Home. Other than Motherhood, is there a trope more gleefully exploited or summoned up in the hopes of selling us something from air freshener to rolling shutters? And yet how many of us are actually at Home in a true sense? Is home a place, or is it more a state of mind, an awareness, or a realisation that coming home to ourselves is something which needs to happen before there can be anything like a home in our lives?
Women are celebrated as ‘home makers’, our biology is thought to lend us skills that create a ‘feminine touch’ when we move the furniture or add flowers to a room which a man has somehow been unable to manage owing to his own biology which lacks the capacity to create and derive comfort from home. Really? Are men unable to create beauty and calm? A quick look through the names of interior designers, architects and painters might show otherwise given that men’s names predominate.
It is true that women’s sense of ownership over the domestic, the interior, has been encouraged as a trade off for our lack of political power outside the home. And it is true that men have been tempted into seeking power outside of the home while leaving the business and pleasure of home creation to the little woman as if a vagina means a love of housework. We have so imbibed these roles that same sex couples can also find themselves living the heteronormative dichotomy. But what really does create a home for women, men, partnered people, solo people and all other family constellations is actually that sense of each member being whole and entire, each member working towards their own inner health and receptivity to others’ emotional states and each member being at home within themselves without ugly power plays or violence being used to dominate and mould others to our will.
When we come home to ourselves we no longer need material wealth to show ourselves and others that we have succeeded in a world that prizes consumerism ahead of people’s lives. It is, after all, sweated labour which creates most of the trappings of wealth we recognise in the west. When we come home to ourselves we no longer need others’ adulation and we no longer parade entitlement, confusing it with the genuine need of humans for love. When we come home to ourselves we can be in silence, in deafening sound, alone or in a crowd and still maintain that sense of self which securely offers us a compass through life.
So much of mainstream life tries to entice us away from that home within self. We can so easily sell ourselves for money, debase ourselves to promote the needs of corporatocracy and ignore the steady chiming of our inner door bell which tries to alert us to the self always wishing for entry to its own home. How can we resist these glowing prizes of things? How can we resist the call of false love with its hollow nature and cries of “Be like me, then we can pretend this life is real!”? By coming home to ourselves. By sitting with discomfort when we act rashly or unkindly, by choosing compassion over hatred, by choosing to make or share instead of purchase those items made by exploited people we’ll never see. By being present that others may also come home to their own selves, in their way, in their time because it is this which shows a society marked by maturity where there is space for difference and appreciation for that which nurtures in a meaningful way.
What will you choose through this time of gluttonous consumption? I wish you and your family peace, love, contentment and that you may find yourselves truly at home.