Monday, October 13, 2008

Making Home [My Paper for Writing Class]

We were sitting on a blue fleece blanket and the morning dew from the grass was slowly seeping through the fibers. With zero sleep everything becomes funnier to four teenage girls. At that point I couldn’t have been more content, being accompanied by three of my best friends, wasting away the early morning hours before I headed eight hundred miles north to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Hugging one another, we sat silently in shock of the abrupt conclusion to our summer that was so quickly about to come to past. The sun began rising over the hill and we shared a few more laughs before returning home. We awkwardly said our goodbyes, and I couldn’t understand how my new home could ever compete with the place I was standing in at that moment. I felt so warm yet shaky inside; I didn’t want to leave them. They drove off to continue their lives, and I drove off in the other direction to continue mine. My new home awaited me, and I had the highest expectations.

There’s something about home in Blue Springs, Missouri that tears at my heart, as if simply thinking about it draws every inch of happiness out of my body. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is about home that makes me feel so empty inside, but I know that where I live now is no home. Living here at college is more like a house; it’s a structure, a shelter, a current location. As of right now (though maybe in a few months it will be completely opposite) my current address is temporary and not where I plan to stay forever.

Starting out I believed home to be an abstract idea where only my memories lie, where I got poison ivy from adventuring around Blue Springs Lake, where I star gazed with my friends, where buying ice cream was a hometown ritual. It was where my heart rested and was content, where every beat had a place, and where it had been recently left behind. For so long I wanted to leave that miserable place where my parents controlled my every move, but when I tried to make home in Minneapolis I found it wasn’t the same in the slightest. After putting so much time and effort into grounding myself in Blue Springs I realized everything I loved, like my friends and the very air I breathed, became painfully far away and out of reach. However, through all of this change of environment I have grown in ways I never thought possible. I discovered all I really wanted was independence and the ability to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. In that way I have come to love my new home, and it is slowly becoming the abstract idea I thought it should be. The only variable to change in this time is the friendships I’ve made. Thus, I have revised my idea of home to say it is where my heart has companionship. Whether it is through family or friends, all I need to define a place as “home” is a strong connection with another human being. Now that I have friends in both places, I have two homes, but they are still two very separate places in my mind while sharing the same space in my heart.

Additionally, one should know that no matter where I am I’ve always had a hard time making friends. I’m very guarded at first, but after I feel comfortable in a room, or know at least one single person, I become my loopy, loud, silly self. I’ve been told I have no reason to be so shy because I have many amiable qualities, but I’ve always been such a spectator, not flaunting my qualities in front of others. I love learning about people and how they work, whether it is their inability to show their feelings or inability to hold them in. In that sense I believe I become closer with those around me, being able to adapt to their needs as a friend. With that said, having a group of close friends is much more of a priority to me than having many acquaintances. The latter can be so lonely when life (like moving to college) happens.
At home it took me eight years to find a group of friends with whom I truly belonged. I had been through so many different collections of people as I grew up and changed, never really knowing what my own recipe for a good friend included. I had the 06ers, the Sisterhood, DVS, JBGs, etc. All these groups of friends generally fizzled out after a year of school. Then, at the most inconvenient time to become attached to anyone, I made three friends right before I left for college. We spent nearly every day of the summer together, up to the very hour before I hit the road with my parents. One can’t imagine the hurt I felt when I had to say goodbye and move away from the prized pals I had so recently won. Companionship like that doesn’t come along so easily in one’s life, especially not mine.

College was unexpectedly quiet at first, but I was eager to make new acquaintances. I put on a generic friendly face and went about my business, scoping out the potential friends I could make along the way. My roommates were tolerable, but we didn’t “click” like I had seen others so effortless achieve. The weeks on my calendar scooted by like a moseying caterpillar. At that point I yearned for home, feeling hopeless and incapable of mustering up the courage to be myself around my peers. Because I was fully educated in my own habits, I knew that time was the only medicine for this loneliness disease. Thus I trucked on, getting more and more comfortable in my college routine. I made my first direct attempt at social interaction by attending the school’s ever-so-famous Recess Club. There I unsuspectingly met the four people with whom I would spend the rest of the semester. From that point on, I was completely content in my new home and finding companionship was checked off my To-Do list. Happiness consumed me.

Though these friendships aren’t exactly the same and will never replace one or the other, I have become fully content living here at college or back home in the suburbs. The only difference between these two groups of close friends, besides the physical features and names, is the memories we share together. I’m thankful to experience life with both because many best friends are better than one, and with them I have found my idea of home in two very different places.

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