I’ve been ruminating on where exactly ‘home’ is and what we actually mean when we say ‘home. Is it where I was born? Is it where I am now? Is it somewhere completely different? I started to look at when I last felt ‘at home’ and what that actually meant to me.
It all started back a few months ago when a friend interviewed me for a degree essay she was writing; many of the questions had to do with what you did or didn’t like about living in this particularly crazy town in the middle of Somerset.
So, I got to thinking – if I moved from here, where would I go? Would I go back to the Isle of Wight? I was born there so should it, ‘always be home to me’ as the saying goes? Well, the Isle of Wight is pretty and I love the sea but there is really nothing to go back there for any more. I no longer feel drawn to the place in ways that I once was and if I am honest I don’t even like visiting the place any more. Would I return? Well, I am never one to totally rule anything in or out but at the moment it would definitely feel wrong, a retrograde step and not something that would be a positive move for me.
So I guess if I was to move, I would go elsewhere – but where would that be? To answer that I guess I need to examine what it is exactly about Glastonbury that keeps me here.
In a lot of ways the place drives me insane – or rather some of the people who have gravitated here along with me and all the other outsiders drive me crazy. One of the downsides I guess is that along with a pretty free and easy attitude comes people who will abuse that with their huge sense of self importance, feelings of entitlement and a total lack of personal boundaries.
Of course, the ability to be who you are is what sets this place aside, and if you can be who you are I guess you have to deal with people being who they are – even if you don’t like them very much. I stopped suffering fools gladly about 2 decades ago so avoiding these sorts of individuals isn’t that hard, plus after one encounter they tend to avoid me like the plague, I wonder why.
So why am I here? Like many I felt the ‘call’ to come here – there is a whole convoluted story here but that is for another time – but I guess it is just that finally I found somewhere that I fit in. I’ve essentially run off to join a freak show with all the other freaks – and I mean that in an affectionate not a pejorative way.
I guess the main thing is a sense of community. Walking down the street and having people say hello to you is something I have not experienced anywhere else I have ever lived since I was a child. I’m not talking about people you know, just people who see you around every day, it makes one feel that one is part of the fabric of the place. It makes me feel home.
I’ve seen the community bicker, in-fight, snap and snarl, but I have also seen it come together at times of joy and grief. I’ve been privileged to have experienced that personally as well as observe it as it happens for others.
I guess right now the answer to the question, would I live anywhere else? Is a resounding no. I would say that right now Glastonbury is home. It is not the place I was born but it is the place I belong – with all the other misfits!