Ever since that young woman with pigtails and ruby slippers clicked her heels and uttered those five magic words “There’s no place like home”, we as a community have been obsessed with the idea of finding ours… All right maybe not the whole community… Some of us… Alright, me… I have been obsessed with the idea of finding home… That elusive place beyond the rainbow where “happy” is a reality instead of just a concept.
As an adolescent “home” was a place filled with dysfunction and abuse so avoiding it became my ultimate goal. As a young adult I spent years looking for a relationship that would provide me with the love and comfort I so desperately sought as an adolescent… A place where “dreams really do come true” and “happily ever after” was a reality. But, as we all eventually learn, that “ideal” is incredibly flawed. Flawed because in order to know home we have to find home within ourselves… And little old naïve, innocent me took a while to figure that out. Although looking back I have to say I have genuine respect for that younger (deer in the headlights) version of myself… That self to whom everything seemed so simple (and one dimensional)… That self I still carry with me and treat with respect and love because he really is one of the better parts of me.
SIDEBAR: I still believe in “happily ever after”, it’s just now I know it takes a whole lot of work and even with that work it may turn out that my happily ever is very different from someone else’s… Just thought I’d share that. Moving on.
There is an old expression, “You can’t go home again” and as often times happens with old expression, they’re not entirely true and really don’t stand up to the test of time. And here is why I say that.
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to hang out with my best friend growing up. Someone who I hadn’t seen in more than 25 years and someone who knew (and still does know me) like no one else ever will. And during the afternoon we spent together walking through the streets of Manhattan and reminiscing and catching up on each other’s lives John (my friend) gifted me with one of the kindest things anyone has every said to me:
“I wish I had known about you (the fact that I am gay) when we were kids. Maybe you would have felt less alone.”
And that’s when it hit me. I was home. I was with someone who knew and accepted me for exactly who I was and that was as true in that moment as it was when the two of us were children. I never felt like I was alone with John and more importantly I always felt like I was home. And that realization led me to another awaking… I have always been blessed with a home. Not the “four wall” variety of home but a home where my heart felt safe. A home where I never felt judged and could just be myself. And that moment set off a chain reaction of moments just like that. Moments filled with friends and lovers who all made me feel safe and loved. Moments that, over time, have built a home filled with love and laughter and beautiful memories that have, and continue to, decorate my soul.
Home truly is wherever we are. The four walls are irrelevant. What is relevant are the photos and keepsakes left behind by those who, if even for a moment, saw into our hearts and loved us for exactly who we are. That is the beauty of this life. That is home.