Zelophehad’s Daughters

Our Homes

Posted by Vada

I’ve been wanting to write the last couple of days, but I’ve been kind of stuck with my current writing project. In my attempt to either work through this or avoid it (you pick), I’ve come up with some blog posts. They’ve all been fairly random, especially in regards to what we usually talk about around here, so most of them haven’t actually been posted (actually, most of them have only been written in my head at this point). But despite the fact that I don’t want to completely bury our blog in random and off the wall posts, I still do post some of them. Like my last post, which was even entitled Complete Randomness. Or the post about a fly in my bedroom.

I realized that to post such things I must feel pretty comfortable here. At home. And I do. It got me thinking about where I feel at home, and where I don’t, and ways that I can tell. Like many of us, I’m not always honest with myself. I often try to convince myself of things, and often I don’t even realize I’m doing it. For this reason, I find that a better test of where I feel at home is not what I think of when I think of “home”, but rather how I act when I am certain places. If I look at how I behave, it’s pretty obvious (to me) how at home I am in a particular place or with a particular person. So I did this, and thought I would provide you all with a list of my “homes”.

The first, and most important one, is my own physical home. I spend half of my days in pajamas there. I don’t worry about if my teeth or hair are brushed. Of course, even in my own home, I put up barriers, though luckily not with my own family. But if, say, the home teachers are coming over, I make sure all the dirty clothes are upstairs out of sight. I make sure I have on real clothes, and I spend the visit smiling, however I’m feeling that day. It’s not that I dislike our home teachers — it’s just that I don’t feel at home with them.

The second place I feel at home is at my parent’s house. When there, I act pretty much the same way I do at my own house (though I try to be a little better at picking up toys and dishes before bed, since I know if I don’t, my mother will stay up doing it). I don’t have any pretenses for my parents or my siblings, or even my brother-in-law. They can all experience me in all my un-showered glory (I’m sure they’re all totally excited about that, too). I also don’t have any compunctions about calling any of them (and I’m a total phone coward). The only other people who I actually enjoy calling are my husband and two friends from college.

Lately, my little corner of my neighborhood has started to feel like “home”. It’s the first time I’ve really felt this way, and it’s nice. There’s a little group of us who get together for kids birthday parties, etc, and just talk and have a good time. We also talk on the phone sometimes, and e-mail somewhat frequently. Two of the other families also have kids on the autism spectrum, so we spend lots of time chatting about schools, therapies, etc.

My other “homes” are not quite as traditional. They’re all online, and have been for quite some time. I’m quite an introvert naturally (though you can’t always tell if you meet me — that comes under the “putting on faces for other people” category), and the internet is wonderful in that it allows me to really connect with people without going too far out of my comfort zone. It also allows me to connect with people who I have things in common with who I would never have the opportunity to meet in real life.

The first place I really found a home online was on a mailing list for fans of a particular author who I quite enjoy. I was in high school, and though I had a few friends who had similar tastes, in general I was the odd one out. Online, though, there was a group of people (of different ages, from different parts of the world, in different life situations) who shared many of my tastes. We started by talking about books, but we had conversations on that list about anything and everything. I still remember the names of many of the people on there, though it’s been defunct for about 8 years.

Currently I’m on another mailing list where I’ve found a home — it’s for parents of kids with food allergies. When I first figured out that my second kid had food issues, it was completely overwhelming. I was sobbing, wondering how I was going to possibly feed my child. I was in a place where I had no family or community support (I didn’t even speak the language), and I was beside myself. I went looking online for help and advice, and came across an amazing group of moms and dads who understood, and who support each other through it all. And if you ever look through the archives and see some of the rants and raves I’ve posted for the people on that list to read, it’s obvious I’m completely comfortable there. :)

And of course, to bring the post full circle, I feel at home on the bloggernacle, and especially here at ZD. I think it’s one of the great things about a family blog — you want everyone there for who they are, not because they fit in nicely with what you blog about. (Though technically, it’s not my family, and I’ve actually only met one member of the Zelophehad clan; still, they seem to have adopted me, and I’m happy to have them.) So here’s to feeling at home and being able to be completely and totally my random, crazy self.

4 Responses to “Our Homes”

  1. 1.

    I hope it goes without saying that I’d love to hear about where all of you feel at home (or where you don’t).

  2. 2.

    I have mixed feelings about my home. It is a place that I have helped shape, and feel comfortable, and reflects my tastes. But it is not a place I can relax. It is where I work. There are always things to clean, bills to pay, clothes to mend. I go from room to room, always seeing things to do.

    For me, the gym is my “third place”

    , the place where I can relax.

  3. 3.

    I really like this post, Vada. My family and I moved recently, and it’s taking a little while to feel like our new house is actually home.

    I really like how you describe how feeling at home works. For me it’s similar–home is where I don’t feel like I’m “on stage” at all. My wife and I have had a family of really good friends who had kids the same ages as ours, and we got together with them so much that I felt completely at home in their house.

    Tangential to the point of your post, I find it interesting that you’re an introvert and a phone coward. I’m also both, and I suspect there’s a relationship. I saw a presentation recently in which the speaker described an experiment he had done where he demonstrated a relationship like this. He was teaching an undergraduate class where the students had to participate online for part of the class. He found that introverts did better with what he called asynchronous discussion (a message board format) and extroverts did better with synchronous discussion (a chat room format). It totally matched my experience. I like message boards and email. I don’t like chat and phones. And I’m always too slow to get involved in conversations on the Bloggernacle that happen too quickly.

    And I’m glad to hear you feel at home (virtually) among so many of us oddball Zelophehads. We’ll have to plot a way to get all of us together one of these Christmases. Or summers. Or something.

  4. 4.

    Fun topic. I totally agree with your litmus test about what makes something “home” involving the way you feel you can act there. That’s one reason I love visiting my siblings; I feel so relaxed at their places, and I can hang out in my pajamas all day if I’m so inclined. And my siblings with families of their own always do a great job of making me feel like I’m a part of the family as opposed to a visiting guest–especially my nephews, who have no qualms about leaping across the room onto my back when I’m not looking, or knocking on the door every five minutes to see if I’m done reading yet and can play Monopoly. That kind of thing makes me feel very much at home.

    I currently live in a dorm with about forty other students. They’re a wide range of ages, and the majority of them are Episcopalians who are working on Master’s of Divinity degrees–though there are a number of other faiths and degree programs represented as well. It’s a good group of people, and I especially appreciate the moral support that other students offer. I also particularly enjoy the glimpses I get into the religious lives of people of different faiths. But I sometimes miss having a place of my own; unless I’m hiding out in my room, I always feel like I have to be “on” to some degree.

    I’ve had a couple of different online homes over the years, but I think the bloggernacle is my favorite. There aren’t a lot of spaces in my life where I can bring my academic side, my religious side, and my silly side. And I’m very glad to hear that you feel at home at ZD; one of the things I really like about blogging here is that my co-bloggers are all so willing to listen to what I have to say and be supportive when I’m feeling frustrated, even if they think my ideas are crazy. ;)

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