Two years ago, I stood in our Houston apartment, wondering how I would be able to sense home again. I occupied the space of uncertainty, not knowing, how to take a step forward into our move to Arizona. I’d never moved outside of Texas and the thought of starting over in my mid-thirties seemed so unreachable, the swirl of anxiety and expectation gnawed at me.
I am notorious for asking my husband these six words, “How is this going to work?” He’s always embraced change, not anticipating it with angst, but welcoming it with ease, almost like changing channels on the television set. The possibilities of the unknown simmer in my mind. I want a guaranteed outcome before I make a decision. There is an obvious flaw in that statement, but the knowledge of this doesn’t alter my pedantic thinking.
Through the course of the last two years, I’ve considered the complicated relationship between home and self. It’s a multi-layered approach for me and one that is in flux. Home for most of my life lingered on Bosque Street where I grew up with my parents. Home was walks down our street, ice cream runs at Braums, and eating veggie whoppers (yes, there is such a thing) at Burger King. During my summer vacations to India, I felt a sense of home, eating kulfis (Indian ice cream), walking to the street market with my aunt, and drawing mendhi designs with my with my cousin. When I married, home was the connection I felt with my husband. It was saying “his wife” when we were newly married, lunch at Tia’s (our favorite Mexican place), and walking through bookstores after dinner.
And now, home is Arizona. And I am so surprised that I am saying it out loud.
I love the smell of the desert, especially after the rain. I like how the cactus’s bloom pink flowers in the spring. The run through the neighborhood is comforting, especially because I share it with someone who inspires me to act with grace, my friend K. I like waving to my neighbors as we cross paths and our evening impromptu chats. My daughter loves her school and we’ve both formed relationships with the moms and children. She’s acclimated well to the change, almost like she’s lived in Arizona her whole life.
Sometimes I think it is because she is a child, she doesn’t know the anxiety of change, but I’m breathing that same air too. Perhaps it is because I’ve found a home in my writing. Although I’ve written on and off most of my life, I’ve committed to it here, more than any other place. My writing groups are a place where I feel most at home, exchanging ideas and learning about the craft. I’ve made so many connections in this place that I believe will continue for a lifetime.
And the surprising part of it is? Change was such a curse word in my purview. It’s a word I’ve been scared of for a long time. But I’ve realized that home can be in change too.
Has your sense of home changed? Does it surprise you? Do you relish change or curse it?