I can’t stop listening to Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home.” I also can’t stop tearing up.
It seems like I’ve lived in temporary homes for the past five years, moving in and out of dorms, duplexes, townhouses, and apartments. I learned how to pack my life into boxes and how to put things on the walls to try to make these places feel like home. Even now that I am home in the greatest sense that I can define, it doesn’t feel like I think home should feel.
Funny thing, I don’t even know what the word is supposed to mean. When I was younger and Martha Stewart was my idol, I thought that a home was a place that had perfectly arranged bouquets on the tables, coordinating linens for every occasion, and more beautiful and delicious food than a family could hope to eat. Oh, and yes, there was also a loving family sitting down to that table together sharing laughter, stories, and life together.
Watching Martha get convicted of insider trading should’ve been enough to enlighten me about the fragility of her facade. I should’ve seen the charade, glimpsed the view from behind the curtain of another broken woman striving to make something of herself. Don’t get me wrong, I still think that there is a lot of beauty in her empire, but now it seems empty.
This is the season where everyone comes home for the holidays. We reconnect with friends and family members that we haven’t seen since this time last year, we eat a lot of food, and get dressed up for parties. We arrange our dishes, our tables, and our hair in order to make sure that things and nice and presentable, while at the same time glossing over the struggles of the past year.
The truth is, this year I lost my grandma and I didn’t really tell anyone. I moved back to a place I swore I’d never return to, and I’m struggling to find people that I connect with. I couldn’t come home for the holidays because I’m already in the place where other people will come back to. I miss going on adventures, and I miss feeling like I have any clue about what is going on. I couldn’t tell you when I had my last really interesting, engaging conversation. What am I doing here, and what does it mean for me to call this place home?