• J. Faith Malicdem

When Home Isn’t Home Anymore

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

By J. Faith Malicdem // Nov. 29, 2019

I boarded a delayed flight to the Burbank airport in a flurry of excitement and eager anticipation. I was about to reunite with loved ones who I had been longing to hold in my arms once again. The six hours I spent crammed next to an angry elderly couple weren’t so bad, I thought. My knees buckling every other hour for sitting in one position for too long wasn’t the worst possible thing that I could have been forced to endure. Because being home once again would make this all worth it.

When I arrived in LA, things felt normal, but just a tad off. It was unsettling to see new establishments lining the streets of my hometown that weren’t there before I left. My sister plastered Brandy Melville and vintage Vogue posters where my wall of homemade collages once resided. My instruments were no longer scattered around my room — they live in Boston now. There wasn’t a stash of Trader Joe’s plantain chips my mom hid for me in the back of our lazy Susan cabinet anymore. My childhood friends weren’t laughing at the meme references I made, and my stories of my schooling experiences in Boston extended into the realm of a messy tangent of inside-joke explanations. There’s a hiccup in my reality, and it’s because I can’t seem to adjust to the fact that life goes on without me.

I was texting a friend during my family’s Thanksgiving celebration about how I missed her, and how I just wanted to “go back home already.” But I am home. And that Freudian-esque slip freaked me out.

What if this wasn’t home anymore?

In the few months that I’ve lived in Boston, I’ve cultivated a network of friends who have grown to be my family. I’ve spent countless hours re-taping decor on my walls and tending to my plants, Ween the Cactus and Reneé the Fern. I’m accustomed to the coffee shops I’ve discovered for studying and thus I’m dangerously accustomed to the amount of money I spend on vanilla lattes. The weekly house shows so readily available to my friends and I have become a staple in our collegiate experiences thus far. The routinely T rides down to the smallest Trader Joe’s in the nation have become essential to my mental health. Shamelessly parading my radio station gear around campus is one of my main personality traits. I’m in the process of establishing myself as a student, writer and musician — and most notably, as someone who truly loves their identity and character, as is.

I don’t think Pasadena could have ever offered me the kind of happiness I resonate with now.

Despite that, I’ve found that when home isn’t home anymore, you are forced to focus on the pros and the cons of each “home” you identify with, grading one against the other. However, that won’t actually get you anywhere. And so, in hopes of finding joy in my roots here in Pasadena, I… you’ll never guess… wrote music! In all seriousness though, I’ve devoted lots of time and energy toward honing my attention in on the loved ones here who make their efforts and intent of love known to me. I’ve made it a priority to take myself out on dates to rehash both the good and the bad that Pasadena holds. I’ve been spending large chunks of my day cuddling with my Miniature Schnauzer and best friend, Gunther, while listening to my baby brother (who is now eleven years old) play Chopin on our poorly-tuned upright piano (which is something that hasn’t changed since I’ve left). Because although this home has proved to be one that holds pain and brokenness, it exhibits innocence and youth; learning and growth.

Life may have proceeded here without me, but that doesn’t mean I have to go on without accrediting the growth and joy this home once provided. And for that, I am massively grateful.

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