- Marya Kazmi
There's No Place Like Home
Silence in a house is such a foreign feeling at times, because I grew up in a home that was filled with people and noises constantly. Bedtime was a suggestion and to get a word in edgewise at the dinner table I would have to raise my hand. Conversations were always being had whether it was deep reflection, wisdom departed from one generation to another or jokes being made between siblings and cousins. We were the community center, family hub for all on the East Coast, and a regular stop along the way for new people that came into our lives unexpectedly yet quickly folded into the label of family.
Because of this, I believed for a long time that home is synonymous with a physical place you reside and that it is meant to feel a certain way. A respite filled with light and laughter. People connecting and sharing ideas to build and grow with each other. You find support, guidance and community at home. For me and many who know my family it was the emotions evoked when you entered the doors of my childhood home fondly referred to as 6911 Carlynn Court. .
Since I was 6 months old, that was the only real home I was aware of. From the start of college I had been in and out of apartments and rental rooms in homes, but nothing had the feel of 6911. It brought generations together so what me, my siblings and cousins all knew about it's energy and the love you felt within it's walls resonat4ed with my three boys as well. So they knew in their hearts my parents home which they fondly refereed to as Nana Mian and Nani Bibi's was a place they felt safe, protected and loved unconditionally. In 2011 following the passing of my father a few months before, we sold this iconic place and it felt like releasing a piece of myself.
I tried with a lot of resistance and battling to create this in my former married life. Each place we lived in, the energy and culture of the space was a house, but it was never truly the type of home everyone felt safe to just be themselves in. My heart resided in the houses, because my children were with me. Truthfully, the sense of home came with my children and I when they came to school with me daily as elementary school students while I was a teacher. The presence of my children and my dear friends whom made me feel safe made work feel like home more than the house I resided in daily.
A few months before I separated from my seventeen year marriage, my oldest sons then 17 and 15 came with me to visit this same school and many of the familiar people that were still there. My generally standoff -ish with non family members children opened up and felt at ease within a few moments of being there, and the love that greeted them was limitless. Their former teachers and adults in the building reminded them of special memories and moments. When we left, my oldest turned and said, it felt like we got to come home today. That is the power of home. It is not a location, it's the feeling and sense you get when your heart is at ease and you are able to be your authentic selves.
Home has been complicated for me for this reason. Things I have realized about myself in the past three years, is that I do not dream nor imagine a conventional life of a suburban mom. I imagine that I will be taken away all over the world and nation on adventures and not feel the tie to any one place, because home is not a location it is a sense of belonging. Any place I have my children and find community can become home for me.
Home can be created as we cultivate peace. Although I can be an extrovert and enjoy people, I keep my circle of friends very small. There are few people whom I consider special enough to be in my most intimate spaces and places in my mind. I honor those friends, because what they bring to me is a sense of home. They feel safe and loving. Time with them helps me grow, laugh and learn more about myself. It's not often that those aspects enter my life, so I know when I see and feel them and make sure to hold space for them knowing that they will honor it.
In my time on this earth, I have lived in different places with a variety of people. I have brought many people into my life as family, friends and romantic partners. But the few that felt like home and the ones that regardless of space and time will always bring me back to the feeling of peace and safety are the ones that remain. In return, I bring home to them through our dynamics, by creating safety and building trust for them to lean into.
The liberation of this idea allows me to find home in any place I am as long as the energy and people I surround myself with bring me peace and help feed my light. There is no place like home and I now understand that I will cultivate this place with intention and awareness of myself and others regardless of the location I am residing in.