I’ve moved around a lot in my life, and every time I would arrive at a new location I would have projections about what it would feel like to live there, and I would hold an optimistic outlook on how my life would be and how I would make this new place my home. I would settle in over time, but as time passed I would never quite be able to create this feeling I was looking for, the feeling of being ‘at home’.
The repeating cycle that would occur is that the new apartment would become messy and disorganized and financial and other stresses would inevitably arise and plant their roots in my mind and thus be reflected back to me by my environment. Soon most things in the house would cause a negative reaction in me, such as anxiety for example, as I would see things I was neglecting or unfinished projects I would judge myself for having abondoned. Slowly, over time I would lose my authority in the situation, as I would lose authority over myself and my actions, and this unfortunately leads to a lack of order and direction, which created an environment that is not conducive to healing, growing or expanding. This environment is actually more conducive to perpetuating dermatillomania, wherein I become the product of the environment I have created, instead of the environment becoming the product of me as I create myself into someone that is striving to meet their utmost potential, which includes overcoming dermatillomania.
These aforementioned negative effects could be associated with having OCD, although I am certain people without OCD have experienced this as well. For me, with dermatillomania, the home becomes ‘unsafe’, in a way. In the above scenario, things I see in the home create an underlying overwhelming-ness within me, and become triggers and soon bathrooms and mirrors become unsafe places for me to go because of the effects of having a BRFD (body-focused repetitive disorder). It is not an environment of comfort and support, rather, through my abdicating myself to this behaviour, I set myself up for failure and self-abuse.
And so in this blog I’ve taken up looking at this word ‘home’, and I have decided (i.e. not the disorder deciding) that it is time for me to decide how I am going to re-define the word ‘home’. This way, I can apply that definition into my daily living, thus creating a living word for myself, wherein slowly over time, one word at a time, I will create a ‘living vocabulary’ and thus, a new life for myself on My Terms – not the terms of the disorder.
The word home, a defined in the dictionary, means:
- the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household:
Informal – a place where an object is kept.
Sounding out the words (what hidden words or phrases can I see within the word?)
HOnor ME – (home is a place where I honour myself, and my internal/external environment should reflect that)
HOne in on ME – (Home is a place that I know in the utmost detail, and when attention is needed somewhere, I hone in on it. If something requires attention and is not getting done, I first hone in on me – my mind – to check why am I not moving myself to tend to the task)
HarmOny in ME ( Home is a place where I create as little friction as possible, where events and play-outs are directed by me in a way that creates them to be beneficial to me, supporting and nurturing my growth and development).
HOusing ME ( Home is the physical location that is housing me, whether it is in my body or my house, and it therefore requires to be physically maintained: kept clean, tidy, organized, well presented, and practical for me).
I like how in the ‘sounding out’ of the word I see a focus on ‘me’, before only considering the physical location, because this way home can be wherever I am. The dictionary definition states that a home is the place where one lives ‘permanently’. This can be complicated for someone in my situation who has for so long been living temporarily in different locations. If I were to limit myself and my experience to the dictionary’s definition, then I may react by feeling things like lost, homeless and self-pitying, because, according to the dictionary definition, I don’t have a’ home’! This can potentially be disempowering, because it’s important to have a place and a space within which to grow and be grounded, and without one I feel ungrounded and like I have no place. This is the kind of potential consequence of not fully investigating the words we are living and defining ourselves according to.
I would like to instead Empower myself by creating my own definition for the word home. This new definition is not just a physical location; it is a living and a doing, internal and external. ‘Home’ is actually who and how I am within myself, and the physical location is simply an extension of myself, so that by extension, it also becomes my ‘home’.
Orderly – I have a place for things and I address and tend to all components as necessary.
Safe – it is a safe place/space because as I establish the environment I want to create, such as developing self-acceptance (no judgment) and self-discipline (stopping OCD patterns, keeping everything in order etc), my mistakes, falls and slip-ups are immediately forgiven, and the slate is clean for me to learn from the experience and try again. In my home environment, internal and external, I forgive myself, I learn, I expand.
Directed – Home is where I prioritize what needs to get done, and I move myself through the tasks. This is Self-direction, where I am the one that assesses my home’s needs – my body as food, water, exercise, relaxation etc… my house as groceries, cleaning, decorating etc… in my home, I push myself to get everything that needs to get done, done.