A Journey Home
“Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself, in the end.”
— Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable
In the beginning, home is familiarity. All that is known feels like home. The little house you grow up in, that particular mountain view, that special kind of winter cold, that particular smell of autumn rain, that kind of vegetation, that size of a village and only those red rocks. All that you cannot question, all that you cannot change, you call home. You are small and you almost know it, but you stick with familiarity, as it is affectionate and it is the only thing that innerly feels warm.
Then, home becomes a soul-less apartment in a hostile city, that you rent and is not your own, then a second one, then a third. So many apartments and you start to call them all home. You put much effort in making them consistent, you create symmetries of color, you add a pinch of quirkiness; always resonating your personality, your interests, the shades of what you use to call your psyche but something inside you knows that it is not.
You move forward — as the enormous city always remains hostile — again and again, carrying books, clothes and dead plant pots on your little back, from one house to another. You move so much that home has now become the moving forward itself. Hello, dear Self? Do we ever arrive, anyway? No one answers but the existential agony through your heart rate, the frozen limbs, the sweat.
“Space and silence weigh equally upon the heart. A sudden love, a great work, a decisive act, a thought which transfigures, all these at certain moments bring the same unbearable anxiety, linked with an irresistible charm.”
— Albert Camus, The Sea Close By
With unworldly patience though, you continue locking pieces of your courage and your genius and your mental vigor in furniture, in carpets, in paintings & bookfull desks. You continue up to that moment — a moment as small as the change of the year — that the fireworks ignite and “home” solidity just falls apart… Silently. There is nothing here for you anymore. You sell some of the pretty wooden furniture, give the rest of it to friends and you move. On. Lighter. You believe.
A novel, an unknown, unexplored land this time. No familiarity to warm you up here, no belongings, no job, no people of your kind. When walking in the streets you have to always remind yourself of where you are. Where are you? Alright, in the new place. Walking on a street. Virtually, you put a pin on the picture of a map inside your brain, to make sure you grounded yourself well. Whole soles of feet touching the new earth, with your right hand holding an invisible compass, in anguish you try to find your inner North again. Keep looking North you command yourself and you hope; that your compass is still functional.
“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” —Václav Havel
And yet oddly, in the new earth time passes the old way and new habits find their way home by filling your day, your mind & your hands. The current house becomes home now — because of familiarity, because of furniture, because of the way you open doors and close cupboards. Who would believe that it is not but a matter of time to become a slave of the furniture again?! It is you yourself; wherever you turn your gaze upon. The new colorful carpet is becoming old, that strange door that needed your attention is strange no more — all known, all is familiar. No wonders, no fascination, dull movements of habits inhabiting you, reflect themselves on glasses, mirrors and shiny kitchen tiles.
But that is how you just created the best ground for a new shock: intense heart rate, adrenaline, a rushing metabolism; you have to leave this place. You pack your things and you move on. Yet, for the first time you feel that there is nowhere to go. You need to be hosted by existing friends, past definitions and places explored already. You may have not realized, but all this time you have been desperately trying to change the inner landscape, not the other one. That is why the past even as a word, created a bitterness inside your mouth, a sense of ashes in your chest for that destiny of yours.
One station at a time seems now the only way forward; or the only way to maintain your sanity and illusion of control. You cannot even think of your next step until the moment that you start taking it. Do not dare to think, the myth will be destroyed you tell yourself and put him to sleep — to sleep like a statue, a mummy or a yogi, as the last friend to host you, only had a corner in the shed to offer. A tiny corner just for you. Resembles the corner you live inside yourself. Suddenly you realize: you have always been living in the shed; the barn; the backyard, secluded from any real contact, inner or outer.
Receive with generosity, you remember and pay your debt of gratitude to the barn. You look at yourself: timid, a little scared, a cutely shattered rock of ego. He finally gets it — the journey home has no end because that would mean the end of meaning.
Smile. Carry your home on your little back, no matter how weak and start moving in, not solely on. And may beauty, depth in perception and affectionate friends embroider your way.
September 2020, Travel Notes