On birthdays and finding home

I’m not someone who is with good opening lines. I also don’t consider myself to be well-read. At least not anymore. At best, I read now and then fall asleep like some older adult. This has also come through in my writing. While I don’t necessarily write for anyone but myself, I can’t help but think that my lack of reading (effectively, at least) has made me a crappy writer. Does that make sense? It’s also quite funny because I now tell people I write content for a living. But it also makes me wonder if I actually do that anymore.

But this lack of knowledge, or wisdom or whatever you want to call it, has made me feel more inadequate than usual lately. I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of recent mental health challenges, but suddenly I feel like I know very little.

It was my birthday recently. Just like how I would usually spend my birthdays in thought, reflection and depression, this one was no different. But this time also brought a lot of other questions that I have been unsuccessfully trying to find answers for. It was lonelier than usual, but it wasn’t because I was away from “home” but more so much because I was struggling with the idea of understanding or coming to terms with what “home actually is”.

About two months ago, I began spending time observing sunsets and, when I’m lucky (and not lazy), sunrises. I live in a building with 16 floors, and sometimes when I feel a little high on energy, I would go up to the rooftop and watch the sunset or sunrise. It’s here where I first questioned this idea of “home” and what it meant to me.

During one of these days, I realised that home is wherever the sun rises and sets. It can also be where you feel like you belong. Still, that sense of belonging doesn’t come easy for some of us, especially when we are a result of different cultures and ethnicities, which you never questioned up until now. Or you might also be struggling to find this sense of belonging because you’ve moved around a bit since childhood. Finding roots in one place became increasingly difficult because you tried to make a home out of wherever you rooted, no matter how temporary it was.

But then, when we speak of ‘home is where the heart is’, is it wrong to also have your heart in a few places? Isn’t it similar to how you can love the favourite people in your life at the same time? So why can’t we leave a bit of ourselves in these different places we once called home?

But then home can also be comfort, warmth and safety, which, when layered on top of one’s “roots”, becomes even more complicated to some of us because not all places we once considered home combined one or all of those factors. So it’s reasonable for us to have multiple homes because we can fulfil these different aspects of what home means. Because sometimes, some of us don’t find home in one place, I have realised that it’s okay, and if you are struggling with this idea of home, you should know it’s okay too.

What I have found most interesting, though, during these sunrise/sunset watching is this new “home” of mine, which has also allowed me to slow down. It’s strange because it’s a ginormous city, and I never considered myself a city girl. (This is also where I say that slowing down has been nothing short of a privilege.) But as long as you are willing to give yourself the space, your home will accept you for who you are and if that means you want to slow down on a day you don’t have the capacity to, it will, without judgement, the same way it will surprise you when you are driven to the extent you have motivation and energy pouring out of your ears.

There is another notion of how we find this sense of belonging we talk in a person. Therefore that person becomes “home”. Because home embodies love, belonging and acceptance. But for those reasons, I think home can also be more than one place (or person).

And it’s okay if we struggle to answer the question when someone asks you, “Where is your hometown?” Because, what is a hometown really, and why can’t we have more than one? It’s the same response I have when someone asks me what my “mother tongue is” because I think I have more than one. When you struggle with these questions of roots and identity, I think, for our own sanity, it’s okay to leave them unanswered.

Birthday celebrations
My wonderful sister and best girls from school made it a really cosy birthday.

Writing this has been humbling and difficult. I think it acknowledged something I’ve been putting off for a while now, this feeling of inadequacy. No, I’m not looking for sympathy here. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know things or know less. There are some things I know a little more of and might have more/different insight into, which is important to acknowledge.

This post has been more for me in terms of addressing a few things on my mind and maybe even trying to acknowledge them out loud, so I know it’s real. Does that make sense?

I’m working on my annual year-end post, it’s taking a little longer than anticipated, but hopefully, it will be soon.

Until then, we continue to ThinkSunny🌻

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