“Home is where the heart is.” At least that’s what they say. You see it plastered on canvases or mugs, or maybe on your friend’s Instagram caption of her and her family around their Christmas tree. Lately, I’ve struggled with the concept of “home.”

If home is where your heart is, it should be simple. You must find your home in what you love. But take a second and think about your heart. The heart is a funny thing. It’s ever changing, conflicted – not the same words that come to mind when you picture home.

“You’re being too literal, Cassie.” But no, no I’m not. You see, to me, a home represents something stable. It’s a foundation. The home should be where your heart goes when it needs some time to reflect, to pause, to discover, to realize. It’s the one place where you can just simply be. You can’t expect to just carry that innately inside you. That can’t be how that works because that isn’t how it feels.

But maybe…it is how it is. Some people can safely place their hearts with their families, so they have literal and figurative homes. They can nestle it in their cozy living room couches, in the stories they reminisce to, inside the frames on their mantle. But some people aren’t so lucky. So instead, those people habitually learn to place their hearts elsewhere – they misplace their hearts. Maybe it’s another person, like a friend or a lover. But God knows there is no lesson that gives you pain quite like the lesson of learning “a person is not a home.” Because people leave and then you feel even more stranded and lost then you did before.

So the people who don’t have the standard families and childhoods, and the people who don’t have a place to go to when they are tired, scared, hungry, confused – what do we do? Because I am one of you, too. And we all know that we aren’t alone in this feeling, yet that doesn’t make it any more comforting or “homey.”

I feel as if the answer is right in front of me, and I’m just not satisfied with it. “Make a home out of yourself. Love yourself. Be independent.” And I guess I can do that, and I’m sure others do and have done so. But isn’t that against human instinct? Am I crazy or is anybody else inclined to lean on a crutch? And if there isn’t a crutch, is it pathetic to wish for one rather than just immediately standing on your own?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned to be independent. I learned life by my own trial and error. I’ve made goals – and I’ve achieved them. I’ve even embraced the idea of bold independence and resilience. And I guess at 21 years old, I’m just tired. Because it’s a pretty exhausting concept.

But where do I rest when I can’t go home?



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