Home is where I can be alone. Be myself.
Home is where I feel comfortable, warm, happy and secure.
Home is calm. Home is peace.
Home is solitude and familiarity.
It isn't about the stuff that fills it, it isn't about the bricks and mortar. It's the essence of home that I crave, the feeling of home, the comfort of home. I could live in any house and feel at home just as long as my loves are living in it with me.
When I was younger, wilder, and adrift in the world with no safe place to go, I had a fantasy home imprinted in my mind. This home was a tiny cottage at the base of a hill, it is winter time in this fantasy and cold outside. There is warm light in the windows and smoke curling out of the chimney. This was accompanied by a feeling that I belonged to somebody and they were on their way home to me. The atmosphere was calming and peaceful and I wanted those things so badly, it would often make me feel sick.
They call it homesick for a reason. At school you would sometimes find yourself floored by a wave of homesickness, the feeling coming out of nowhere in response to a smell, a sound or a memory. I would often feel homesick in the dinner queue, or watching the Eastenders omnibus on a Sunday. One summer term, when I was ten, I felt homesick every single night and had to be given 'sleeping tablets' by matron which seemed to work and which I later found out were nothing but paracetamol.
I have that longed for comfort now, so I cherish and guard it with a passion. I try not to be away from home for any extended length of time (yes holidays are a wrench), or socialise on consecutive days. When the weekend calendar is empty, I rejoice, for sitting on the sofa with a book reigns supreme. I am happy when it's raining outside because it means I have an excuse to stay in all day and when the snow comes and traps us in our houses, you will find me doing a dance, I am in heaven.
I used to feel embarrassed that I felt this way, being an introvert in a world of extroverts can be difficult at the best of times. But I'm too old to be embarrassed of who I am now, plus you get to forty and realise that you don't give a shit what anyone else thinks anyway.
This crocheted star garland has already had several incarnations. I just can't seem to get happy with it.
So today I took it apart and rearranged the stars differently, joined them from the top in an attempt to resolve the 'flapping' issues and removed the small stars out altogether, I'm much happier with the result, it hangs better for sure but it seems a bit, um, boring now.
Should I add something to it?
I suppose it can't hurt to try but I'm just feeling a bit meh about the whole thing now. Learning serious garlandy lessons here, I always thought they were a bish, bosh, bash, kind of project. You know, a can't go wrong and anything goes type of project.
I was wrong.
You need some skills to make these pretty things on string work.
The smaller stars are in fact very cute, and probably need a project of their own now they've been rejected and are sitting in a heap on the dining table looking sad.
The power of transformation intrigues me.
Our ability (or not) to change and grow, sometimes drastically, often subtly, is a constant source of interest. I'm obsessed with stories of transformation, I devour them hungrily, perhaps as a way to justify my own mutable life, or perhaps because I enjoy discovering the courageous ones who told themselves they could and so they did.
I like stories where people say no to the accepted way that things are, the different ways they have learned to accept themselves; those thighs, that glass of wine, these feelings. I like people who slough off old skins and transform themselves, people who radically change their world for the pure unadulterated betterment of themselves.
Lifestyle, physical, attitude changes, anything adopted in the name of a happier life is inspirational. These people have tapped into the great, largely unmapped, territory of "I deserve better than this", when we are often led to believe that we don't. These are the special ones who have realised that transformation is there for the taking. As Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy "you had the power all along my dear".
I salute you transformers (robots in disguise), I wait with anticipation to hear news about exciting things happening in your lives. I try, with some small success, to emulate your gritted determination. Yes, I want to be Dorothy too.
A small shift in mindset, a tiny shift in perception and a determination to effect change and we can do anything we want, we can be anything we want. Magical creatures every single one of us.
I did Wordsworth at school, did you?
I can remember the lovely bounce of Daffodils as it tripped off my tongue but apart from that I wasn't really interested. Bit dull. Plus there were boys to be thinking about, Wordsworth could get stuffed.
Then I visited Ullswater in the spring and I understood why all the fuss, Wordsworth was onto something after all. I discovered he was much more than the sum of his lonely wanderings, his poetry moved me, it moves me still, I understand him.
This ode: intimations on immortality, is my favourite. The first line feels like a half-remembered secret, did I know that? Who told me? When?
I have forgotten.
Words travel across the years to reach us all at different moments in time, always at the right time. These words came to me, reached in to my soul and gave it a squeeze and Will's timing could not have been better.