For many years, I craved to feel home and didn’t. The house I grew up in wasn’t the right one because I had to fit in with my maternal grandparents’ household. When my mum remarried, I didn’t feel comfortable in their nest, the way my step-brother and step-sister did. Even when I grew up and owned two flats in Baku, I still didn’t feel home! It was all temporary, I told myself. One day I’d marry and go to live in my husband’s house, as tradition dictated. So, I didn’t bother to put roots down and make those flats my own. I convinced myself I bought those flats to invest money as banks were unreliable.
Then I came to study in the UK, and developed even more stories around what being ‘home’ meant to me. I was a student, I shouldn’t be extravagant with money buying nice things for my room, it was all temporary, I couldn’t take this stuff with me when and if I returned or moved a flat. Of course, a part of me was acutely aware of making these stories up. I marvelled at some housemates’ dedication to renovate a room where they planned to stay only one month, or getting themselves a new bed because they spent 1/3 of their lives sleeping. Even when we started renting a house with my husband, the limiting beliefs ran the show: we are here for a limited time, let’s wait until we have our own space, there are other priorities right now. When we bought a house of our own, all my myths got busted. We’ve been living in our house for three years and it still often feels like the Spenses’ house, not our home. Of course, it’s a huge improvement on the grotty rooms I used to rent as a student, but there is a part of me which is still waiting to get… ‘home’.
And it got me thinking: Maybe ‘being home’ is a state of mind. Legal ownership, the size or location of where I have lived did not determine how I felt about those places. We feel home when we are welcomed and secure in the world. Perhaps being home is about feeling comfortable in your own skin.