You’ve probably heard me talk about Hiraeth. A word that means more than just homesickness, but a loss of something you can never go back to. A piece of yourself lost into the void. Sometimes it’s a childhood home or something more. Sometimes it’s a friendship or someone close to you. You find yourself unsure of what you’re missing, wishing there was a way to find it again.
Sometimes I find myself so incredibly alone. Alone and tired. I miss…something. I want to go back but, like a fading dream, it slips away from me before I can remember. Sometimes I think I know what it is and where I last left it, but I’m afraid that if I go back it won’t be the way I remembered it. It’ll be different. And worst of all…maybe it’ll be the same, and I’ll be the one who is different.
Maybe it sits, somewhere far far away, growing stale while waiting on an old friend that might never return. Maybe only a thread of hope remains. Shreds turning to dust.
N 43° 53′ 27” E 18° 23′ 22”
These are the coordinates tattooed on my arm, forever solidified beneath my skin in thin lines of ink. They stand for this building. A building cemented into my mind the way it’s cemented into the hill it’s nestled in.
I would go, so lost and lonely and tired, and I would create. I could walk the halls, painting new pictures of myself, for myself. I made up stories and hopes and dreams. I yelled and laughed and cried and danced. I would talk to the air and the wind would listen all the hurt away.
And how a place of sorrow and pain can so quickly be turned into a doorway of hope, I don’t know. I suppose it is the human spirit, so desperate to find rest in the ugly; to find freedom in the broken.
That building is tattooed in my arm so that I will never forget. It is an eternal reminder of the pain and the hopelessness, but it is also an eternal reminder of the freedom. The hope. The hope that a place so torn and broken and bombed can still be something beautiful. It can still be a place where dead things live. Where lost and broken people find who they are. That a country I love so much can be a place of hope amidst the past of death and destruction and pain and fear. And that I, broken and tired, ugly and alone, dead and afraid, have hope. That amidst my fears and my trepidation of the wide wild world and my role in it, I am beautiful.
My broken elevator shaft of a heart can beat again. Whole.
And yet in the freedom I found there, there is a new fear. A fear that, while I have grown older, and as I have changed in the essence of who I am and my ever evolving purpose, I have left behind that place of solitude and sanity. A place of healing and redemption from a quiet old building nestled in the mountains. I am afraid that it is too late, and like the Giving Tree, I have merely moved on and grown up. The freedom I felt, the home I felt — I am so desperately and fiercely afraid to never have that again.
I want to be a child again. Where there were no fences on my imagination, no wall to rein myself in. No one cared if I talked to imaginary creatures, found my own desperate version of Narnia, or was lost for hours in my own mind. My time was my own. The building was my own.
“To feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and recognize it as familiar.” -Pamela Petro
I’m forced by the world we live in to “put away childish things”, get a job, keep my house clean, be successful, never feel angry or depressed or alone in a world full of people. Why do I feel most alone when I’m surrounded by the chitter-chattering world? Why did I feel most wanted and accepted when it was only me? Only me and the building.