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

Thought Of The Day

I was talking with a coworker today about work related….blah blah blah. While we were talking I noticed that she would “sneak” quick glances at my body like she disapproved of my attire (she was not “checking me out”). I’m sure she thought she was being subtle, little did she know that I’ve taken on the gift/curse of hyper-vigilance and as discrete as she may have thought she was being, darting eyes don’t get passed me. It wasn’t until her darting eyes kept sneaky glances at my body that I became quite insecure about my body and what I was wearing. I literally spent the rest of the day sucking in my stomach as I walked from here to there and everywhere.

I don’t consider myself overweight by any means, but that’s not to say I’m happy with my body. I would love to lose about 10 lbs and tighten up a bit. I’m 5′ 4 1/2″ and I weigh 140 lbs +/- 5 lbs depending on the month, my mood, and my eating habits. Today I was sporting a long-sleeved athletic shirt, it was semi form fitting but still lose enough that it didn’t cling. It’s one of my favorite shirts and it’s really comfortable (until someone keeps darting their eyes at your body and you become self-conscious about it). I didn’t pay much mind to how it fit when I put it on this morning, as I’ve worn this shirt several times. After my insecurities and self-conscious thoughts kicked in I began to notice that my little tummy poodge was a bit noticeable in this shirt and my newly washed/dried jeans weren’t really helping much either. My muffin top was a little more muffiny than normal.

In no time at all I had thoughts such as “I need to start exercising”, “I’m not wearing this shirt again until I lose a few lbs”, “does everyone realize how chubby I am in this shirt?”, “Am I sucking in enough?”, “Can they tell I’m sucking in?”. I found myself periodically pulling at my shirt in an attempt to stretch it just a bit. I noticed I had subconsciously started using my hands and arms to try to cover my stomach. I tried to sit up as straight as possible as to not cause my stomach to not look even more poodgy than it already was. I mean, at this point I wasn’t far off of my muffiny muffin top being a damn cake! At least that’s how I felt.

Then I realized how ridiculous I was being. I love this shirt and I’ve received many compliments on it. I don’t weigh any more or less than I did the last dozen or more times I’ve worn it. Maybe she wasn’t looking at me in judgement, maybe she also liked the shirt. Or maybe she was looking at me with judgement. Either way, why did I care so much? I let those few minutes of interacting with said coworker affect the rest of my day with constant ridiculous thoughts about my body.  Why was I letting my made up perception of what her looks meant make me feel the way it did?

My thought of the day was, “How easy it is for one person to trigger such insecurities and self-conscious beliefs about myself. All of the negative thoughts I was telling myself, and believing, about why she kept looking at my body/shirt the way she did were all presumptions made on my part. Was I placing how I view myself on her, making it easier for me not to own what I don’t like about myself? Were my presumptions of her thoughts really a reflection of my own?”

My take away is this:

If my presumptions of her thoughts were really a reflection of my own thoughts, then I need to change something I am doing; I need to own my own self-image and change what I don’t like.

If she was looking with judgement, then I need to remember that what other people think of me is none of my business.

If I am wrong on all accounts and she just liked my shirt, then I need to stop over-analyzing (did I mention I’m a little hyper-vigilant?)

Whatever the reality of the situation was, what I do know is that I’m not the only one who experiences situations like this. Hyper-vigilance is a symptom, healing is a process, and awareness is the first step to recovery.

We must begin to love ourselves, even the imperfections. After all, we’re only human.