I wrote this back in November. I realise the locations may give away my identity, in a blog that I’ve tried to keep largely anonymous, but they were important to keep in there.
I didn’t know what it meant to feel “at home” until I was made to live without it.
I thought home was a solid thing. A permanent feature. Something you could go back to and instantly know your place.
The UK. The North East. My parents’ house. My room.
Lyme Regis. The cobb and the sea front. The Royal Standard.
Cardiff. The village. The view of the mountains.
But it’s not just that at all, is it?
When you’re home, you feel rooted to the earth. You are part of that place you’ve always been and it is a part of you. Especially if you’ve never left.
I feel uprooted.
I feel that everything I knew has been unearthed and upended.
And there’s fuck all you can do with that.
You can’t re-plant a whole fucking tree.
The ground shifts and changes. New plants start growing in the hole you left, and there’s no space for you anymore.
So, what? Plant a new tree? A new kind of tree, in a new kind of soil?
I think I’ve realised that home grows with you, like tree rings round an oak. Who you are is buried in layers beneath you, absorbed into you from the environment you grew up in.
But, you move yourself and your tree of home across continents and nothing is familiar.
The tree rings inside you aren’t mirrored in the trees you find here. And you become acutely aware that this is not your home.
You haven’t heard seagulls in months.
There are few, if any, familiar accents.
The nights aren’t getting darker.
Nobody is complaining about the weather, or politics.
And you miss that.
It’s not rained in weeks.
You haven’t heard folk music in 5 months.
Or smelt the smell of pubs.
Or had a hug from an old friend – someone who’s loved you for years and been through some dark shit with you.
You don’t know the city like the back of your hand, all the cool bars and side-streets and markets and coffee shops.
Nothing is familiar and this is not your home.
And yet, I think being homesick is more than just being away from home. It’s being away from everything that makes up the tapestry of who you are. It feels like you’ve been stripped bare and left naked.
And who are you if you’re not the girl with the two awesome feminist best friends just down the road from you?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who confidently strides into a dance class half-way through and takes her place on the floor because she knows her place?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who spends her summers camping at folk festivals? Or going to tiny folk gigs in the village?
Or the girl who single-handedly set up the Duke of Edinburgh award in her old school, and led expeditions in the beautiful countryside?
Who are you if you can’t step out of the door and be in the Welsh mountains in a matter of minutes?
Who are you anymore if you no longer have all the thing that anchor you?
I no longer feel like a tapestry.
I feel like a vast and blank canvas.