By Kayla Zilch
The song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came out in January 2010. In the seven-and-a-half- years since, I’ve been ‘given’ that song so many times that I’ve almost forgotten which boyfriend’s love it first represented.
“Home is wherever I’m with you” is a lyric both powerful and pure, and it’s built houses in my heart on behalf of the boys I’ve associated it with. And yet, many of the houses represented on behalf of Home’s lyrics now sit vacant, empty, some so far off the perimeters of my heart-map that I couldn't return to them even if I wanted to.
It’s funny how we all swear the love we feel will never dull or dim, but how every love but one, will.
Some of us haven’t found the one undimmed love yet - and some of us will continue tending to the candles of the love left behind, believing that ‘some’ love is better than none.
And in reality or dreams, we take comfort in that small flicker of warmth, drawing safety and poignancy from lyrics like “Home” until we finally have a permanent place again to store the contents of our hearts that, for now, sit squatting in the in-between spaces of love-soaked song lyrics and real-life rejection.
It’s why we keep going back to Facebook pages, old texts, driving down certain roads after sundown, or finding an excuse to eat at certain restaurants and work out at certain gyms.
We’re all searching for “home”. Rather than uproot ourselves from a place of nostalgia, we desire to see the past restored. We want to find ways to make the old new again.
But at what point do we just start living in the now - emotionally homeless, without flickering-love candle warmth - but fully, terrifyingly alive, eyes forward and full of hope?
If you’re a feeler, this is hard. It’s harder than hard. We feelers store up memories and sentiments the way hoarders store empty cereal boxes and used Kleenex. We find beauty in everything, and therefore letting go feels like betraying our very nature.
Our greatest strength - identifying beauty, assigning meaning - becomes our enemy when the leaves start dropping from the autumnal trees of our life, and we run around trying to glue them back on.
It’s been years since “Home” first showed up in my world, on a burned CD gifted by my first serious boyfriend. And when he left, the lyrics were still good, still beautiful, still sparkling and full of hope. But I can’t listen to that song anymore without peeling myself off the floor after it’s finished.
So rather than continue listening, hoping the song will dull with repeated plays or trying to force myself to associate the bittersweet memories with a new, present reality, I just turn it off.
There’s a mistaken belief floating around in our culture that all things can be restored, given enough love and hard work. That by returning to something faithfully, we can will it to be what it once was, or become what we want it to be.
It’s just not true.
You are worthy of a mansion, not a decaying room. You were created to live in the springtime of love, not the winter. Your love burns bright like bonfire, and can’t be contained by the flicker of candles. You are worthy to receive the same love you so faithfully give away.
And the moment you stop kneeling at the altar of past loves, you’ll begin to discover that home is indeed a place that’s “wherever I’m with you” - even if the “you” is a tender, compassionate relationship you finally offer to yourself.