A Woman Without A Country
I haven’t felt at home in a long time. Longer than long. It’s a disconnection, a sense that where I sit in my present life may not be serving me in the ways that I envisioned, that I have been lost in a sea of promises, hopes, and chances that merely batter me back and forth over the same territory, the same endless waves.
If there is one thing this pandemic has shown me, it is how easy it is to feel utterly alone even when you are surrounded by others. How we can share space and lives but not our truths and our needs. How a 'home' can be a mere skeleton, a shelter, without activating the places in our heart to make it feel like a connected element. How 'living' together can be mere repetition of routine, and not a day to day awakening filled with love and fulfillment. That emptiness, its blackness, creeps in slowly, and it is the worst kind of loneliness.
My life feels rudderless and foreign, as if I am watching it through the lens of another while simultaneously, I am the attraction. I can feel where I am and what I am doing in the moment, yet like an observer, it seems out of reach from any alteration. When you have faced failure over and over and over, making hard choices can feel like a certain death, and the thought of having to bury yet another piece of your soul is all too much.
I waver between numbness and over-saturation. Waffling from a total void to my cup overflowed. In between lies nothingness, but it isn't comfort. Just cold.
The worst part of these moments, of feeling like an outsider in your own life, is not being anchored. Always feeling adrift, like you have nothing secure to lash yourself with, no mooring to keep you from being lost. At best, you aim for salvation. At worst, you hope you don’t drown with a sinking ship.
I don’t know that I have ever felt ‘home’. Not in my body, at times treated as a convenience and object, and that has caused me pain, insecurity, and diffidence for most of my life. Definitely not in a country that aims to police my physical autonomy and where community is an abstract idea rather than a concrete notion. Certainly not in my hometown with its racist, misogynist overtones and predominant religious heritage. I have never really been fully ‘at ease’, even in the healing sanctuary of the desert.
In romantic relationships, I am either too much or not enough, or my expectations fall into the same dynamics. In place of these, I’ve learned to build an international network of people who help shelter me when the storms come, but I still steer alone.
The only time I have truly felt the tranquility of what I imagine is experienced by others is with my offspring. Recently my daughter’s therapist shared an exercise where you find your ‘happiness’ and transfer it into an object. You imagine all the sensations you associate with the memory: what do you taste, touch, smell, see, or hear? Then you take a proxy, such as a rock, and you use it as a gateway to that memory. My children are my touchstones. With them, through them, I understand who I am and who I want to be. And if I forget, they remind me and lead me back into that space. But, as they grow and develop their individual spirits, I know they will soon drift from me too, as they should.
It’s a challenging and exhausting place to be, not having a landing point. Feeling like I can’t truly rest because I never know what’s coming, when the next set of waves will crash or when the next squall will find me.
Never knowing if I will ever be able to say ‘I’m home’ and truly mean it.
Never knowing if my gypsy heart will find peace.
Reflections of a woman spawned in a cement cocoon...