Homesickness is like a tearing pain, intense, unbearable, something that you cannot contain. We were not built as humans to hold this agony. It’s the crying in the night, crying on the phone, just crying. Well, not “just crying” at all because crying is not the word for it… lamenting… keening… sobbing… weeping.
Homesickness is a dull ache. It’s there but you can’t quite touch it. Something is wrong, something is out of balance but it’s hard to know what. Then a smell reminds you of home and it grows just enough that you suddenly realise why you’ve been feeling so out of sorts.
Homesickness is a feeble pulling in the pit of your stomach. You’re stretched between two places, more places, people, the world, stretched too thin. You feel tired, you feel drained, you feel sick and you suddenly understand the word.
Homesickness is all those things, and more. For each it is different but we all feel it and yet we hide it away. We sit in our rooms alone and propagate the loneliness because it simply would not do to let people behind the façade, to let them see your weakness, to know that you too are human.
Over the course of my being here, I have felt all of the above and in no particular order. At first, I felt that I was struggling more than most because they were smiling and happy and then I realised that, to them, so was I. I had conversations with people where they said that they felt they were the only person struggling and suddenly, with a shy secret conversation, we learned this was not the case.
Sometimes we need to allow ourselves weakness. Allow ourselves our humanity.
Know that, no matter how dark it seems, we are not alone.
These musings on my feelings were written, inspired by conversations I have had over the past few weeks and also by the fact that I really want to visit home, not because I’m unhappy at the moment but rather because I miss the comfort of familiarity and crave that ability to recharge. It’s not a cry for help – I’m happy, honest – but rather a hand of support for others who may struggle now, or in the future. If no-one speaks about it then everyone will feel alone.