Home

Until recently I’ve thought of home as being where I live, where my parents live, or the town I grew up in. While I still consider those to be a version of home, I’ve been gaining more of an awareness that home isn’t necessarily a place. For me, home is an emotion; it’s a deep connection, a feeling of comfort, safety and security, familiarity, belonging, and love.

The other day I was trying to find words to describe to someone how I feel in their presence. I was at a loss. None of the words I thought of could fully encompass what I feel in this person’s presence. Then it hit me; being in their presence feels like home! There is no other word that could better describe that feeling.

Last night I was watching the movie Country Strong. There is a song in the movie that I absolutely love “Give In To Me” by Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester, the song is the reason I watched the movie…again. Faith Hill sings a version too, but I prefer the movie version. But that song is neither here nor there in regards to this post.

The reason I mention the movie has to do with a  different song, “Coming Home”. As mentioned, I’ve seen the movie before but didn’t pay much mind to this song the first time. The premise of the movie is that country star Kelly (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) is struggling to overcome addiction while on a comeback tour that her husband (Tim McGraw) has scheduled her for. There is so much more to the story line (addiction, an affair, a love story, empowerment, survival, strength, and courage). If you haven’t seen it check it out, it’s a pretty good movie, worth the watch. But I digress.

The song “Coming Home” is about running from life, losing your way, and finding your path back home. It’s no secret that I’ve found myself running from life, and that I’ve lost my way more times than I can count and I know it will happen several more times throughout my life. While I was listening to the song, I wondered what “coming home” looked like for me? Where would my path back home lead me? The answer I came up with was this:

Coming home, for me, is returning to my authentic self; returning to the essence of who I truly am and not who I’ve believed I am for so many years; it’s living my life on my terms regardless of what others think; it’s being true to myself. Home is internal, home is a feeling, an emotion. Home is not a place, it has no address. Home can be felt anywhere and at anytime. Home can be everywhere I go, as long as I can stay true to myself. Home can be with anyone, as long I feel safe and secure, comfortable, welcomed, loved, and accepted for who I truly am without judgement. There are very few people I feel “home” with and it’s not very often I feel “home” with myself. As I learn to surround myself with like-minded people and continue to seek out my tribe, I know there will be more people I feel home with. Likewise, as I learn to fearlessly and courageously live from the essence of who I am regardless of what others might think and in spite of who I’ve believed I am, I know I will feel home with myself everywhere I go.

Home is about connection, deep connection. I have an incredibly deep connection with the aforementioned person I feel home with. I’ve felt the connection since the first conversation (it was a phone conversation) we had and it’s only continued to grow deeper with time. It’s one of those connections where you feel like you’ve known each other for years, a lifetime and longer…lifetimes. A connection where you know, without question, that you were meant to be part of each other’s lives. The Universe brought us together and timing was everything.

I’ve only felt home like this with one other person. An entirely different connection, but equally as deep and meant to be. Unfortunately that person was just passing through; but oh the growth, lessons, and love that came from that connection is everlasting and will live on in my heart until the end of time.

It’s not often I will talk about or even acknowledge any type of connection I have with myself. Hell, to this point in my life, I’ve seldom even acknowledged myself. I certainly haven’t ever had much regard for myself. Slowly but surely I am learning to care more about myself and to treat myself with the same respect and dignity as I treat others with. What I do know about myself is that in the moments I allow myself to live from the essence of who I truly am, I feel deeply connected to myself and the Universe. I like me so much more during those moments. I love the essence of who I am. I love the person I get glimpses of, the person I know I am at my core, the person I am learning to fearlessly and courageously be.

Well they say it’s where the heart is
and I guess the hardest part is
when your heart is broken
and you’re lost out in the great wide open
looking for a map
finding your way back
to where you belong
well that’s where I belong

Home
The world tried to break me
I found a road to take me
Home
There ain’t nothing but a blue sky now
After all of my running
I’m finally coming
Home

*Lyrics of Coming Home from Country Strong Movie

This is home to me. I hope you feel home, if not, I hope you feel home soon.

-Dani

A Dark Place

A Dark Place
  • Eating
  • Hydrating
  • Sleeping
  • Bathroom Breaks
  • Showering
  • Getting Dressed
  • Getting out of Bed
  • Talking
  • Laughing
  • Working
  • Feeling
  • Thinking Logically

These all seem like pretty easy everyday tasks, right? For many people the answer is yes, but for some of us the answer is “not always” or “no”.

There is a place, a dark place. It is almost like a parallel universe. From the outside looking in everything appears fine, but on the inside, it is a universe where darkness lives. The weight of the darkness is paralyzing and suffocating. It sucks the happiness and life from your body, mind, and soul. The air is thick and breathing is difficult. The people here try to fight it, they try to over power it, but it’s useless, at least that’s how it seems in this place.

This place creates a numbness, within the people here, that is so incredibly painful. People who have never been to this place have no idea how painful numbness really is. It is like you are completely void of any emotion except hurt, sadness, agony, despair. This place causes people to feel utterly alone in the world, both the inside world and the outside world.

This place is indescribable. It is dark, it is heavy, it is suffocating, it is without hope, it is dense, it is painful, it is a private hell built for each individual person who has been there; though all of this is true, it doesn’t come anywhere near describing what this dark place is or what it feels like to be there.

Some people are lucky enough to pass through once or twice, but others aren’t so luck. Some people are regulars who have the misfortune of frequenting this dark place. While you are in this place it feels like you will be stuck there for eternity, there is no escape, this place has become a permanent residence. In time people will escape, but it feels more like a trick because this place allowed us to escape, and many of us know it is only a matter of time before it comes back for us. During the reprieve these people try to make the best of the time they’ve been given, knowing that at any moment the darkness will come calling, and never knowing how long they will be captive to it next time around.

This dark place has a name, it’s called Depression. If you’ve never visited this dark place you can’t begin to imagine what it is like. It’s not just a bad day. It’s not just feeling a lack of energy. It’s not just the feeling people get on a gloomy rainy day. It’s not something a Vitamin D supplement will cure. It’s not just a lazy day.

It is like having your heartbroken everyday. It is like losing a loved one everyday. It is like the sun has been destroyed and everyday for the rest of time will be gloomy and rainy. It is like your best friend moving to a different state everyday for the rest of your life. It is like putting your pet down day after day after day. It is like a private hell in which there is no escape. It eats at you. It brings you further and further away from goodness and happiness.  It messes with your emotions and reasonable thinking. It tricks your mind in to believing you aren’t worthy of anything good in the world.

People with chronic/clinical depression know what needs to be done to help keep this dark place at bay, but depression is a tricky little bitch. It never sends a warning or an invitation. It shows up anywhere at anytime and often for no reason at all. Once it’s got it’s grip on you and it’s pulled you into the dark place it doesn’t matter how much you know about how to help yourself, it doesn’t matter how badly you want to help yourself, it doesn’t matter how desperately you want to get up and move, to eat, to get fresh air, to sleep, to talk, to laugh, to shower, to function. Depression does not care! It is debilitating and it has a hold on you until it’s ready to let you go.

This dark place, called Depression, is very real. If you’ve never experienced all of the above, I hope that you never do. All I ask is that you don’t dismiss others who are struggling with depression. Depression, as well as all other mental health disorders, are very serious. Please respect those with it, be kind and compassionate. Don’t tell them to just “get over it”, don’t tell them “everyone goes through this” don’t belittle them, don’t tell them they are lazy, don’t make them feel worse than they already do. Just Love them and be supportive. Sometimes that might mean from a distance, but check in with them daily with a phone call or on social media. Don’t drop by unexpected, the house is probably a mess and this will cause the person to feel more shame. Let them know you care and that you’re there, without judgement, if they need you.

You never know when you could be the light in someone’s dark place. No one likes to feel alone.

For those of you who are all too familiar with this dark place, know that you are not alone. Know that sooner or later it will pass and you will have better days, even when it doesn’t feel that way…especially when it doesn’t feel that way!

You are lovable. You are worthy. You are more than enough. You matter.

-Dani