escaping home to look for a home

about a life-long journey

valentina citra
5 min readJan 27, 2024

Not every home deserves to be called a ‘home’.

Home is supposed to be your safe place and home is many things to some people. But I believe that home is a place where you feel secure, understood, loved, and protected. A place where you can laugh and be yourself without any shyness or judgment.

Home is a blessing and just like the Irish proverb says, “May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart may desire. May joy and peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now and bless you evermore”.

Unfortunately, not every one of us is blessed with that kind of home. Some of us lost the comfort, love, and security in a home and that is why we also lost our home. It is not a home anymore. It is just a house; a building without a soul, laughter, warmth, and all the good things the universe can offer. Just a building filled with anger, disappointment, and uncomfortableness, and lost its all meaning.

I lost my home

I cannot remember the exact time when I lost my home. My orientation of time for a certain time often gets messed up and sometimes I wonder if is it because of the trauma. But what I remember is, it’s been a long time since I lost my home.

My home no longer gives me comfort or security. It was like living in a bottomless pit of nightmares. My fight-or-flight response was getting stronger, and sometimes, I would spend hours outside just because I didn’t want to go back to that home that was no longer a home.

There was one time when I visited a park after my part-time job. I was just sitting on a swing, looking at the sky until it got quite dark, thinking about how to run away from this place.

I escaped, eventually. But…

A new job opportunity was my way to leave the house. So I left the house and it upsets me that I felt better when I did that. Even though I was (and still am) struggling to make ends meet — being a sandwich gen is no joke — at least I feel a bit good.

I can enjoy my time alone or with my people. I can do and buy anything that I want. I was starting to live my life.

But is it the right thing to do? Because I left my mom and siblings in that living hell. Am I being egoistic?

I left the home, the house, for my sake. The psychologist said that it’s okay to put myself first because who’s going to put myself first if it’s not me? It is okay to escape because I cannot be more broken since I have responsibilities. It is okay because she knows it’s hard to keep everyone’s sanity while I am on the edge of insanity.

Again, is it right though?

There was this time when I called my mom and realized that there were a lot of things that changed in my house, my home. Realization hits when I understand I am too busy with myself so I tend to forget to check up on my mom and siblings. Well, I am aware that’s not a good thing and I’m still working on that.

My homes now are scattered

Since I was kind of lost my home, I’ve always been searching for a home. Weirdly, it feels like I’m always looking for a place where I belong for my whole life, and ended up questioning what home really is during my teenage years.

Now that I gained more experience in life and a pocket size of wisdom, I realize that my home is more about the person. And since I put my home in person, now I found that I have a lot of homes.

Another thing that I can figure out as I get older is, actually I can fix that home where my family is. Of course, it is not an easy thing to do. It is a long-life project with many struggles on its way. But, it is just hard, not impossible. So I’m working on that too.


I talked with a friend of mine. It was a usual talk about me complaining to him that my life in the capital city now is more lonely because I left my people. That sight of a happy family I saw in Transjakarta or any third space in this city just added more what-ifs to my mind. That sight of a happy couple drowned in laughter made me smile and gave me mixed-up feelings. All the good things here, I enjoy them by myself, mostly.

When I said to him that I wanted to find another home in terms of a life partner, he replied, “You will find one. But before that, you need to be a home for yourself first.”

His reply hit me and I just stared at my phone screen blankly. Well, he’s right. Why did I not realize that sooner?

But that is just another homework that makes me sad because of the fact that I’m still not able to make myself a home for myself.

And so…

For you who lost your home and trying to escape it, if you want to escape then do it. If you want to fix it, do it. You know what’s best for you. It’s either adapt to it, change it, or run from it. And that’s totally okay.

I wish you could find or make your home. The one that is truly a place you belong to. A place that is more than a wall and a roof, but also a place for you to receive warmth and gentleness despite the cruel world outside there.

I wish you also could be a home for yourself. I know that’s hard. You need to look deeper into yourself and face those ugly things you do not want to see or bury deep or trying to forget. But you’re stronger than those pains and you’ll revive like you always do.



valentina citra

a living mayhem with wandering mind | write in ina / eng | @aleviannt_