Here's the background history for those of you that do not know it. I was born a poor, black boy....no wait. I'm not that jerk.... I was born and raised on Long Island. When I moved out of my folks' house, I lived on the south shore about seven miles from my home town. In my late twenties, I planned to go back to school for my Master's degree. Of course what I wanted to study, Transpersonal Counseling Psychology, is only offered through five schools. I choose Naropa University in the lovely town of Boulder, Colorado. Having never been to the Rocky Mountain State, I found a room to sublease online from a crazy lady in Lafayette (move 1), a few miles east of Boulder. The vehicle I co-owned stayed in NY until that co-owner would move out a year later, so I bussed around (they have a great system out there). After a while I decided to head into Boulder to be closer to school and farther from "crazy". I got a great one bedroom a mile from campus (move 2). Less than a year later, co-owner was moving to be with me. We had a dog, so before they arrived, I moved to a dog friendly on the same street (move 3). After living a while with co-owner and fuzz-puppy, the relationship self destructed..with co-owner, not the dog. (I should say, one of the times it self destructed.) I then found a great little studio apartment in the historic district of Boulder (move 4). Us tenants were on a month to month lease because the owners were trying to sell it. The house was on the market for over a year, so I figured we were safe for a while. How wrong I was! They sold and the new owner was converting the place back to a one family. Forced to move, a new friend (who also is a born-and-breed LIer, even though I met him after moving to CO) had mentioned that his roommate had moved out and that I was welcome to move in with him in south Denver. By this time, I had purchased my new car, so after many trips back and forth to get my stuff there, I became a Denver resident (move 5). As our lease was running out, roommate-guy got engaged to his sweet girlfriend, so I moved out and she moved in. Since, I hadn't planned on staying in CO for another year, I moved in with my old friend/new love in downtown Denver (move 6) until his lease ran out. He had moved to Denver and ended up hating it (especially because of the young-uns who made living in our building an unpleasant, noisy experience), so he had no problem moving back east with me. We threw a dart at the globe and picked the Providence area; close enough to family and friends on LI, but a new experience (move 7).
As you might imagine, being nomadic, especially 1900+ miles from what had always been home, can make a person feel uprooted and unsettled. When I first landed in Colorado, with nothing more than three suitcases and not knowing a soul in the state, not to mention being submerged in the rigors of my studies, I was in a whirlwind of reexamining who I was. Normally a social person who used to club like mad and spend time with friends and family constantly, I became extremely introverted and more introspective. Moving around so often, having a relationship that started and stopped as many times as I moved, and dealing with all the processing classes at school triggered a feeling of un-groundedness. I felt like I could not feel the ground and I was floating off the planet at rapid speed. The pit in my stomach, lump in my throat and knots in my calf muscles were difficult to experience in my gestalt therapy, authentic movement and tai chi classes. I wanted to scream or cry or run, or any combination of the three. Even what had always been home had lost some of that feeling. Those of you who know me in life are aware of the strong connection I have to my loving family, but since "my room" at my parents house became the new home for some of my grandmother's furniture, it did not feel like "mine" anymore.
I needed to retool my definition and feeling of "home". This work began when I moved to the studio in historic Boulder. While dealing with a major breakup and checking out multiple apartments, I was pondering the idea that home is within me. Having this feeling in my heart, when I walked into the studio it just felt right. Turns out this home was very healing for me. Sure the space was small and I had to share a bathroom in the hallway with the apartment across the hall, but the other three tenants were a diverse group of wonderfully strong women. We would spend our evenings drinking wine and talking about life and laughing as the sun set over the Foothills. It was healing to say the least. What also helped shape my definition of home was my mother coming out to visit. She is my hero and the most understanding, strong woman I have ever known. We spent time hiking, talking, crying and laughing. My family is always home. When I finally started dating and moved in with Greg, a new definition of home developed. Actually, my definition grew. It doesn't matter what four walls shelter us, we are home just being part of each others' lives.
My feeling of home continues to grow and change. Someday I hope to add a physical house to this definition, as well as adding a child to the idea of home and family. Home, to me, is in my heart, with my loved ones and felt in a simple hug. Home, sweet home.