I’ve lived with friends. I’ve lived with partners in my life. I’ve lived on my own. I’ve lived in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, along the shores of Long Island, the rural outskirts in Minnesota, the middle of Manhattan, and the beautiful city of St. Paul for the last few years.
The prettiest homes of friends, some large, some quite lavish, some quaint & cozy, some cramped & well lived in, some with just walls & a door to lay a mattress & hang my clothes.
As a child it became normal to move every few years. A new city, a new environment, a new set of friends, a new room to decorate a different way. Change became programmed to be our norm. One can argue this has both negative, and positive effects on a child. It allows you to become incredibly adaptable to your surroundings. You are more resilient, and resourceful. You don’t dwell on the home, as much as you do the people around you. However, you crave stability, and need to feel safe more than anything. You start to want to take control over your whole life keeping everyone at a distance. My mom always said “Jennifer, you can live anywhere, and you’ll always land on two feet thriving. You’re a survivor”. She’s definitely right about that.
Being quite the perfectionist type A person that I am, and have been since I was a child; I would always decorate every room to the fullest. Our homes were always warm, and inviting. I loved having friends over, and entertaining them. Still do! Through middle school, and high school I’d rather be home, or outside near my home than anywhere else. As I entered my 20’s I tried hard to make my apartments the same. Always welcomed friends over, and enjoyed cooking/having fun parties. Rich colors, with a warm romantic feel. At one point I had every room in our home representing a different country. I wanted to feel as if transported to another place if even for a few moments. This was circa my traveling days. I never knew if I’d get to see the world, so I made the best situation with what we had.
After my marriage ended my life was completely unrecognizable. I’d gone from the warm town home we raised our boys in to a multitude of situations to survive, and allow myself the time I needed to heal on my terms, and rebuild my life from the ground up. Many have casted stones at the fact that I didn’t have a stable home for those two years, and that’s ok. For those who are looking in to someone’s life based on their own life situation, and upbringing moving often, and living a life like I did it is considered completely unacceptable, and shameful. Their views and judgement are there’s to have, and I respect that. However, my journey is my own to be ok with.
So now let’s talk about the last few years living in Minnesota. What once was incredibly painful, is now beyond peaceful. Here’s how I got there on my terms. I stopped fighting myself, and God. I surrendered my own limitations. I spent a lot of time alone. I became incredibly comfortable alone in my home. No friends, no boys running around, no partner, just me. I decorated my home based on what I felt was the most peaceful. Creams, neutrals, with pops of green, and wood for natural elements. I wanted a very grounding space. It became my sanctuary. My calm from the storm. Bit by bit I created a very beautiful space. But for the life of me I kept praying to feel that feeling in my core that felt like this is home. I couldn’t find it. Month by month I began to travel as I entrenched myself in work mode 80% of the time aside from being a mom. My home became the sky. That’s where I found my peace. My soul felt on fire seeing the world finally. I’ve been to some of the most beautiful places in the world. I’ve been blessed enough to work remote & on projects that take me to majestic destinations. As much as I’ve loved, and embraced every country and city I’ve stepped foot on I still wasn’t finding my “home”. I was just running. Living fully every day as if it was my last, but running.
It wasn’t until May of this year that I was so fortunate enough to feel something I don’t think I’ve ever felt since I was a young child. I remember being on a podcast excited to share my vulnerable story of the last few years as an entrepreneur, and pushing through failure. Little did I know the host was going to go way back to my childhood & open up a deeply hidden box of memories and emotions. That podcast is the first of a series of events in the matter of a few days that led me to finally confront my past. I booked a flight within 24 hours, had a profound 15 minute Uber ride to the airport with a complete stranger who gave me some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard, and within two weeks I was in front of my dad sitting there shaking, tears building up, but trying so hard to find the words that I knew I needed to say with grace & love to him. The last piece of me finding home was dealing with the biggest part of me that I never healed from as a child. I carried this young girl with me my whole life searching for home externally vs. internally.
Those few hours that day were the most intense I’ve had in years. They allowed me to find closure with that little girl who never truly took her running shoes off, and felt safe. The little girl who had her heart broken, but kept loving the only way she knew how. Those hours gave me all of my life back. I finally felt peace. No more triggers, no more walls up to keep someone from loving all of me unconditionally. No more hurt.
Forgiveness is the most unbelievable gift you can give yourself, and others. It’s the only way out of the storm clouds that continue to carry over each chapter through life.
All that pain bottled up year after year manifested into health issues, and emotions stored in my body. I remember driving to the airport that day after seeing my dad to see some of my favorite people before taking off to Minnesota. I knew that my faith was keeping me going. I almost didn’t make my flight from the tears, and heaviness, but somehow with minutes to spare I got on that plane. That flight wasn’t like any other flight. I came home that evening unable to talk to anyone, and went straight to bed thinking “God, please allow me to break away from all of this heaviness, and sadness. Let me feel it, and then release it all to you. It’s not mine to hold onto anymore. Fill me up with the love and peace I need to find a more fulfilling life. For most of the year I kept saying to my friends I’m almost there. I’ve put in the hardest work I’ve ever done. Now I’m ready for my home. Whatever that may look like I knew it would come however God wanted it to come for me. I surrendered all control over what was next, but was completely open to anything and everything that was placed in front of me. I knew when it was in front of me I’d know it. I knew I was truly at the best place possible in my life. Unwavering peace.
To love people unconditionally amid the hurt and pain we cause because we are human is the purest form of love.
So here I am finally able to say I’ve made it home. I’ve found my home, and I’ve been quietly enjoying and taking it in every moment I could this summer. No more flying to search for that feeling. No more feeling as if home is anywhere but here right now. For those who were there along this journey with me in life in whatever way it was I’m eternally grateful for you. You’ve helped to bring me home.