POV: Home.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

POV ("point of view") is a new series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.
When I was little, I believed that homes - like my collection of stuffed animals with frayed ears and missing eyes - had hearts.  When we moved from Los Angeles to Honolulu, I was seven, and I apologized to my bed, to the figures on my patterned wallpaper, to the patch of sunlight on the tomato-red carpet, for leaving them behind. 

Months passed. Sitting in my third grade classroom with plumeria trees and yellow hibiscus in the window, I listed details I missed about the house in a journal entry. “I’ll live there again one day,” I wrote.

In two weeks, I’ll move out of my apartment in Williamsburg, my tenth home in twenty-seven years.  

I’ll miss its tin ceilings; its turn-of-the-century moldings; its comically enormous bathroom; its treacherous, rust-colored stairs. I’ll miss waking up to the sound of the restaurant across the street raising its gates in the morning; the bartender next door smoking cigarettes outside my window during lulls in his shift.

I spent what was both the best and the worst year of my life in this apartment, a year that I’ve referenced often on this blog. 

“I grew up in this place,” I said to a friend a few days ago. “I changed a lot here.” In a way, I explained, I owe it the same debt of gratitude that I owe my family and friends, for being there through it. 

“Maybe your new form needs a new space,” she said simply.


On Saturday, I found myself on the roof of the building across the street, looking down at my apartment below. “That one,” I said to my neighbor, who I’d just met, and above whose home I was now standing. “That one’s mine.”

From up there, I noticed, my building’s white trim looked dingy; the rust-colored stairs, lop-sided. It appeared clumsy somehow, old. 

I loved it anyway, for being there.

I leaned forward, squinting, trying to see through my bedroom window. A bird, whose crowing I'd become accustomed to hearing as the sun rose, was settling itself above the pane. I watched it. I’ll live here again one day, I thought.


You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much, as always, for reading! 


lipstick and soda said...

such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing. i sat in our family car for hours saying goodbye to it (and finally falling asleep in it) when my parents decided to sell it.

April said...

Love this post. I always feel the same way, knowing you'll never see a place the same way again, or be the same again, it's hard.

Layla Guest said...

Shoko, I'm so happy you have started the POV series. This experience is so relevant in both our young and adult lives - the little girl experiences and beliefs that still inform the adult decisions and emotions is so right on.

I was just, literally just - as in this morning, writing about my inability to discern between real and make-believe at times because of my wild imagination and utmost faith in everything as a little girl.

As always, such a great read.

Rachel @ Existation said...

Home, home, home...a constant source of wonder and frustration for me. Also, every time I leave my bedroom at my parents' house in Minnesota, I say good-bye to it and tell it that I'll see it soon.

Emily Outcalt said...

A beautifully written post. I used to apologize to my bed after I jumped on it when I was little; I get it haha. Thank you for sharing.


Anonymous said...

where are you moving??

hos before bros said...

Beautiful piece, lady! I especially love the bit about the "patch of sunlight on the tomato-red carpet" and leaving it behind. I can totally picture little you doing just that. XO

Juniper Briggs said...

Beautifully written. We just moved into a new house and I feel like I am starting to make friends with her but it's going to take some time. Homes do have hearts and distinct personalities that you have to learn to jive with. Eventually when you get in tune with one another it can become such a strong connection. Anyways, thanks for sharing.

angela said...

It's amazing how attached we get to our homes. I have experienced this many times myself, it's good to enjoy the memories..

tara said...

Moving can be so sad. I thought the same thing about my childhood house-that I would live there again. I never did. And now I'm not sure I would want to. It's all been changed by the new owner. It would be fun to take a quick tour of it though, just to remember.

girlseeksplace said...

Beautiful post, as always. It's amazing how something can dig into and set up shop in your heart without you really realizing it until you're away from it.

Kristina @ Sarcire said...

This was such a sweet post. Thanks for this, Shoko :)

Raquel R. said...

Beautifully written POV.It’s always hard to break the physical bonds that connect us to the meaningful places and people that pass through our lives.

Paw said...


Kathy said...

I haven't moved that much in my life, but I always cry my first night in any new place I move into. Not because I'm necessarily unhappy in the new place, but because I feel like I've left a part of me behind. Your description of everything you said good-bye to in your first home really brought me back to the first time I moved away from home.

This was beautiful, thank you. Good luck with the move!

Rasheeda Ali said...

this was achingly beautiful to read. i've moved around a lot in my life as well, and i have memories of the best times of my life and the worst in many different places. i feel mostly like i'm scattered everywhere, like i left pieces of my sound in every single place i've lived.

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much! I appreciate your kind words and your support more than I can say. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave such thoughtful - and thought-provoking - comments.

Anon, I'll be moving to Greenpoint temporarily, and then hopefully back to Williamsburg!

Panda Head said...

enjoyed this immensely (and good luck with the move!).

Rachel F said...

This post really resonated with me. I have homes from past lives that I sometimes avoid driving past, they bring such pangs. But you always leave a little piece of yourself in the houses you made a home.

Fräulein Katie said...

Love this post. Moving can be such a bittersweet transition, especially when it is to whole new city, with many new adventures waiting. As much as I love the change, sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if I had stayed in one place--or two or three-- rather than moving seven times in the last five years.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shoko! I love reading this column each week.

Meredith Slavens said...

As everyone else has said, beautiful post.

I work at a full-service moving company, and it's always good to remember the human side of a move.

Personally, I find moving to be an emotional experience every time I do it. I'm glad I'm not alone.

If you ever find yourself in the position to move again, I encourage you to look at the blogs I write for the moving company I work for, Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines. We try to run the gamut in terms of our posts and I would love to explore the more human side of moving on our blog as well.


I hope your transition to your new home and apartment is a smooth one.

-Meredith Slavens
Wheaton World Wide Moving | Bekins Van Lines

Kayla Poole said...

From someone who moved frequently and has also lived in 10 homes in twenty-six years: thank you for this.

Chuzai Living said...

Beautifully written. Since we move every couple of years, when we move in I think of the time we leave. When I think of a place you call home becoming a place you no longer go home to one day always feel strange to me.

Shoko said...

Thank you all so much again. Reading your comments always makes my day, and reminds me how lucky I am to know you - in the blog world and otherwise!

Meredith, I am getting to this so embarrassingly late. I'm so sorry - I will check these out right now! :)


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