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What is Home, Where is Heart?

by J.R. Vaineo

Many say ‘home is where the heart is.’ But that’s never been true for me; for, my heart is nowhere, and everywhere. ‘Trapped with myself,’ sums it up better. Never have I been comfortable in my own skin. Not with the clothes I put on my body, or am told to wear. Not the jewelry, or lack of, makes a spot of difference, either. Makeup? Perhaps, a little, for it’s like a temporary piece of artwork. The brushes and strokes are much the same. Instead of canvas, it’s skin. Instead of paint, it’s powder. Oh! But the colors. So limited, when painting a face to present to the world. Not so, with paintings. The choices are endless. And no one’s going to judge a painting as harshly as they would an ill-dressed body, or ill-painted face. No! Those are the unspoken crimes of first-world countries.


We care how our bodies look, but not our souls. We care that structures are kept in good, working condition, yet we watch our family structures crumble from within. We groom our yards, sweep our streets, plant flowers, trim trees. So much we do to the temporary world. The world that fire destroys with one, swift breath, or that winter takes away in a harsh storm. It’s gone.


I ask you: Will those yards thank you, for your work? Will spring flowers weep, as they die in the heat of summer? Will those streets truly miss their dust? You see, these things have not emotion. No feelings that can be crushed. So why do we act as if we care more for them than people?


Where is America’s heart, these days, I wonder? Torn in half, I do believe. An undeclared civil war is here. Yet, much of the dialogue isn’t spoken. It’s written. Not in ink or pencil, but punched out on keyboards, and displayed on screens. Our heads are bowed. If you think it’s for prayer, you’re wrong. No reverence is found there, among the hoards of people walking forward. Rather, their downturned heads are scheming, and their hands are typing: comebacks, epiphanies, nonsense! We crave our family structure. But it has crumbled; possibly, beyond repair. And much has to do with the undeclared war. The demand that we are right, and that the other side is wrong. Both can see truth, however, but each truth is incomplete. With so much unknown, untested, or miscalculated, how can we ever demand that we are entirely correct in our beliefs?


I tell you, there is beauty in variation. There is triumph, in cultural diversity. Believe that we belong to the same world. Hold to the truth that we are human. One world. One heart. One family. Once rebuilt, it’s a structure, untouchable.

Our dear humanity.

Writing prompts:

  • What does your home say about you? 

  • Describe how the colors in a room of your house make you feel. Why did you choose them?

  • What story does that room tell?


Deutsch, Laura. Writing from the Senses (p. 33). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.

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