WHAT IS HOME?

Home is a place of acceptance, love and belongingness. With any of these lacking, a place isn’t worthy to be called home.

But is it always like that? Do we get these qualities at home at all time?

The sad truth is that even when you find it hard to get acceptance, love or belongingness at home, you often stay all the same.

But this is true of you not because you’re gullible or weak, not because you’re not concerned about your mental health, but because home will always be home, whatever acts it puts up towards you, either positive or negative. Home is where you always go back to whether it’s sweet or not.

Should Anyone be Scared of Home?

When I was young and I’d done wrong at home before going out, say to school, coming back home would be terrifying. The beating I’d receive that night from dad. Or rather, the slaps that would visit my back and cheeks from mum. I would imagine how painful it would be and wish I didn’t have to go home. I’d wish I had somewhere else to go.

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But I’d never think of anywhere else to go because home wasn’t an option, a place for me to choose to go or not. Rather, it was a slope that always drew me to itself. A nearby river I must always fetch from, except I wanted to die of thirst.

Then, I used to tell myself, when I become an adult I’ll be free. I’ll choose whether to go home or not. In fact, nothing will scare me about home, so I won’t be scared of going home. No one will threaten me with a cane or slap on my back. Because I’ll become an adult and make my choices, void of anyone’s pressure or control.

The Truth about Home

And truly, I became an adult and thought things would change. But instead, they became worse for the better. Why? Because I became a man of responsibilities. And by all means, home is tied to responsibilities.

Even though I always long to go home, now as an adult, to rest, relax and forget the work of the day, there’s a responsibility that always awaits me at home.

There’s a twist here though. When I was little, home was where I went back to after school or any outing. Now that I’m an adult, I am home and I carry it with me everywhere I go.

How?

Because the survival of home lies on the success of my responsibilities, without which home will fall, shatter and crumble. And in order to make it stand and thrive, I have to work responsibly, whether I like it or not. Or else, I won’t have anywhere to call home—a complete failure.

So instead of letting it fall, I work day and night to maintain the stability of home at all time. The house must be clean, there must be food and my mind must be sane. The combination and provision of these—and other important needs—makes for me—as at now—a good home.

And that was when I started to realise that my parents’ duty then was to keep the home running with consistency and stability, whether they felt motivated or not, just as I do now. That was when I realise that no matter how I felt then, it was nothing compared to what my parents were feeling. Their need to keep the home running, by all means, outweighed my fear of cane and unmet expectations.

With that knowledge, I can now call myself a home keeper and bless my parents for their intelligence, an intelligence I’ve reflexively drawn from.

Stephen Wholesome

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