Home. What exactly does that one word mean? Is it a place you live, or where the ones you love live? Or is it something more? I think, at least for me, its more. Its feeling loved and welcome and comfortable among people that matter. I also think its accepting that you are loved and welcome by those people. For the longest time I've known that my friends care about me and I've known that my family cares about me but knowing it and accepting it are two different things.
What sparked this sudden epiphany for me? First it was my best friend S, then it was L's family. On Saturday S came over to visit while she was in town for her dad's birthday and she brought me a graduation present, a wall scroll of a picture from one of my favorite artists. It wasn't just any picture though, it was one that actually means something to me and she knew that which is why she picked that particular one. May sound silly to some, but that gesture meant a lot to me.
With L's family, who we went to visit yesterday (yes, she is back in town!), I was completely shocked at how openly they welcomed me and the kids. We weren't just people that L brought along to a family dinner, we were family too. Wow. While I hoped to at least be tolerated as somebody important to their cousin I was totally taken off guard when they welcomed us so warmly and at the end of the night sent us off with hugs and promises that we will be spending more time together as a family. L isn't even living out here yet and already C, R, and I are being included in their family. To me that is utterly amazing.
Parts of my own family would likely welcome her the same way, in fact one of my aunts has, but none of those people live close enough to actually interact with us on a semi-regular basis. Not even my own mother has acted that way with her. She's slowly warming up to the idea but she's being cautious I think mostly because she doesn't want to see me get hurt again so soon after the STBE, but also because of the fact that L is a woman. Oh well. She'll come around I guess. But the majority of my mom's family won't approve of our relationship and I won't be "allowed" to bring her to family holidays or get togethers. Its nice to know that with L's family there aren't any restrictions just because of who we are.
I have never felt so at home as I have in the past few days and I am pretty sure some part of me is changing for the better. The part of me that was scared to let people in because of how I've had to live during the past 6 years, because i had to practically cut myself off from my friends and family because of the drama with the STBE, is getting smaller. The walls I've put up are getting weaker. I am finally able to start seeing glimmers of what real happiness is firsthand, what a real existance should be, instead of just observing it in other people's lives. Thank you S, thank you L, and thank you to L's amazing family.