When I was 10 my family moved from a fairly large South Florida city to a town of 3000 in Central Florida. Let me be the first to say that 10 is more than old enough to feel the culture shock of a move like that. I encountered racism, intolerance, cliques and a unique brand of superficiality. The kind that involves sitting next to you for over an hour in church and ignoring you 10 minutes later in the grocery store. The kind that waves at you on the street corner and talks about you behind your back (but within earshot) on the playground.
It didn’t help that I found interracial dating acceptable in the mid nineties and that I was an early bloomer. It is particularly cruel when kids punish you with rumors for hormones and development you have no power to control.
As I grew older I became wiser and cared less about what people thought. But that did not lessen my pain. As the years went on that town became increasingly colored with very fresh and real pain. The death of my first husband at twenty-four. The unexpected demolishing of family relationships.
There’s lots of pain in my story that I’ve made peace with but this particular wound plagues me often. I hear of people that have great family relationships and I can't comprehend that. I have friends who go “home” regularly and can’t wait to get there. I wish those things were true of me but they’re not and they may never be.
So for me home is in Downtown Orlando with my husband and a drool-covered Basset Hound. Home is friends gathered around the table breaking bread. Home is the patio Downtown where we’ve shared so much of life with the broken of our city and the people we love. Home is front yard fires and conversations that last deep into the night.
How do you define the concept of “home?” I’d love to hear in the comments below.