On the importance of having a home
On Monday 11th April, I started writing morning pages again. This is something I first began in my 20s and kept as a habit for many years. I no longer remember why I stopped but going back to them has led to a more general experiment in trying to remember who I was then. I have been re-reading books from both my childhood and my early twenties to try to remember and recover a self I think I abandoned at some point in my early 30s: the moment when I ‘quit writing’ and almost deleted this website entirely. (Although, I realise now that I never actually quit writing, I just traded more creative writing for academic writing.)
I hope I never stop writing morning pages again because there is something profoundly grounding about waking up, making coffee, feeding the cats, and then curling up on my couch with an A4 notebook and writing. Sometimes it is fluff and nonsense, sometimes it is ideas for a larger body of work, sometimes it is difficult, and sometimes the words won’t stop coming; but always it is about the sky, the light, the birds, and how I feel both in my body and in my heart.
I like my life and I love my home. I love that I wake up every morning in an orange sun room, and then move through a green hall into a blue sky living room. I love that light floods the entirety of this tiny little flat from each and every direction. I love that when I sit on my beautiful teal couch and look out of my windows, all I can see is the sky and the birds and the clouds.
I have been here for a little over a year now and still wake up every morning grateful for having it, and by it I mean a home. Grateful to the beautiful woman I met in the steam room one evening who told me to look for housing cooperatives with open lists. Grateful that I did what she said because here I am, in my own place in London, something I never thought would happen again.
I have had a strange life and a difficult relationship with housing, including a spell of homelessness, which is why I know that there is an enormous difference between having a place to live and having a home. When you have a home, as I do now, you have the possibility of a future. You have the confirmation of safety. You have the ability to be still and observe your surroundings. None of these things would be possible for someone like me without social housing. Which is why I wake up every single morning grateful that somehow, after all, I got a second chance at having a home.
With this little flat I have grown roots. I feel them sink down into the ground at the same time as my mind opens up to the sky. I find myself holding steady, waiting on a promise, the promise that I myself am to me. The promise of a full circle. I know, now I have this home, that I can wait on that return. I do not need to go looking, because I know she will find me here, sitting still in my colourful home of light, peace, and clarity.
As I await her, I find myself unfurling into my neighbourhood. I enjoy the white roses in the garden up the road that I always stop to sniff when they are in bloom. I enjoy saying hello to the people that I see regularly: the traveller looking guy who in the morning proudly walks two old dogs on pieces of string, but who I often see in late afternoons in the park drinking. The old rastaman who always says ‘yes sista, one love’ but only when I am wearing a particular t-shirt. The crazy cat rescuer lady who often gives me free things for my cats. The people at my gym who I am in the process of making a new ‘zine about. My neighbour with a similar name who’s always doing something in his van outside. The Turkish man waiting in the doorway of his shop. The ladies in the butchers who thought I must be learning how to tattoo given how much pig skin I buy (I am in a pork crackling phase). The three toothed groundsman with the best smelling job on earth. It is a nice life untainted by the news or social media, both of which I have long since abandoned.
My life is so small now. I do not have any goals. I am not trying to get anywhere because I do not want to be anywhere other than where I already am. Because I am home. And now I am home, I can pick up the things I packed away due to the relentless travelling and the insecurity of private renting. I can be still and set my own agenda and only say yes after thinking for a long time. I know who to turn to when I need help. Better, I can admit when I need help both to myself and to others. I am unashamed of all the cracks and crevices left by a different life lived by an irregularly shaped person with a different kind of mind.
I have so much to be grateful for and in that gratitude is so much love. I have come to own myself as I am which is genuinely not like the others. And in that ownership and acceptance is a dissipation of chaos. My fingers, wands; my irregularity, power. All of that that knowledge thanks to a home.