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I was reading through some of my old journals the other day–trying to find a quote by Mary J. Blige that I had written down – “I blame my mother for nothing, but I forgive her everything.” I might write about that quote another time but today I thought I’d share something I wrote about “Home” from January, 2002, shortly after I purchased my first house by myself. It is mostly about my first house that I purchased with my partner at the time–in 1993.

Home – In every place I have lived I have always tried to create a home–a place where I could relax fully, where I was surrounded by things I love (heirlooms, pets, people, things I think are beautiful or useful). A place where I could be happy just being me. A place where others could be comfortable too. My first house, I loved because it was my only place–it had all of my worldly goods in it and all of my love went in it. I tried to make it comfortable–and it was.

I loved just sitting and staring out the window into the trees, watching the blue jays at the feeder and listening to their squeak (one of my favorite sounds). I loved the view from my kitchen window of the Cape Breton Highlands and St. Anne’s Bay. On foggy days I felt like I was in the world alone and I was both afraid and intrigued by that feeling.

I loved to watch Cochise (my Chesapeake Bay Retriever who passed away shortly before I left) saunter past me, looking at me, with a shoe in his mouth knowing he was trying to get my attention–he knew he was not supposed to have shoes in his mouth. I loved waking up with Tinka (my cat at the time) sleeping on my hip.

It was a good home and I have a lot of good memories there. I try to keep those foremost in my mind because that haven was also a little bit of hell to me. When Jim was around, I felt trapped and uncomfortable. I never knew what would set him off or when he would yell at me, or for what. It could be months of fun and laughter and love and then one day, one moment, could cloud my life so completely that I felt I couldn’t breathe. After a while, I realized I was more tied to the house (my home) that to Jim but I could not leave my life there. It was a place of infinite peace when he was not around. Finally, I knew the only way I was ever going to be free of him was to leave my home. I had to leave my home first before I could leave Jim–within two months I was strong enough to do so.

I think of that house a lot. I miss it still. I had a lot of firsts there. And of course the beautiful scenery of the Canadian East Coast–Englishtown, Nova Scotia. Thankfully I have pictures and my memories.

The most important thing about having a home is having a safe haven. That’s what I’m trying to create for myself in this home. I may hot have the beautiful scenery of Cape Breton (I moved back to my home province of Manitoba) but I can create a beautiful landscape–a place I can take pride in because I have created and am creating a home for myself where there is no one who can make me feel trapped or scared again.

And I don’t have to leave this place unless I want to.

When I read this, it struck me for a few reasons–first of all, I didn’t even realize it was my writing until I got to the part about Cape Breton. Secondly, is that I still am working on creating that safe haven for myself in my home, but more importantly in myself.

That safe haven can’t be hurt or scared unless I chose–and I don’t for the most part. I still have a way to go, but I’m still going forward. And, no matter where I am, I will create home.

Here’s some beautiful pictures of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. If you ever get a chance to visit there, I highly recommend it. You will find some of the most beautiful scenery in the world (yes, that’s right…the world!!) and the most friendly people ever!

C.

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