How Home Makes My Heart Feel
Home for me has always been my safest place in the world. It was in the Fraser Valley- Maple Ridge, BC – on a beautiful piece of acreage. It was spacious, functional and fun. It was something I was unbelievably proud of; always full of food, family and friends. It was my place in the world to feel safe, no matter what. When I came back home from university in Nova Scotia, home was always there waitingfor me. I knew how blessed I was to have this anchor of home. It was a physical place to me as well as a feeling in my heart. At the time, I didn’t distinguish the difference, they were synonymous.
It was in 2012 we lost my father to suicide. The loss was and still is unfathomable. It threw our entire family & community in the deep end of mental health awareness. It left a gaping hole in everyone that knew him. I was left… shattered. I needed to go home, but it didn’t feel the same anymore. The safe feeling in my heart was gone. Shortly after, we sold the family home & property along with a lot of our family possessions. My physical anchor and safe place in the world was gone. At the time it felt like that experience might last forever. After the sale, I ended up renting an semi- furnished apartment off a family friend in Vancouver. It was a space that never felt like mine – I wasn’t sure how it felt, but I know how it didn’t feel, like home.
The next year or so was a blur of trying to make sense of what was now my new normal. It was in late 2013 I moved out of that semi-furnished apartment in Vancouver and into a basement suite in Burnaby with my new partner. I was working for my mom’s interior design firm, Good Space, answering phones at the time. The interior designers at the studio offered to help mock up some space plans for me of my new basement suite with the few furniture pieces I had accumulated.
They showed me the best flow for the open space feeling of my basement suite and also helped me make a shopping list of things to get for the space in the future. The day my partner and I moved in, we followed our floor plans and began to set up our new space. I filled the shelves with my things, I set up the lamps I had, side tables and some of the personal possession I had at my family home. I felt better about my new space but it wasn’t home, it wasn’t the safety and security I once knew. I didn’t know how to shift this, I felt very stuck.
Home is Created.
Let’s jump forward to 2019. I still live in Burnaby, still live in a basement suite, and still living with my partner. If you were to ask me today where my safest place in the world is, I would have to say the home my partner and I created in Burnaby. I reflected on how I got here from where I was before and it was a combination of things:
- Addressing function first in the space I am living, working and playing. It was really thinking about how I use the spaces in my home and honouring their purpose.
- Putting aside the desire to have my home look a certain way and understand its about how I want to feel about the space.
- Making goals and lists for things to get in the future to always be improving the space and function around me.
- Most importantly, giving my home the attention it was asking for.
I honoured that it wasn’t something that was just going to happen, or somewhere that I could just show up at, expecting something from. It is an experience that I am capable of creating in any place I live. It needed nurturing, creating, love and energy.
I learned that home is something I can create anywhere I want to. It’s a combination of energy, function, purpose, my possessions and their meaning to me. It’s a place and feeling that I have learned is both tangible and yet intangible.