I’m not really sure where home is at the moment, but I think I may be 40 miles away from it. Over the past few days I’ve been craving my mum’s cooking, and a clean kitchen, and a long hot bath (I usually always shower, so this one’s a little weird) and more than anything else, the company of my dog (there is something pretty magical about the way he still looks at me like the sun shines out of my butt, even though he’s seen me at my worst). I don’t know whether it’s because my current (lack of) health is making me re-organise my list of priorities, or if it is a sign that I’ve admitted defeat a little bit, but I want a cuddle from a chocolate Labrador so much right now I could genuinely cry about it (which is pathetic, because there are much more pressing issues in my life at the moment that warrant tears but have not been given them). Maybe I don’t want to cry about my dog. Maybe I want to cry about the current situation, and I’ve just given it four legs and a tail to make myself feel better.
I was having an extremely productive day. Sort of. I struggled to wake up. I struggled to get out of the bed. But I did. I tried to clear my room so that there was actually some floor space, and after about half an hour felt so exhausted and unwell that I turned out all the lights, shut the curtains, and went back to bed. On attempt number two, I realised that I hadn’t finished the last page of the lab report from the practical I did last Monday. So I set about that and… Fell asleep. Attempt number three at waking up and staying awake was a little more successful; I printed off the stupid thing, did a small celebratory dance, and then curled up on the bed again. For a healthy person (and me at my normal level of unhealthy) this is a hideous waste of a day. For me in my current state, this was the achievement of the century. Yes I’m in the same clothes I’ve been wearing for two days (my top is on back to front, which you would think I would have fixed by now, but no), and yes I wouldn’t look out of place in a zombie film, but I felt pretty pleased with myself for doing some stuff that needed to be done.
And then my mum sent me a picture of a cocker spaniel puppy. In her arms. Our next door neighbours have just got him, and he is adorably cute, so naturally my mum decided to go and have a cuddle. Upon seeing the puppy picture, multiple things happened. Firstly, I almost lost my mind at the cuteness, and secondly I wanted to be with my dog even more (which I hadn’t thought was humanly possible). I also really wanted to go and cuddle the puppy myself (it’s actually been on my ‘to do list’ since before my birthday, no kidding, I have a list of things I want/ need to do and on one line it just says ‘hug a puppy’)
Fourty miles has never felt so far away. And that’s weird, because my parents house no longer feels like home, and I don’t think it did even when I lived there. I wasn’t happy. Things were tense, and on the occasions that I have been home since starting university I’ve mostly left the front door with fireworks going off behind me, trying to hold in tears, determined never to leave London (first place that has felt like home in a long time) ever again. I rock the boat. A lot. Just by being present. And it makes me feel pretty rubbish, because I get shouted at by the elephant in this blog post no matter how hard I try to be whatever it is I’m expected to be.
But that house is where my dog is. Even if things get tense between us because of a certain other person, it is where my mum is. It is where what is left of my little brother is (because he is rapidly turning into a gangly teenager with a broken voice and therefore he is no longer ‘little’).
Right now nowhere feels like home. Nowhere feels right. But I seem to be craving familiarity, no matter how stressful returning to it may be.
There is too much going on at the moment. I am losing myself, physically and emotionally; I am drifting, and my dog is the furry rock that always keeps me tethered to reality until my feet hit the ground.
But until this week of lectures is over and I am wallowing in the comfort of that familiarity, being crushed by 35kg of overexcited labrador with the smell of my mum’s cooking in the air… I guess I’m stuck wondering whether I am home or away.