Vanessa: Making Home


I have moved fifteen times in the past ten and a half years, changed jobs, toggled between being a student and employed (and not employed) lots of times. It’s been ten years of change since I’ve moved out of the home where I grew up. With each move, I try to make a new home – in the place itself of course, but also in myself in that new place.

Despite most of those homes being in and around Brooklyn, until recently this city has always felt transitional. I moved to Sunset Park six months ago. It’s likely that I will be in my apartment for at least another few years, which makes it my longest stay anywhere in a long time.

This prospect of making a home feels all the more important now. I used to think about how making a home meant leaving a place better than I found it. It was easier for me to understand when I lived in the country, where there are fewer people that make you think harder and see things you didn’t know how to look for. If I had grown some flowers where there were none, I’d done some good. If I left the soil better, more good. I’d been loving to a friend, good. But in living here, I understand that those flowers would be in a place where a hundred other people want other things to be, all equally beautiful to their beholders.

My history here is short. I wonder to what extent a place has to become part of you for you to be a part of it. How much of me will hang on if I don’t dig a hole and plant myself somewhere? Which commitments will I will break to be part a part of this place that hasn’t been, and in a handful of years, won’t continue to be my home?