Turtle Power

‘Wherever you go, there you are.’

So simple. So wise. My therapist asked me to really think about this quote. She offered the further examination of thinking of it as if I were a turtle; my home always on my back wherever I go. My home always with me. Or better yet, my home always within me. This is something I have struggled with since I can remember. The feeling of home for me was always with my family when I was little. But as I grew and matured and experienced I began to feel that my home wasn’t with them – these biological strangers. If my home wasn’t with the people who raised me, where was it?

When I was 23 I thought my home would be out in California. I followed a man I barely knew out there who was 13 years my senior. I made an impulsive decision and waited for the West Coast to feel like home. It didn’t. A year later, I was back in the home I grew up in and it had never felt less like my home; the misery was palpable.

Fast forward to the age of 25. I thought my home would be with a 30 year old man who made me laugh, took me to Fenway for the first time in my adult life and loved to get a good buzz on. I moved my life in with this man – impulsively – because I was so in love. We adopted cats together and went to the gym and walked around Boston laughed and lived. We drank and made plans for our future. I was thrilled. I thought ‘my life is about to finally begin’. But the drinking for him never stopped. The anger appeared soon after I moved in along with the blackouts and broken furniture. I lasted 4 years in that home. Approximately 2 and a half years longer than I should have stayed.

At 30 I was living alone for the first time in my life. I loved it. I still do. No one to bother me. No one to clean up after. No one to avoid if I just don’t want to talk. I could come and go whenever I wanted with whomever I wanted. And I could drink alone. I loved that too. It was a freedom unlike anything I had ever experienced, but it didn’t satisfy me. I still longed for companionship.

At 33, I fell in love again and asked ex #3 to move in with me. Patterns repeated themselves and as with the drinker, I loved someone broken and lost, someone who made bad decisions and painted himself into corners. I tried to save him and make it easier for him. In turn he got more and more comfortable and accustomed to not having to take responsibility. I didn’t let him drown until he was pulling me under the water with him. I had no choice but to kick him out.

At 34 and 35 and 36 my home has become mine again. I have reclaimed my space and vowed never to stray into a relationship impulsively again. I have dated here and there, but I remain alone. Unattached. Willing but unable to find the home within the home of myself. My home nowadays is in the bottle. I don’t feel the creeping need for it as I did before my Big Reveal – you know, the actual birth of my blog and sharing my secret to some dear friends, both new and old – now it’s just a staple. An unbreakable habit that both comforts me and isolates me.

How often do I feel unsatisfied or confused or irrelevant or troubled by where I am? Almost every day.

The quote at the beginning has some real truth to it. How do I find satisfaction in the home within me without looking for that same satisfaction elsewhere? How do I stop looking for a home with a man? Or a home with my birth family? How do I look within myself and be sated? How will I ever be enough?

I strangely find a lot of comfort in these questions.