Monday, March 13, 2006

Only what we are

I love going home to Sussex. After a week of working and rushing about organising myself and others, home is safe and familiar. Plus, I get my clothes cleaned and my meals cooked for me. The other great thing is that my parents and my little sister are always the best themselves they can be. They want to talk to me, to share things with me, show me what’s changed in their life since I saw them last. It’s really lovely, and it makes me feel so loved.

It also makes me hate to come home to Birmingham. Coming back to uni – even I have the very best friends here, the closest friends I’ve ever had - it feels lonely. Very lonely.

But there are things that I hate about being in Sussex. The friends I have there are lovely people, but I am not connected to them anymore. I like them, and chat to them, but they don’t know the real me, the me I am in Birmingham. They still know the girl I used to be. Or at least the girl I was with them. Actually, Saturday night I felt more comfortable with them than I have in a long time. But they don’t know anything about me, nor I about them.

I don’t have as much freedom in Sussex either. Yes, I have my meals cooked and my clothes washed, but it means I’m not in control. And when I home for more than a weekend, I have to do chores – and I hate doing them for other people even more than doing for myself. The rigid timings of life also drive me nuts.

And there are things that I love about Birmingham. I feel I am beginning to find myself. I have the closest, most supportive, most emotionally involved set of friends that I’ve ever had. I have the most fun and the most freedom. I am independent and doing what I love, to achieve my greatest life goal. It can be the very place in the world – connected, buzzing, at the forefront.

Right now, I feel a bit in limbo.

I don’t fully belong anywhere. At home, I am comfortable and safe, but things change without me knowing about it. Rooms get decorated, furniture moved, pets arrive (and go…) all without me. In Birmingham, I have the best set of friends and an interesting and colourful life, but no family, no safety net. I call Sussex and Birmingham home indiscriminately, and sometimes within the same conversation, even the same sentence.

I think (I hope) that ‘home’ will be cemented when I settle down. I want to get married and have kids, and I feel sure that doing that will give me a true sense of home. After all, ‘home is where that heart is’ (come on, who could write about home without one cliché?) and where could your heart be more than with your children?

Or I could just be being daft and actually, I will always feel a little bit missing. I sometimes think that having a little bit missing, a corner not quite complete, is the human condition. It makes us who we are. I mean, if life were perfect what would be the point in continuing life? Surely life itself is the struggle to find perfection – hang on, no, scratch perfection, life is the struggle to find completeness. Some people do search for perfection, but I think the right thing to be looking for is contentment in completeness.

And completeness may mean different things to different people. You’ve got to find a level that fits you. For me, 'home' is the completeness I want. A warm place, filled with children and love, what would be my completeness. For others I imagine completeness may be something different – academic, material, creative, religious.

I think what I am trying to say is summed up neatly in this quote, by author Terry Goodkind:

<><>We all can be only what we are, nothing more, nothing less.

So keep going - keep aiming for your bit of completeness, and remember that you can only be what you are. Don't let yourself be less.
<>

1 comment:

Marysienka said...

Aaah I feel the same way about "home". I've got 2 homes too, now. But the difference for me is that my real friends aren't here, they are my old, pre-uni friends. The ones here are nice, but the connection isn't the same, we are just starting to know each others for real :-/
But for the rest, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one feeling this way (especially about the rigid schedule at the other place hehe!) ;)