for me, home is not so much a place as it is a memory.
it’s making mud pies at the bottom of the stairs outside of the apartment complex i lived at while our house was being built. it’s watching kids get their first kiss behind the dumpster in the parking lot. home is the cold winters, the harsh winds, the empty space. home is that brick house with the large rock i carved my name into, its the trees we planted and the branch i attempted to whittle. home is jumping off our back porch onto the trampoline during sleepovers in the middle of the night. it’s looking at constellations with my uncle’s telescope. it’s the thirty-two stuffed animal monkeys that filled up every inch of my closet- all with their own made-up names, personalities, and stories.
home was also my first and second good-bye. to the biggest pieces of my heart and the harsh reality i wasn’t ready to understand. and home was down the street at my best friend’s house, crying on her driveway on the night before i moved away. home was ap chem club and early morning student council meetings. it was collective action and singing ‘don’t stop believing,’ into the end of a broomstick. and it was those friday nights, themed outfits, and cheering for our team. those mountains.tumbleweeds.and desert.
and then home was that fall. those leaves. the excitingness that surrounds experiencing things for the first time. home was the cramped dorm room, the cafeteria food, the first big 10 football game. it was failing my first exam and learning how to write a paper. it was making my first new friend and staying up all night. it was study dates in the quiet room at the union and in the grass. it was the black squirrels and bubble tea. the trees. the air. the water. it was all the places i had the opportunity to go to. louisiana, tennessee, and new york city for the first time. it was expanding my knowledge, and learning about the world.
at one point in my life, home was on a ship in the middle of the ocean. the vibrant colors of Turkey and the conversations over tea. it was getting lost in Marrakech and running through the bazaar. home was those four short months; a four am trip to the pyramids by camel, the candle light dinner in Greece. it was living in and out of hostels, sleeping on dusty trains and cold floors. the unbearable heat. the navigating. the submersion into different cultures and grasping frantically to take everything in.
home was my first heart ache. my cancelled plans, and lessons learned. it was finding friendships in the most unlikely of places. eventually it became the oklahoma sky,the never ending summer, and that friendly stranger wave. the dirt roads, the rural homes.the flat lands. it became monday night wine dates, first annual traditions, and happy dances. it was second chances, cupcakes, and personal growth.
and through this all, i guess what i am trying to say is to not be tied down by your roots. for me, home has never been about being attached to a particular place or focusing on where i came from; home is remembering all of the places i said i would go to, the person i aspired to become. my home is movement, change, and progress.
in second grade i found out i was allergic to dandelions after making grass cakes all recess and decorating them with touches of yellow and white dandelions. i remember crying in the bath my mom prepared for me because i wouldn’t be able to touch them anymore. i think nearly everyone’s favorite part about a dandelion are the little florets that you can blow on to see float across the air. the little fairy flowers that spread themselves all over the grass, those little pieces that end up creating more. the thing about dandelions is that they are easily up rooted. and that’s my favorite part.
you see, my home has never been in the roots i’ve stemmed from, but rather, in the growth i’ve made in the places i’ve landed.
i guess i am more of a dandelion than a tree anyways.