on home

I’ve never felt really attached to anywhere; I’ve always struggled with defining what my home is. Now that I live in the United States, people assume that when I say home I mean Spain, and I don’t correct them. Perhaps they are right. Nonetheless, I feel that I’m always lying, no matter what I say, when I talk about home.

When we call a place home, we assume we’re not talking about where we live. There is a connotation to that word, a heavy meaning. The idea of home implies many things that have nothing to do with any physical space. It comes with a sense of belonging to that place in particular, with a recognition of yourself as a part of that environment. Home means you stay linked to that place, no matter where you are. Home is a place that has seen you, in one way or another, grow. Home holds your secrets. Home welcomes you back, no matter what.

I’ve grown in many places and I’ve hidden many secrets, but I don’t have a place that welcomes me back. It’s natural; I’ve never been fully committed to anywhere, I’ve never let myself build that link. I still don’t. I’m the observer, and I’ve always been. 

My relationship with the places I’ve lived in is very similar to my relationship with the people I’ve loved. I give it all to the story, and when it’s over, I move on.

Said like that, it seems like a questionable philosophy. And perhaps it’s indeed questionable, but it is not really a philosophy—it’s a way to describe how my circumstances determine what interests me, and how what interests me determines what my life is about. When the road I’m sharing with someone else ends, I naturally find another road. When I feel I’ve understood the mysteries of a place, the attachment I feel to that place starts to vanish.  

The thing with home is that you cannot leave it, though. The symbolism of home resides in a place that holds you. Home is the refuge for that virtual part of yourself that never changes, and that never will. 

The days I feel good about myself, I like to picture my inability of staying attached to my past as a result of my natural tendency of being present. I’m passionate, after all; to me, the future is too exciting and the present too interesting. The past offers me little. Past people, past places. I’ve been there before, I tend to think. My urge for discovery pushes me forward.

That’s part true, of course. But I wonder how much of it has nothing to do with passion and everything to do with fear. With the fear of being understood but unaccepted, or never understood at all. 

Many other days, this is the story that resonates.

In any case, me and my past don’t go along well. I behave badly when I think about it. The past is always melancholic, and I am not good at escaping melancholy: it’s an emotion that sinks me in. But our past tells us who we are, after all. What we’ve already lived, the people we’ve already loved, the places that meant so much to us and now mean very little—we’ll still find something new in those memories, if we don’t let their meaning fade. 

I guess that’s why home is so powerful: a concept that never fades. It’s an idea that is, above all, comforting—because it holds your sense of self. That sense of self that seems to vanish through the years. Through the changes. 

I wonder if I’ll ever do it, saving all of me in only one spot. I still distribute the pieces that make myself me, leaving some here, some over there. It still feels good to know that it will be difficult for anyone to get the whole picture. But sometimes, I crave home. The ruthless acceptance of home. That safety.