Friday 28 December 2012

Coming Home

I always thought that ‘belonging’ is what I crave, to be accepted by the people I look up to, to fit in by behaviour and looks. I thought that achieving in the job and in relationships means compromise to fit it. I thought that after gaining acceptance I might even be able to become the leader of the pack and to re-introduce to my life a few of the things that I gave up in order to get there. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I eventually would feel grown up and confident; that things would fall into place; that I would ‘arrive’.

It never happened.

In contrary: My life has fallen apart. After so many years of hard work to achieve belonging I separated from my husband and along that way I lost the people who were my friends.  I am lucky even that we both do not fight, so the transition from friends to acquaintance is a smooth one; yet, there I was two month ago: Not only my daily life, my habits, everything I thought I am had vanished, but my ways of how to solve problems and to find happiness had become invalid as well.

I had two options: cut and run to a new place and try again using the same method nevertheless, or stay and find new ways. This is a tough yet simple decision; it is one to follow with the heart, and my heart told me to stay. Staying for me means ‘Home’; home in the sense of knowing where to belong rather than to whom to belong; home in the sense of my childhood days.

Back then, ‘home’ was the place, which I knew inside out: the house of my parents, the village, the fields around it, my hiding places. I felt grounded and safe. From those safe grounds I explored further and further, taking the dog for a walk and finding new ways and new places, and making them home as well.

I had lost the explorer in me a long time ago. Maybe I focused too much on building a home that fits in, hence making me dependent on people’s opinions.

When I left for University I felt uprooted and I was told: ‘Home is not a place, it is the people you are with; you are missing your parents, you will feel better when you make new friends’. I lived with my boyfriend and quickly found friends, but I needed more than a year to feel at home. I needed to know my ways, the shops, and the parks; people moved through this space, the boyfriend left, a fling was enjoyable, the husband came; it was the place that kept me grounded.

I however did not questioned this theory of ‘people being the home’; I adopted the viewpoint and moved to England with my husband, found new friends quickly, yet again I needed more than a year to feel safe and settled.

Now that people have removed themselves out of the equation that is my life, I still feel happy in my home. Since I took the decision that I will stay, and since I know that I will be able to keep my house I feel grounded… and I am exploring again: new career, new hobbies, which actually are the old ones, just that I had forgotten about them, and new ways of thinking. I am writing this while sitting in the open restaurant of my second home, Tangkahan. If I accept that home is a place in which I feel comfortable, then I can have more than one.

I love my house in England and I don’t even know why. It just felt right when I set foot into it for the first time. I love Tangkahan, and I don’t even know why, I cried when I set foot on that Green Lodge terrace for the first time and I felt that this is a place where I want to be.

I found wonderful new friends in England as well as Tangkahan; some of them even have become family. I invite them into my life, I show them the Rika I feel comfortable with, and I acknowledge that it is their decision to stay or to move on.

It feels good to be an explorer again. I now know why I was at my happiest all those years back when I was walking the fields with my dog. I was on a quest for new homes.

During my recent soul searching journey I discovered that the different facets of my character appreciate ownership of individual homes: a home for work and challenge, a home for creativity and inspiration, a home to relax. I used to think that the aim is to find it all in one place and if it is not there then to create it, a viewpoint that gives priority to a facet of my character that inhibits rather then encourages: the control freak.

Only a few days back I was asked: Who is Rika? I did not know; I thought I had to ‘arrive’, to see the final product in order to be able to put a name to it. Today I know that arriving would mean stagnation and boredom.

Today I confidently state: Rika is an explorer again!

The answer feels like coming home.