and not because of some genetic modification imprinted into my chromosomes.
Leaving home at the age of sixteen, made me realize how much joy and relief I could experience by simply dissociating myself from my family. Total freedom. Kind of food, lack of proper sleep, lack of comfortable living conditions, all that didn’t matter as long as no one cared for where I was or what I was doing. Not that my parents ever limited my freedom of choice, but there was constant emotional stress, caused mostly by my mom’s depressive disorder, that made our home unbearable at times. Free from her mood swings, hysterias, depression parties, I felt myself a totally different person. A person who was capable of enjoying life around him, detached from the emotional state at home.
My home-free life continued into the university years. Home-sickness was the feeling unknown to me, which distinguished me from most of my dormitory friends. I pitied them for being so family-dependant, they pitied me for being so emotionally remote from my family. To me, however, I was not emotionally remote enough. My parents would constantly call me, bombarding me with their problems. They rarely cared or listened to my problems (of which they knew so little), but always expected from me to help them in whatever way I could. The burden of being the only one responsible for their health and well-being got so heavy at times, that I remember repeatedly wishing I had no family at all. I knew I had to escape further, until one day it finally happened: I got a scholarship to Japan!
To me it was a dream come true. People would look at me as if I was telling them I was going to Mars; to some it was totally unrealistic. How could they know that the mere idea of being on the other part of the globe appeared to me nearly orgasmic. Last months passed quickly between packing and finishing my thesis and finally I was on the plane on the long-awaited journey to Hakkaido (the northen Japanese island). Jumping on the half-empty plane from one window to the other, picturing the beautiful scenes, I saw a young guy, sitting by the emergency door, crying. Several people gathered around him, to calm him down. At first I thought that he was afraid of the flight, but then a girl explained to me that he felt very home-sick. Obviously I couldn’t relate. We were approaching Hokkaido, roaming over the ocean and suddenly I realized that I WAS on the other part of the globe already! I was on the island as remote as it can get from home! It was hard to believe that my state of euphoria and that poor guy’s tears were both caused by the same fact!
My feeling of homelessness never bothered me as long as I was all by myself. I could pack and go as far as my finances would allow. Seeing new places, meeting new people all seemed to be natural part of my life wherever I happened to be. And as naturally as it could be, there emerged a new friend walking with me haunting my dreams: a love of my life. At first, he was just a dream that accompanied me on my life path, coloring my days and shortening my nights. Then he became more and more real, intervened more and more into my life; my dreams became our dreams and my future became our future. Finally, I could no longer stand our separate names and started longing for marriage. Why? What did marriage mean to me at that time? Tying a person by his hands and legs, so that he can belong to me forever? So I could drag him behind me across the globe, hoping that he wouldn’t resist much. He did resist sometimes of course and we would fight over something I thought was my destiny.
Sadly my homelessness continued into my motherhood. We moved from place to place, changing houses, neighbors, countries….in a constant search of some perfect emotional state. Houses didn’t mean anything to me more that hips of cement blocks or stones, neighbors were accident acquaintances, countries were fields that we could roam. We packed, unpacked, counted miles of tiredness and throw ups, never actually arriving anywhere we could rest. There was something totally wrong with our family. It lacked a soul, where one could find peace and comfort. It lacked a home……
A home….but that was exactly what I was trying to escape from all my life! How could I make it if the only home I’ve known was a sad place of constant depression? How could I create something I never lived or experienced? Neither was I raised in one, nor did I learn how to make one in my countless years of study. Suddenly, to my horror, I realized that the whole idea of building a home was not merely strange to me; it was something that I resisted with my whole being. I didn’t want a home; I was so used to living without it that having it was appearing totally boring and dreadful. I was born to be free, I told myself, I would never need a home, and I don’t want my kids to get attached to something that could vanish any time.
No matter how fun at times, our scattered life began to wear me. We were totally unprepared for any breakdown that could happen with three small kids constantly on the road. There was no source of well-being in case some sickness strikes. There was no source of self-fulfillment, no warmth of a family. Until one morning, I finally realized that I should invest energy into something that would provide us with energy when we need it. That something was exactly that same hazy, unknown place that I dreaded so much; that something was a home…..
A home…I would never imagine that it gives you back much more than you invest! I decided to step on my fear and built it for my family, but I never thought I would actually build it for myself! Without even realizing, I had built it for my lost, homeless me, who many years back searched for it in vain… It was a place where I could dream, without fear of being rejected or ridiculed. It was a place where my soul belonged forever staying free…..