Home never felt like home. it wasn’t a place I felt safe. But. It was a place I was familiar with. And it was a place where I could find time and space to be alone.
My first few days in the boarding house passed by pretty uneventfully. On the outside I was quietly getting on with it. Trying to find my place and fit into the established rhythm of the place.
The first few nights were the hardest. I hadn’t yet adjusted to the mood stabilisers my father put me on just a day before leaving me there. They would leave me in a zombie like state. It felt like what I imagine it must be like to try move through a thick, viscous liquid. Everything required an extra push to it. Especially the small, simple stuff. But I had to fight through it. I had to hide the fact that I was on pills. I saw how the other boys treated anyone who was even a little bit odd or different. I tried to act as normal as I could. But eventually, the cat would be out of the bag. It was only a matter of time.
I had carved the words “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” into the side of my first bed. Every night I would run my fingers over the words over and over again. I still don’t know why that made me feel better. But it did.
That place fostered two main vastly opposing sides of me. The side that would find meaning and beauty in brotherhood. For the first time adding people to my circle. People that I still to this day see as more of a family than my actual family. But, that place also fostered the divide between me and others. I wasn’t completely alone. But every day I would see more and more examples of how I wasn’t like the people around me. Reinforcing the idea that I was broken, damaged, or fucked up. These two diametrically opposed things ended up becoming two very important corner stones in my life. My brothers couldn’t protect me from everything. They weren’t there all the time. And it was a good lesson to learn. I had to learn that eventually I was going to have to step up to bat for myself. Things happened to me in there; things that stay with me to this day. Things that have, over the years, made me both stronger and at the same time weaker. Things that would, over the years, add a bit of a vindictiveness to me. Things that would add to the already growing aggressiveness that I was cultivating inside of me.
I met the first person who ever attempted to help me curb my aggressiveness in that place. We would spend hours together on the punching bags in the gym. He would bandage up my bleeding knuckles and ice them. That simple act of niceness made me worship the man. No one had ever paid attention to me like that before. I wonder what it says about me that I can’t remember his name today. That feels like ten lifetimes ago, now.
The things that I learned in there made me only to break me, only to make me again. And over and over again the cycle continues to this day. That’s how it is with me and life’s lessons. The same lesson that broke me yesterday can make me today. Or vice versa. Depending on what I’m leaning towards.
I both love and hate that place. It was my home. The last real home that I had before striking out into the big world by myself. I respect that role that it played in my story. But I don’t idolise it for that. I don’t have much space for idolisation in my life anymore.
It would be years before I really found myself. But I did find aspects of myself in there. Certain seeds were planted that would flower much later. Remembering the path that we took to get here, can often remind us of why we are even here to begin with.