Sunday, January 4, 2015

Garden State and The Idea of Home

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Garden State has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember, which is when it was released in 2004. It was the beginning of fall semester my sophomore year of college, the perfect time for this movie to greatly impact my life. I mean come on, haven't you ever wanted to climb construction equipment and scream at the top of your lungs into an "infinite" abyss? I know I have.

Andrew Largeman walked through life in a dazed brought on mostly by the numerous prescription drugs he believed he had to take. However, after the death of his mother and a weekend back in his hometown without said prescriptions, he is inspired to find out what life is really about. He reconnects with old friends and meets a girl, Sam, who shows him the passion life holds. Largeman begins to discover that it is okay to feel, even if that is pain. Slowly, he finds the courage to open up his heart to feel all the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life.

There are many themes and motifs in this film that have gripped me over the years; however, there is one that really got to me when I watched it again last week. The idea of home is something that has really made me think lately, especially since we moved across the country six months ago.

Before I dive into this concept any more let me share with you the scene that proposes this question of home...


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Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.

Sam: [cuddles up to Andrew] Maybe.

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I lived in the same house from the time I was just over a year old until I went to college. That comes to about 17 years in the same house, surrounded by the same people (with few exceptions) and the same town. I knew who I was and who I was suppose to be there. I was comfortable and safe. I never really thought to question life much further than that. 

I went to college only an hour away. I still felt safe, though not as comfortable. There were new people, new places and new expectations. 

I met my now husband my junior year of college. At this point, I had a pretty good handle of life in my new place. Meeting Stephen was a comfortable extension of that season. I could still go home when I wanted and I still felt safe.

It was the December of my senior year (2006) that my parents sold their house, the one I grew up in, the only one I knew. I had been with Stephen over a year, and we had recently gotten engaged. I was so glad that he was there when this significant change happened. I didn't think it was that big of a deal that my parents sold the house, I mean I hadn't lived there for over three years. Nonetheless, it was still home. It was harder to let go of than I realized it would be.

The best part about the timing of the sale is that we got to experience one last Thanksgiving dinner in that house with Stephen's and my family together. My nephew was just born four months earlier and we all got to spend the weekend together in the house that I grew up in that meant comfort and safety. It was one moment that really sealed Stephen and my relationship together. It fused the past with the present and brought together strangers to make them family. It was a beautiful moment.

I remember walking through the house that weekend and really looking at everything. I always loved the way that living room was laid out because it had great big spaces. My bedroom was where I went through so many teenage struggles and time trying to figure out who I was.

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This is a quote from One Tree Hill, but it is about home and also has great meaning for me when it comes to the idea of home.

When they sold the house, I was afraid I would lose all of that, something I had never lost before. It turns out, I didn't lose it. Those moments were still in my heart and they always would be. That was the beginning of trying to define home for me.

After that house was gone, my parents as well as Stephen and I continued to move around from city to city and apartment to house for several years. My parents had five different addresses in as many years. Stephen and I moved from Clemson to an apartment in Florida then to an apartment in South Carolina. It wasn't until we were pregnant with Zoey in 2009 that we bought our first house. We stayed there for five years. I was so excited to give Zoey what I had, a house to grow up in and feel comfortable and safe.

Last summer we received an amazing opportunity. Stephen had a job offer in Seattle, Washington. Now that was the farther away than I could really even imagine in that moment. Our home was in that house, surrounded by our friends in that small town. I loved it there. However, there had been several indications over that previous year that there was something more for us out there. We listened to the call and moved our entire family from a large three bedroom, two bathroom house in the suburbs into a small two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in the city. And now, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I miss our friends, and sometimes I miss the space, but it was a move that truly brought our family together in a way I couldn't have imagined before. It also showed us what was important and that wasn't all the stuff that filled the space.

The idea of home has changed for me a lot over the years. For so long, I thought home was a place. However, that is not true. Home isn't a place at all, it's a state of mind. My family is my home. When I moved out of my parents house and eventually began to live with Stephen, he became my home. When we had Zoey, my family was my home. Now, even though we are thousands of miles from our extended family and our familiar friends, home is still here. It's where I come to feel safe.



I wanted to give Zoey comfort and security, but I now realize that Stephen and I give her that even more than a house or a town would. We have set off on a great adventure where we have all learned and grown thanks to our new surrounding and adventures. The security is still there, only in a new way, based entirely within the people who I love.

Home is an idea that you create for yourself. I long to hold that up for Zoey to see. Home is not a place to miss, it is a feeling of being loved, accepted and secure. Wherever you go in life, know that home is waiting for you among those who you love and who love you. Home is never very far away.

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Below is one of the many great songs on the "Garden State" soundtrack called "Let Go." It is the finale of the movie and became an inspiring song for me in the years after this movie's release. The phrase "there is beauty in the breakdown" changed the idea of suffering for me to be a state that has the potential to make you better not perpetually worse. It is during the darkness that you can not only find, but also appreciate the light.


"Let Go"
by Frou Frou

Drink up baby doll
Are you in or are you out?
Leave your things behind
'Cause it's all going off without you
Excuse me too busy you're writing your tragedy
These mishaps
You bubble-wrap
When you've no idea what you're like

[Chorus:]
So, let go, let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It's all right
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
So, let go, let go
Just get in
Oh, it's so amazing here
It's all right
'cause there's beauty in the breakdown

It gains the more it gives
And then it rises with the fall
So hand me that remote
Can't you see that all that stuff's a sideshow?
Such boundless pleasure
We've no time for later
Now you can't await
your own arrival
you've twenty seconds to comply

[Chorus:]
So, let go, so let go
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It's alright
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
So, let go, yeah let go
Just get in
Oh, it's so amazing here
It's all right
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

[Background sounds]

[Chorus:]
So, let go,
Jump in
Oh well, what you waiting for?
It's alright
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
So, let go, yeah let go
Just get in
Oh, it's so amazing here
It's all right
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

In the breakdown
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown
The breakdown

So amazing here
'Cause there's beauty in the breakdown

azlyrics.com
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Here's to the idea of home and the life you create for yourself!
Cheers,

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