Here on the Equals Project, and elsewhere—on my own blog, and in the musings of my favorite writers like Miranda Ward of A Literal Girl and Roxanne Krystalli of Stories of Conflict and Love—we talk of an elusive home. We explore what this thing, this state, this feeling means to us, is to us. If we have found it.
If it is not located on a map.
If, as Judy writes in Home Sweet Home, it is not a literal space to fix and construct.
If it shapeshifts as we change.
Or if it is the loved one that holds us, that anchor that keeps us afloat, wherever we may be in the world.
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In Homelands, Miranda asks: What if home is just a memory that we carry with us?
In Home, Karey does not have a clear picture of home: "It still looks like my mom and smells like Oscar de la Renta and vanilla ice cream and chlorine and lilacs and cow manure. . . . It’s in the eyes of someone who has lost her world, someone who’s found it, and someone who’s trying her damnedest to get it all back."
In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Sarah describes her bicoastal identity—the pull of New York, but also her roots in California: "I live in New York, but I am not entirely at home here. When the question of where I am from comes up, my answer tends toward the knee-jerk and almost always mildly defensive: "CALIFORNIA, I am from California." This is said as if to distinguish myself somehow, as if to say 'I really belong somewhere else.'"
In No Place Like Home (Wherever That Is), Shoko places home in quotation marks, which reminds me of Roxanne's piece, Home, in quotation marks, which led me earlier this spring to explore my own definitions of home and love, and how they intertwine—or if they are one and the same.
What if home is not the birthplace, the stacked bricks laden with memories, but the new place, filled with learning, with promise, and with love?
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In Roxanne's recent post on her blog, she refers to her explorations of home and away as a "serial infidelity to place," which also reminds me of Miranda's musings from last fall on a visit to London, and whether or not she could live there, and how it's interesting that even though she has a home in Oxford, she's still window-shopping for places to live.
So it appears that while we are all different, born and raised in different countries, living now in different places, or between places, or constantly on the go, we share a special something, a quality I sense in each of us and hear in our voices. We redefine ourselves with each stop, each state of stagnancy, but also with our movements and lapses of change. We ask these same questions over and over again, which both comfort and confuse. We are driven by such elusiveness—driven to inspiration but also to uncertainty, and maybe to loneliness, but certainly driven, period.
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I do love the haze produced by these questions of home; it's the best kind of fog—a cloudiness I don't mind.
Indeed, lately my head has floated about in this fog. So, so many things: engaged at the end of June, and then married to my beloved the day before the Fourth of July. Perhaps my mind hasn't been clouded, but is rather in the clouds. And I've been thinking a lot about my evolving definition of home, and how it continues to change now that my long-distance relationship has morphed into a marriage, here in San Francisco.
Can I finally remove the quotation marks, or place it in regular font and not in italics, because the person who has encapsulated this word is now physically next to me, each day?
Has my exploration of home come to an end?
As I read the words of the other women on the Equals Project and elsewhere, and their very different but very similar worlds, I know this is not possible; if anything, I continue on a trajectory in which the target continues to move, a bullseye that shifts as I, and my husband, grow together.
At the moment, that's all I know: that home continues to surprise and elude, that it can be many things and something unreachable at once, and that the one thing that matters right now is realizing this journey is no longer just mine, but ours.