Gonna Make This Place Your Home

There’s a line in a pop song by Phillip Phillips: “Just know you’re not alone, ‘cause I’m gonna make this place your home.” It came out nearly two years ago, and it never fails to make me uncomfortable. Why? Because its release coincided with the time, shortly after selling our home, that I found out about the hidden debt that meant we had no chance of getting a loan for a new place, possibly ever. The song seemed to mock me.

I always tell myself I’m lucky to have anywhere to live. I tell myself I’m extremely lucky to have had the privilege of home ownership for a while, even if I never have it again. It’s true. But I get scared and anxious when I’m uncertain about where I’m going to live. A year ago, after this news, my family went through a hard process trying to find a place to rent; we were rejected from many due to the abysmal credit rating that had come as such a shock. We were really lucky to get this place, and I’m pretty sure we only got it because of some minor quirks it has.

Last night, we were informed that the owner of this house is pretty sure he wants to put it on the market in the spring.

Naturally, I took the news with all of the serenity and maturity one would expect from someone working a program of recovery…and if you believe that, I have some lovely metaphorical swampland to sell you. I’m scared. I’m having trouble drawing a full breath. I sneaked downstairs and ate slices of bread at 5 a.m. to try to ease the pain in my chest (and damn it, I’d had nearly a week free of that kind of fucking around.)

It’s not going to be pretty when the time comes–we’re good tenants; we have the income to pay our rent and a history of doing so on time, but people really care about credit ratings these days. But I can’t afford to freak out about this! I have a daughter to teach, a school system to answer to–and, as always, two-plus potentially disastrous conditions to treat and manage.

Go to any meeting in the recovery community and you’ll hear people going through much harsher situations. I know, oh, I really do know. This morning alone, I talked to someone who was counting his blessings about the fact that a few months drug free has gained him a bed away from the streets for the first time in years. I want to operate with perspective, and gratitude, and faith. So many people tell of things falling into place for them when they trust and ask–it’s foolish of me to assume the worst.

My fears are fed by that little girl who never trusted the homes she had, I know. There’s a part of me that never thinks of my home as my home until I have to leave it; sees it as temporary. And, in a spiritual sense, all homes are, but my view wasn’t spiritual. I’d like it to become more so. I’d like to see all of the places I live as my quarters for the time being–like the accommodations given to a traveling officer–not out of distrust but out of Zen-like nonattachment.

But I’m not there yet–I hurt with the longing for security. She hurts. That singer’s voice mocks me with the male nurturing she missed; Daddy’s voice promising comfort and safety. (Daddy issues? Me? There’s a shock.)

There is a truth–a hard one, but a precious one–that can help me if I let it. The truth that I don’t have a home like that, and I never will. There is no way for me to undo that wound, and there’s no way for me to attain an external sense of security strong enough to make me free of it.

My true home is here.

It’s anywhere I write, or speak, or dream. I’m creating it, word by word and thought by thought; it moves where I move. Nobody but me can evict me from it.

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