It’s Strange how Home, Memories and Old Friends can Comprise the Place You Feel Most like You: A Reflection

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It’s strange: how the briskness of the air still hits your face in that same old familiar way; how it fills your heart with a particular warmth of comfort, belonging and familiarity; how familiar faces show up in church–ones you’ve seen grow up–only to meet them weathered with age; how friends change places but your feeling with each other hasn’t changed at all; how the smell of homes still have that old stench you remember from childhood; and how you revisit your dentist right down the street from the cemetery you used to always visit your dad in.

It’s strange.

I guess as I’ve been getting a little older and “growing up” per se, coming back to my hometown has really become a beautiful thing for me. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to leave this town and pursue my own things in life, only to leave it in good hands with good memories and have the opportunity to return to it for short breaks throughout the year.

I guess, at this age and point in my life, it works. It’s perfect.

When I’m in college, free to roam cities, knock on my friend/neighbor’s door for toiletries, or walk down the street to my friend’s apartment to grab food at 11 o’clock at night, I feel “alive”. I know that’s a cheesy way to put it, but, I guess being surrounded by radical college kids 24/7 allows me to just be “me” with no excuses. I’m hopeful for the adventures we can go on; I’m hopeful for the memories we create just by grabbing food or shopping; I’m hopeful for the inside-jokes that arise from a random creep hitting-on me or jaded conversation that put me to sleep; and I’m hopeful for the knowledge I can gain from a person from having an enlightening conversation about art, music, GTA V, PACN or what-have-you.

It’s strange.

History with someone, and something, just absolutely always feels right. All the time. Maybe it’s because that old friend has seen you grow up; they know who you were and who you have been; they can peel the layers into your soul; they know what it is that built up your character into who you are today; they are familiar with your family, friends, social circles, and areas in which you associate yourself with. They are familiar with you.

When the world gets a little crazy, you get that feeling where you just want to curl yourself up into a little ball and just rest and remain with them, by your side. You feel safe. You feel happy. You feel comfort. It feels right to you.

You’re at home.

It’s strange.

One of my friends had told me, “It seems like you’ve really been enjoying yourself.” He went on, “You’ve been meeting all these artists and musicians and making friends with them and going to all these places. That’s awesome.”

“Yeah, it’s crazy,” I had told him. “I had never even expected any of this to happen, but, it’s great. I love it.”

“Yeah, I feel like this is all happening for a reason. It’s good networking. Hold on to those.” He paused. “I’m excited for you.”

Sometimes it takes those little moments others realize of you for you to take a step-back and realize how blessed you really are. How you can come back home and really come back to a home in which you feel belonged; and how you are still doing what you love to do, and for your own idols and friends to recognize and appreciate it themselves.

“I haven’t changed all that much,” I always seem to say. But, I have been growing.

I’ve been honest with myself–and perhaps that is what makes things a little easier. “I haven’t changed all that much, but, I have been growing.” A bit fast maybe, but, I’ve learned so much about myself, others, or even the world around me. I’ve grown an open-heart and an open-mind and, I’d like to think I’m pretty proud of that.

It’s strange.

I guess the one thing that keeps pushing and driving me to be the “best me I can be”–to know and understand myself better, to pursue the things I love, and to become more comfortable with myself–is my small-town mentality ridden with a heart full of love.

The small-town I had grown up in has helped me to really nourish and embrace the smaller relationships and true, genuine moments I have with people; but it also pushes me to pursue outside of my small-town and get out and do “bigger things” with my life. My genuine intentions and “heart full of love” has always given me comfort to be honest with myself, for if I feel something not right within myself, I won’t do it, and if I do feel something I need to act out on, I will do it. I act out on what I love, while treating people with the same respect and love I would like in return. It’s so cheesy to say, but, with the right love in my heart, I will be able to put the right amount of love into the other things in my life–my art, my writing, my music, my relationships.

It’s strange.

When you are able to be open and receptive to the people and things around you, you can find yourself appreciating things for what they are. No more judgments, no more expectations. Just enjoying things for what they are. And that’s how a home should be.

When it comes down to the end of the day and I’m totally in-tune with my own self and feelings, I realize there is a deep sense of yearn still apparent–a yearning for a deeper connection or conversation. Something that feeds my soul, in the way nights with my guitar take me on a high and I feel totally in my element, or those moments where I am writing and I feel absolute clarity (just as I did in the sixth grade, my sophomore year of high school, or even today).

Even though things may not be exactly where I would like them to be–with my career, my relationships, or my own abilities and skills–I realize that I should always be grateful for what I have been given in my life. Heck, I’ve been able to perform in prestigious arenas with Kariktan promoting my own culture with people I can call my second-family since I was 12; I’ve been able to meet and befriend my own idols and musicians I’ve looked up to in my life, and have them remember me on a first-name basis; I’ve been able to attend a Catholic private-school for 13-years of my life with all-white people and feel ever so thankful for helping comprise the person I am today; and, I’ve been able to have two places I can call home, and know that I will be taken into both with open arms.

While my mind may be a complete mess and there could be chaos going on underneath my skin with my ever-drifting soul too afraid to develop and maintain deeper connections, I have appreciated things for how they are. I have never become complacent–only grateful–and that pushes me to be me. Whether it is to be more, to be better, to be true, to be just who I am right now… We all want to be better, but we can’t be better if we can’t be happy of what we have had.

It’s strange… but entirely beautiful.

Home and memories are truly made with the people who you can feel “at home” with, as cheesy as that may be.

How has your home been for you? How has your hometown treated you? Who are the people who make you feel at home? And, have you been able to leave somewhere, or something, only to realize you are still so tied to it? What do you think, and feel, about your own “home”? I’d love to start a conversation.

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