February 24, 2021
Update: I’ve started painting a collection of roomscapes (that’s what I’m calling the interior landscapes I’ve been doing of Z and my apartment). Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic I only really paint when something inspires me. Who would have thought that these interior landscapes would be the thing to finally get me to set up my paint palette? I’ve never actually loved landscapes. Looking at them is fine, but they were never something I felt particularly inclined to make myself. Our apartment, on the other hand, is very fun to put on paper, the lines and shadows of the rooms are almost mind numbingly orderly under my brush.
I’m a big fan of our apartment in general. It’s small and cozy, with a full wall of windows lined with plants and an open, Z-friendly floor plan. Even our clutter has its place. Z seems to know where just about everything is and when we do misplace things there are only so many places to look. I’ve started hanging our finished puzzles on the wall, redecorating a bit. Everything I brought when I moved in has found a spot, and I’ve found a spot.
So, this is home.
That’s sort of a big statement, because up until recently my “home” was where I grew up. It was also home to my very wonderful parents, and my brother, and my dog, and cat, and hermit crabs. I had my own room and a spot on the couch in the den, and my seat at the kitchen table. Along with it came our town, the interior of my parent’s cars, our temple, the train station, etc.
I’ve been there many times since moving to Ithaca. I go there in dreams. I’ll be in the kitchen talking to my Mom, or I’ll be in the car with my Dad. I’ll be taking the dog for a walk, passing by the temple, the pizza place, the sushi place, and the comic book store. I’ll be going to the train station. It’ll be like it was pre-pandemic, normal and happy. And then I’ll start to panic, because I’ll remember that I left Z and all my stuff in their comfy spots in our apartment. I’ll remember that I have to get back, and I don’t drive (this is true), and nobody will take me. People say they’ll take me, but they don’t. And I have this dream again and again, once or twice a week. There are different variations. Once I tried to join a traveling circus that said they would take me back if I was part of their freakshow, but they kept wanting to take me to different towns to show me to people. Whatever the variations are I end up quietly aching for what I’m trying to get to, and for what I’m trying to leave.
I’ve been trying to figure out what I can learn from the dream. I thought maybe I was homesick, but no, it’s not that. I’ve stayed other places, settled into dorms and houses, but these places never felt like home. Not like my home anyway. My apartment with Z does. And I think I’m struggling because if this feels like home than what is my parent’s house? Thiers? Not mine? What happens when you find a new place to call home? Do you lose the old one? Can you go back? When I go back will that feel like a vacation instead of this being one? I know my room will look the same, all the drawers filled with old memories. And somehow that makes me sad, I feel like I have a foot in each place and in my dreams those places drift further and further from each other and I’m torn in two.
I think maybe finding home in a place that you pick, and a place that you make for yourself is just part of growing up. So, I’m painting roomscapes and I think I’m trying to work out how to have this new understanding of what home can be. It’s a process, but I’m getting there.