For a long time, home meant violence, drunken loud fights, and people coming and going. It was a place where secrets were kept and happiness was forbidden. The older kids were made to look after the younger ones. We had to make sure that they were clothed, bathed, and fed. My biggest concern was that they were safe, the same concern I had for myself. It still haunts me to this day. It was not always easy.
As time passed and I grew older, I left that "happy home of hate." My home became the streets or cars, hotels, parks, maybe a friend's couch, a jail or a prison cell. I tried to make "a home" for myself in my head, because it seemed impossible in the physical sense. I was struggling physically, mentally, and emotionally. Traveling up and down the East Coast, being violated in the worst ways, and being abused physically and mentally, I gave up on life. I was just existing.
I forgot what "a home" was until Amirah.
Since I've been here, I've been treated like a human, a woman. I've been shown such love and respect, and I'm starting to have flashbacks of the very few memories of happiness in my childhood from my grandparents' home.
Amirah is a home filled with love, grace, understanding, forgiveness, and so much more. I now have a new view of what a home is. Now asked what home means to me, I can answer!
Home is where my heart is. Home is where God walks by your side day and night. Home is where you can be yourself and not be judged. Home is where you can rest assured you are as safe as you can be in this cold world.
Having a home now matters to me, because at the end of the day we are all human no matter what we have done, no matter what we have been exposed to. We may be a little damaged; we may feel a little broken and unrepairable, but the truth remains we are not ruined!!!
I let that sink in a little every day - "I am not ruined!" I work on myself everyday and sometimes that just means getting up and getting dressed. Sometimes that doesn't even involve changing out of the clothes I wore the day before. Having a home, particularly this home here at Amirah, means the world, at least to me, because it gives me a strength and hope that I never had before.
It shows me a love that I never knew existed. I am shown grace. I am blessed to have heat and hot water, food and a bed, privacy when I need it, and someone to talk to when I need them.
Having a home has given me a new hope and that is why Amirah can back their hashtag (I also never knew what was before I got here, lol) - #HopeLivesHere.