Home Is Quite Different Than House, And I'm Finally Home

waking up

We moved into our new home about a week-and-a-half ago. We're slowly getting it all unpacked and painting finished before I show it to you. Above is your sneak peak at a radiator!

I keep wanting to write about it, because it is exciting to have our first ever piece of real estate, and it is lovely to boot. We're now living in an apartment that was built in 1914 with all its gorgeous original windows and hardwood floors, which makes it so much easier to claim that all our aging, secondhand furniture is on purpose. I am seriously in love with this place. Yes, I have kissed its walls.

me painting our new condo

As is my usual style, though, I am having many feelings about this whole home thing, which requires much introspection and deep thinking and eating of dark chocolate with sea salt.

Sometime around the age of four, I lost my sense of home, or at least that is when I became aware of feeling like a visitor everywhere. Maybe it was because I was becoming conscious of my discomfort with my body, or maybe it was because we moved to a new house at that time and it interrupted my chi. I grew up in a stable home with relatively happy parents, but I was still somehow stuck with the keen awareness that all things were temporary and that I did not belong.

painting-induced hand injuries

As an adult, it's likely that I have moved over ten times, I've had roommates and I've lived alone, and I've never had a home. I have been squatting on borrowed space. I let the dirt accumulate, I let the appliances deteriorate, and when I have had enough, I move on. Now, though, I am quite unexpectedly experiencing that feeling that I am sure is what everyone has been talking about when they say they feel "at home". I always caught the gist of that sentiment, but I never really knew the flavour. Now I do.

I had no reason to believe, no faith, that I would come to this place and discover this kind of animal comfort. I just thought it would be a place that I would treat better because it is an investment, but now I sweep the floors because I love this place. I sweep the floors because the Palinode lives here, and I love him. I sweep the floors because we are family here: the Palinode, the cats, the apartment, and I.

cats on their new window sill

All of you with homes, or with the memory of homes, be thankful. Home is quite different than house, and we all have this sense. It's really a unique and incredible feeling. It's safety, it's calm, it's a nest for those I love, and it's liberating to have this space. There is a vigilance I have long held in my chest, an anxious watchfulness, because no place was mine. All places were merely borrowed or lent, and anything could be taken away, but that vigilance is mostly lifted here, aside from my normal fears of home invasion and fire.

And now I am here, home and wondering how long this feeling gets to hold out. Does it last? Can I fall out of it?

After 35 years of wandering, I have a physical space that is mine in the world, and this gratitude I feel makes up for all the time that I did not.