what makes a home a home

This post was originally written for subscribers of the daily taryn, a writing project started in Dec 2017. Now's the perfect time to join, so I'll hold while you do so. Love u.

I won’t lie to you. It’s 9:48pm and I’m just starting this. Although it’s a bit late to start diving into my personal life, I’m going to do it, because I have a follow through issue. On my backhand in tennis, and in all of my creative endeavors. I tend to get myself and others hyped up about creative projects, than quit a week or so later. That’s why I immediately made this project daily, so I didn’t give myself room to let the days pass by without contributing. 

Kristina, my girlfriend, is being a total cheerleader right now. She’s got a flight to Texas in the morning and would normally be asleep by now, but she’s watching Grey’s Anatomy next to me while I knock this out. I just told her that she’s awesome, to which responded, “I know I’m awesome. I deserve hot cheetos. But I won’t…”

Home, home on the range.

Today, we’re talking about my home, and how I was raised. I’m intentionally leaving out religion and sexuality. We’ll get there. 

Yay! Okay. So, I was born and raised in lovely Orange County, California, and love it dearly to this day. The weather is as good as they say, people are nicer than you’d imagine, and Yogurtlands are everywhere. It’s heaven. 

I was raised by my two incredible parents, Steve and Deena, who are still happily married today — a seemingly small detail about my life that actually is one the things I’m happiest about. A unique thing about my upbringing is that I was also raised by a live-in nanny named Sandra. She joined my family when I was 3 months old, and she was 18, and lived with us until I was 14. I hate using the word “nanny” because Sandra was like a 2nd mom to me. She is still one of my favorite humans on the planet, next to her 13-year-old daughter who I’ve known since birth. 

I have two brothers, Jason and Brett, who are 2 and 4 years older than me. Jason lives in Oakland (by me!) and Brett (Mia’s dad!) lives in Huntington beach. Growing up, my brothers and I all had pretty different interests. While that might separate a lot of families, it somehow made ours closer. I think it had something to do with the constant learning and cheerleading that came from celebrating so many different achievements and milestones in each of our lives. 

I grew up playing tennis and making people laugh. That’s really all I cared about. I played tennis almost every day from elementary school through high school, and my goal was to be a professional tennis player. I dreamed of walking out on center court at Wimbledon while the announcer says my name and my family and best friends lose their shit courtside. 

I didn’t play in college. I could’ve played at smaller schools but wanted to go to Arizona State University where I’d have to try out and walk on, which I didn’t do because I got really involved with a campus organization (in an issue to come).

Why ASU?

It’s well known that California has countless awesome universities, so why did I leave? I chose ASU early on in my life, literally just because my cousin Ashley went there. I looked up to Ashley so much, and she was a cheerleader for ASU. I don’t know why, but because of that and that alone, I had already decided as a freshman or sophomore in highschool that come time to choose schools, I was going to ASU. I was so blindly set on ASU that I actually think the first time I went to the campus was during orientation… lol.

I think about the process of making decisions often, and how weird it is that some decisions are agonizing while others are as simple as deciding to go to sleep at night. My decision to go to ASU was one of the single best choices I’ve ever made, and by far the most simple. I just… decided. I had a hunch, and I went with it. I uprooted my life because I pictured myself walking to class in an ASU hoodie, and liked what I saw. I remember when all of my friends were weighing their options so heavily (as you should), but I just… didn’t. It felt like it was decided for me. Think that’s called fate.

Pit stop in LA, then that big golden gate.

I stayed in AZ for a year after I graduated, then moved home to Orange County during a particularly wild wedding season. Both my best friend and my brother were getting married (not to each other, though that’d be dope), so I thought I’d spare myself all the flights home and just move back instead. I worked in LA for about a year (career issue to come soon), then followed some friends and a growing startup to San Francisco. In February, it’ll be 3 years since I’ve moved up here! 

Living in SF is an experience, to say the least. It’s one of the most expensive, traveled to, and young cities in the world. The people are brilliant, the views are incredible, and the rent is horrific. Lucky for me, so many of my southern California friends live here, so it always feels a bit like home even though we’re 500 miles away (idk if that’s accurate, but too tired to google it).

Update: It’s now 10:41pm and Kris has succumbed to her urge and left the apartment to get chips. She wanted me to eat badly with her, so she asked if I’d share BBQ chips (my fave) instead of Cheetos. I think she’ll get both. Will report back.

Home (noun) - one's place of residence

“Home” is weird. Although Orange County is home, I feel at home in Arizona and San Francisco, too. There are parts are me that lived, died, and continue on in those places and those places alone. There are times when I visit Arizona and am flooded with feelings, memories, and experiences that make me feel more home than there anywhere else, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. 

Lastly, I’ll drive one more point home leveraging an incredibly cheesy song lyric that’s embarrassingly true: “Home is wherever I’m with you.” Aside from actual physical coordinates, there are absolutely people in my life that are home to me. Take Anthony, Tyler, and Sean. These 3 are home to me. We grew up together and are now roommates and coworkers. No matter where we are, I feel home. One year ago today, the 4 of us were in Thailand together. I remember getting there and feeling so incredibly distraught and far from home. I went into my hotel room bathroom, took a few deep breaths, and remembered who I was with. From that point on, I was completely and utterly home, in a country I’d never been to. 

Home is so personal, and yet, it means to many things. Things that make me feel home: my parents, my brothers, my friends, candles, orange county, san francisco, arizona, Christmas, blankets, pretty sunsets, and bright stars. I feel home in a lot of places, with a lot of people, with a lot of things. I love that about home. If your house burns down but you have your family, you’re still home.

 

  update: told you.

update: told you.

 

 

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