Saturday, December 1, 2012

On The Sidewalks

There is only oneself facing forever the problem of one's self discovery.

Lawrence Durrell


Hello Marty


Where I am is not my home. I don't like living here. I don't want to live here any more. I want to go to my home. But I don't know where that is.

My childhood was one of those unfortunate ones you sometimes read about where a child has to keep moving for financial or other reasons. I moved over 25 times before I left high school. As a result there is no place that I can identify as home.

One bit of knowledge I have as a result of that experience is that a home is a major source of support for anyone facing the rigors of understanding himself and establishing himself in the world. It's a safety net of sorts. As Robert Frost said "Home is the place where, when you've got to go there, they've got to take you in." But what is a person to do who has no home to go to when he's got to go there?

You sometimes hear about folks who never leave home. A man may grow up, have a job, get married and bring his wife home to live with his parents. Sometimes that even works out.

But the danger of growing up without a home is a major deprivation of a large facet of his identity. A man who has never had a home usually doesn't know how to make one because he doesn't know what it is. That's my problem. I used to joke that wherever my career took me as an actor I usually wanted to stay there. And that's why I ended up where I am now.

"Where are you from?" they ask.

"All over." I reply.

"Who are you?"

"I'm an actor." But even that's not good enough. I haven't been on the stage for almost 12 years. Without the badge of a home to cling to the puzzle of self discovery becomes more difficult. There is no place to go at Christmas time where an uncle might ask "How's your career going?" My career is in my back pack and only I know how it's going.

The thorniest questions and the hardest answers are worked out on the cement sidewalks of the city. Those who know me the best are those who have been on those same sidewalks and have tightened the knots that hold the cobweb together.

I took a long, necessary walk this evening on shaky legs, in the bitter cold. It doesn't matter to me. The discomfort, the exhaustion, the solitary struggle, they don't matter to me. And they would not matter to the fellow in the nice warm home that might have been mine. But I alone know where my heroism is. I discovered it.

Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up



Geo. said...

I suspect courage creates its own home, although I haven't collected all the data yet. People who raised me are long gone but I can be here for others, even if it's just to tell the Salvation Army lady she sings nice, even if it's only a smile.

Jon said...

I can strongly identify with your homeless plight, because I never really had roots, either. It's a lonely journey, but one that makes me feel stronger. Home is really within ourselves more than any place else.