I trace out the furniture and scenes around me. The dusty chest of drawers in Florence, my spectacles, thyroxine and water always on the nightstand, that diorama like hotel room full of promises and lies, the ghostly figure in my childhood bedroom, Kitty opening the closet like clockwork at midnight, a first class flat bed that does not fit my worried bones. Stroking my fingers across walls, onto tiles and into sharp corners. My shins are forever bruised.
Before I open my eyes I feel my body today in this bed and all the other beds before it. I know where I am but I often travel to where I’ve slept before.
I’ve been twisted up in the concept of home and where it is and what it means. Home is where the heart is, they say.
I have stumbled my way back to the map of my stars, but not in the way I used to. Less dogma and more of a personal study of sorts. I track my transits, I learn about progressions. I make notes in my diary of where the planets sit and how I feel. I keep it to myself and my dearest.
I can now see some of my darkest moods mapped out by the darkest moons.
Last month a destructive planetary party formed in my Cancerian 4th house, the one they say rules the mother and the home.
Mum fell ill and I woke up every day with my body with the words WHERE IS HOME? weaving through my bones.
January 2000 as the train pulled into Santa Maria Novella. I was home, my body uncoiled, the familiar chatter rattled around me. Back to my escape and dreamscape. Night living, always on the run from myself. I could not imagine that anywhere in the whole world could be more suited to me.
I have not returned in over ten years. I am no longer suited to her. She lives twirled up inside me, a nostalgic haze of cocktails, concussion and deafening hysterical laughter.
Last month I lay on my roof trying to map out where I could go, where I should go.
What would I do there? Who would I be?
The only mistake I made was trying to answer that question in the first place.
July 2016 in a hotel room in west London. Shaking with trauma terror, a little voice shouted out ‘I WANT TO GO HOME’. She knew where her home was, it was with my parents, in the town where I grew up. At that time she was more in control than I.
I remind myself that I am my home. All I ever desire is to be so full of myself that It is impossible to lose myself again.
When you are traumatised your self becomes a broken mirror. There is no longer a centre. My smashed up scene was delayed by 14 years, I didn’t know where I was. The studies have determined that the traumatised brain works differently. You can feel it, because your mind is no longer familiar, it is a brand new home to trace out.
For months I could feel myself everywhere. With PTSD time changes shape, you are in all places at all times. It’s hard to explain.
I used to look out the window to see if I could spot myself in the garden.
There is no time line and after all that banging on about how ‘time isn’t linear’, you miss that beautiful sense of familiar straight movement terribly. Time instead becomes an unknown and out of control terror spiral of sorts, so that you can access every memory and experience all at once.
You are constantly bumping up against yourself.
Amongst all this dissociation you desperately want to be. here. now.
But when you eventually return to the present moment it is with a deafening thud, and surely this cannot be home?
This ability to span all frames of time is horrifying.
But later, when you are all together again, holding hands with yourselves, it can be helpful, a purposeful visitation to every year of you is powerful and healing.
The spiral that is now in your control is a magical thing.
I made up an integration exercise that used to help me. I would visit myself in the womb, brand new, with an anxious mother, and then as a baby and then as one, two, three, four. At each age I took the hand of the next, right up until there is a spiral to 36. Sometimes I had stories or words to tell each age. I am holding myself, no one is left out.
I once programmed myself to run away. I hotfooted it out of the city gates as soon as the high school doors closed.
I believe we are always all ages of ourself. I am careful to not try and wish my stranger thoughts away now. Instead I ask myself which part of me is speaking. How old am I? What do I need?
The desire to no longer gallop from myself or anyone else, crosses paths with a bow sometimes still intent on drawing back ready to shoot me in another direction.
Commitment is a learning curve.
I choose to be with myself.
I have rebuilt my own home.
I feel immense guilt on my realisation that LA is home, I think I wanted it not to be, I wanted the easy route. The one where I didn’t leave my family across the other side of a giant ocean.
But I am always welcome here
Home is everywhere
It is in my goddaughters smile, this text from a boy I don’t know, my best friends knees and a dropped feather on my path
My home travels with me
My heart is a compass
I am the ocean.