Something restful.

“Home is something very peculiar.
There is a yearning in it, you know.
Something special, mystical, hopeful, restful.”

-Toni Morrison (via Beyonce’s Homecoming)

This quote is from Home, a book by Toni Morrison and it was recited by Maya Angelou in Beyonce’s Homecoming documentary. I have written about my constant longing for home so of course this resonated deeply with me and I was instantly hooked. I searched the whole internet for the quote and could not find it. I had to go back to the documentary and copy it down word for word.

The quote encapsulates how I feel in a nutshell; a constant yearning for something restful. A need to fall into a large cosy couch and relax, lay down all my burdens and stresses and just relax.

“There’s a yearning in it, you know” 

What is the first thing you are going to do once the lockdown is lifted?

Absolutely nothing.

This may sound sad as heck, but I am honestly having the time of my life being stuck at home. This may not come as a surprise seeing as half of this blog is about me moaning about being an introverted loner and all introverts have been banging on about how they have been self isolating from the womb so this is a piece of cake. But by God I am in total bliss. Not only do I get to stay home all day every day, I no longer have to come up with excuses or explanations as to why I chose to stay home all day every day. There is no pressure for me to do something fun on the weekend or on the public holidays. I don’t have to wake up early to catch the 8am train to work, neither do I have to trudge back home wearily at 7.30pm. My feet have not ached in weeks and my spirits are high.

Best of all, I have been cooking. Before the lockdown anyone remotely acquainted with me would have laughed out loud if you told them I was cooking everyday. Cooking was this exhausting banal task that I did not care for. Fast forward to today when I cook every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. A dear friend remarked: “Who knew it would take thousands of people dying for you to discover your inner chef?
That has been the one surprising revelation- I actually like to cook. I spent all this time thinking I hated cooking meanwhile I was just lazy and unmotivated. All the time and energy saved from not commuting has been channeled into trying out familiar and new recipes. Now I am no longer intimidated by cooking and I just take it step by step; Decide what I want, look up a recipe online, get the required ingredients and follow the steps. Eh voila! When I settle down to eat I am full of pride for this thing that I have created.

I have been off from work these past few days and it has honestly been so delicious. Not only do I not have to leave my room, now I don’t even have to do anything at all. Normally I would have driven myself mad stressing over how to spend this time off and putting undue pressure on myself to make the best of my time off, to really live, but now I can joyously indulge in the nothingness.

The other day I was eating banana bread (which I baked, of course) and watching a movie on my phone and I felt so overcome with happiness that I had to pause the film and just bask in the feeling. I am dreading the day that the lockdown is lifted and I have to return to my dreary routine. Will I have the desire to cook when I am returning home late in the evening? Will I want to do anything but sleep on the weekends?

In many ways this feels like a rebirth, and I am determined to hold on to this. Sure things could be better; I could have more space or at the very least a living room, I would like a kitchen all to myself; and it would be nice to be with family and friends. However things could also be worse; I have a room, I have food, I have entertainment and I have my health. All thanks be to God.

Once the lockdown is lifted I will like to have more brunches/lunches with friends, see more plays, have more sleepovers. Apart from that though, there is no pressing activity that I am longing for. I don’t party, my family is not here, and my friends live far away so I never saw them that frequently anyway. The main thing is for this atmosphere of fear to be removed, and of course for people to stop dying from this virus.

What are you looking forward to doing once things go back to “normal”?

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present. The name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.-Midnight in Rome (2011).

I am consumed with nostalgia, drowning in it. The littlest thing triggers it and I am in that state for at least a few minutes. Sometimes I come across a song or video from the eighties and I am devoured. I think of how everyone back then, so carefree and young, is now old(er). I think of how my mother must have grooved to it in her youth. It is even weirder when it is something relating to another country. Why does this make me nostalgic? I ask myself. All it takes is one thing to set it off and I spend hours scouring for more. Everything is up for grabs- films, TV shows, newspaper articles, TV adverts. Gimme gimme gimme more.

Unlike some fellow nostalgics, I do not wish I was born in a different time. The nostalgia is not because I wish I was present back in those days. I think of my nostalgia as a consistent longing for home, whatever and wherever that may be. The “memories” just make me feel so homesick even when the thing has nothing to do with my literal home.

“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
― Milan Kundera, Ignorance

I think the whole thing has to do with an underlying sense of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction with life. The constant yearning for something else has to be due to a discontent with the present.

The other part of it has to be my intense curiousity. I want to know everything and I want to fully immerse myself in all the experiences (from the comfort of my bed). I cannot experience life in those times so I do the next best thing-devouring everything I can find about that era.

There is also my fear of time and aging. One day today will be the past; the days we take for granted will become the so called good old days that we reminisce over.

Of course there is the yearning for a (supposedly) simpler time and this is perhaps the chief cause of nostalgia. The good old days when we were young and carefree with no worries whatsoever. Back in the day when our lives were someone else’s problems and all we had to do was play and complain. So when something evokes the memory of this relatively blissful time it is hard not to feel a bit sad really, especially if the present is all too stressful.

I even get nostalgia-or something similar- the present. A picture of a comfortable couch is enough to get me in my feelings- the couch represents cozy which represents comfort which means home. This is the cause of my fascination with interior decoration-I don’t fancy myself as a decorator, I just really crave pictures of home; the airy rooms, the big sofas in cozy parlours, the warm soft beds, the laughter and so on.

All rounds lead to home. The never ending search for home. One day I hope to find it.

 

Home.

Originally written on Sep 11, 2016.

Sometimes when I am in traffic, I look out of the car window and see a house. The light is on and I am overcome by a strange tightness- nostalgia perhaps, I am not sure.

Nostalgia: a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time. (dictionary.com)

I often feel nostalgic for a place or period that I do not know. I don’t know exactly where or when or what it is I am yearning for. Seeing the light makes me think there must be a family inside-or even just one person-doing things people do at home- watching television, eating, napping on the couch, laughing.

Home. The first thing that comes to mind when I think of home is cozy. I feel that I have been searching for a home. This is weird, because I do have a home, with parents and siblings, and yet I am searching. I need a place to be cozy in; to be happy and loved; to snuggle under the covers on a cold rainy day; to be alone and to be with company; to eat dinner while passing commentary on a movie; to laugh and be at peace.

It is strange that a single light bulb can evoke so many feelings. I cannot see what is going on behind the curtains. I do not know the kind of persons that live there. All I can see is that a light is on, and that is enough for me to feel a longing for home.

I feel this longing even when the home is not outwardly desirable. I look at people who live in squalor, with no electricity and no furniture; they laugh together and I am consumed by this desire for home. Could it be companionship that I crave? I have been an island for so long, a dedicated loner, and it is strange to think of myself as a person who wants others.

Home to me is not necessarily a place with family-although it would probably be best if family felt like home. Home to me has never been a place, more like a feeling. For the most part, I am my home, and I carry my home with me wherever I go. Home is where I am. It is for this reason that I never feel homesick.

Still, I feel the longing; the deep yearning for something out there. I am no longer enough. I need a home.