If I Could Just Buy a House

I've been thinking a lot about belonging...

What does it mean to belong?
How do I belong?
Who do I belong to?
What do I have to do to belong?
... and
Where do I belong, if anywhere?

Feeling like I don't belong is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember.

I think being so transient through my younger years has severely contributed to these feelings.

Let me map it out... these are all the places I have memory of living:
  1. Mission, South Dakota (I could have lived in multiple houses here)
  2. Libby, Montana 
  3. Troy, Montana
  4. Glendive, Montana (house 1 - Nana's backhouse)
  5. Glendive, Montana (house 2 - Apartment)
  6. Glendive, Montana (house 3 - Trailer)
  7. Glendive, Montana (house 4 - Sargeant Street)
  8. Helena, Montana (house 1 - Church farm)
  9. Helena, Montana (house 2 - Government housing)
  10. Adelanto, California (house 1 - Dad's roomate's house)
  11. Adelanto, California (house 2 - Rental along the highway)
  12. North Edwards, California (house 1 - Dump that we stayed in for a month)
  13. North Edwards, California (house 2 - Better house than the previous)
  14. Boron, California (Nicest house we ever lived in)
  15. Lindsay, Montana (Left home at 16, living with friends of the family)
  16. Glendive, Montana (house 5 - Lived with  a member of my ward)
  17. Glendive, Montana (house 6 - Lived with another member of my ward)
  18. Glendive, Montana (house 7 - age 17 - my first apartment)
  19. Acton, California (Back with my parents, living in the bus)
  20. Glendive, Montana (house 8- Living with my boss from Hardees)
  21. Torrance, California (house 1 - Living with my ex boyfriend)
  22. Torrance, California (house 2 - Same circumstance, different house)
  23. Torrance, California (house 3 - Split with the ex, moved in with a ward member)
  24. Torrance, California (house 4 - Moved in with another ward member)
  25. Orem, Utah (house 1 - Moved in with a woman from a conference I attended)
  26. Orem, Utah (house 2 - Moved in with another friend and her family)
  27. Orem, Utah (house 3 - Married now, moved in with the inlaws)
  28. Lindon, Utah (house 1 - First apartment together)
  29. Orem, Utah (house 3, again - Living with in-laws in-between moves.)
  30. Lindon, Utah (house 2 - First house together)
  31. Orem, Utah (house 3, again - Living with in-laws in-between moves.)
  32. Orem, Utah (house 4 - Legacy apartments, where I found recovery)
  33. Price, Utah (house 1 - current)
Seriously... where do I belong?

When people ask me where I'm from, I jokingly respond 'everywhere,' but really, where do I belong? I claim Montana, because it's where I have lived the most; where I spent most of my childhood, but do I belong there? Does Montana claim me in return?

I just don't know.

I've had a very painful memory recently come up for me regarding belonging, or lack thereof.

I was about 10 years old. I was visiting my biological father and his new family in Mission, South Dakota while my family moved from 'Helena, Montana (house 1)' to 'Helena, Montana (house 2)'. I remember feeling really excited to spend time with him because I hadn't seen him in a very long time. I was also anxious to spend time with my brothers, whom I'd never met.

The plan was for me to spend a month with them, the first week of which went just fine. I spent most of each day at the swimming pool, taking full advantage of the summer pass they had purchased for me. After that week, though, I got tired of the pool and communicated to my stepmother that I'd rather stay home that day.

It was at this point that her true beasty colors came out...

She became incredibly nasty; sequestering me to the younger children's room where I spent every single day of the rest of my visit. I was made to sort the pieces of multiple Smurf puzzles that were strewn all over the floor; pieces that to my young eyes, all looked exactly the same. I spent my days struggling to sort each piece into piles representing each puzzle. I would leave that room at night with the floor covered in little piles, hopeful that I'd be able to finish the following day, only to wake to the floor in such a state that there was little to no evidence of there ever being any piles. I do not know if it was the kids who destroyed the piles, or my stepmother herself.

Regardless, I was made to start over.
Every day.
For weeks.

I didn't tell my biological dad what was going on because I feared he'd side with my stepmother. And I also didn't tell my mom because I feared that my stepmother would find out and retaliate.

The only happiness I experienced during that time was the occasional phone call home to my mom. I longed to hear her voice, and began asking to call home more often. Each call brought comfort; helping me pass the time until I could return home.

I survived well enough on those phone calls, until the day I called only to be met with the dreaded beeps, followed by the words; 'We're sorry, the number you have dialed is no longer in service.' I eventually learned that the disconnect was due to the move; a lapse between one phone being shut off and the other being connected.

But I didn't know that. I panicked.

I called that number again, and again, and again, only to be met with the same result.

I felt defeated.
I felt alone.
I felt abandoned.
I felt scared.
I felt forgotten.

I prayed, begging the number to work.
I tried again.

I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing.

After dinner, I asked if I could go to the park.
The beast agreed.

I walked to the park and sat in a swing.
No one else was there.
Just me.

I sat there, and let the tears roll like thunder down my face.
I felt hated.
I felt despised.
I felt like a burden, even disposable.

I remember looking in the distance and seeing cars on a highway. I wondered if I hitchhiked, if I would be taken to a place where I would be loved, cared for, cherished.

No child should feel like that; like they will find happiness on the other end of a highway hitchhike. I shudder at what could have happened if I'd acted on that impulse. I was obviously being watched over.

Transience has always been a huge part of my life, and I feel that because of it I was not able to establish essential healthy relationships with others. I also feel that on some level I actually began to fear making those connections, because as soon as I did we would move, and they'd be torn away from me.

One major realization that I have recently discovered, is that if I had made healthy connections, I would not have the giant hole in my heart that I'm continually tempted to fill by acting out in addictive behavior.

So, what does all this have to do with buying a house?

I've recently realized that I'm living in somewhat of a desperate state. I'm extremely anxious for my husband to get promoted to the next level of management, because that will provide our family with a level of geographic permanency that I've never experienced.

No matter where we land with that promotion, we will likely be there for a very long time. Knowing we would be there for a lone time, we would buy a house. And it would be in that newly purchased house that I would feel physically and emotionally safe enough to open up and establish all of those connections I have longed for my entire life.

If I could just buy a house, I would feel like I belonged.


  1. This hurts my heart to read. It hurts knowing you and knowing this pain. I have said so many times myself, 'kids shouldn't have to feel this or live this way or_________". It doesn't make it better to know that kids that hurt grow up just fine.

    It hurts to think about not belonging or feeling connected. I'm praying for your husband's promotion so that you can buy a home. Sometthing that belongs -- just to you. I don't know if that is the answer..but it will sure be fun to find out (well..minus the hassle of closings etc.) Love you!

  2. I was just feeling the same things the last sweet woman posted to you. My heart aches for you and the lonely childhood you had to endure. Mine can't compare but I was neglected and am tired of being broken and am also searching for "my home." (Even though I have one) I hope you can purchase the home you are longing for. That you will find "belonging" there. I loved your presentation at The Togetherness Conference. You are brave and smart and funny and deserve happiness and belonging! Hugs to you, and good luck with the promotion. :)

  3. I ache for your loneliness, but I know you have a community of strong amazing women that you belong in!

  4. We've been feeling a similar loneliness with being pretty transient over the last four years of marriage. We want more than anything to have a place we can call home--a ward we feel we can really get to know because we know we're going to stay there. Hopefully Tim can get that promotion! :)

  5. Will buying a new home help you recover from the traumas you've endured your whole life? I'm not trying to start a fight or anything, I'm honestly curious. :)

    1. Sorry i had more to say but I had to go. What I meant above is, I moved around roughly every year of my life until 1 or 2 years after I was married. I used to think a lot along those lines, "man if I could only get into a house and set down roots and then I can finally grow..." but now that we've been in the same place for over 2 years, I haven't "grown" like i thought. Now I'm like, "If only we lived somewhere green," "If only we lived in a different state..." etc. So I am really curious because I can totally be viewing things the wrong way. (Because I'm an addict and that's what I've been doing best most of my life.) So I really do want to know what your thoughts are on it. Sorry my last reply was so abrupt.

    2. I appreciate the follow-up comment, as the first did feel a bit confrontational.

      I see where you are coming from. Yes, ideally, I wish I was like Mosiah; no home, no friends, no family, yet still able to wander for 40 years and be 100% secure in His relationship with the Lord. I suppose that is my end goal, to be like Him.

      But, I'm comfortable not being like him. Meaning, I'm comfortable being honest about where I am now, emotionally and spiritually, and I'm just not there yet.

      Also - it is an important recovery principle that we create healthy cycles, be consistent in our dailies, establish a solid support system and maintain a stable environment. I feel that owning a house only contributes to the maintenance of a stable environment.

      I truly believe that I can anchor myself to things here on earth that ultimately secure my anchor to my Father. Do I feel owning a house and laying down roots would add to my stability? Yes, I do. But, do I feel I am making the best of my current situation? Yes, I do.

  6. Most of the time I don’t make comments on websites, but I'd like to say that this article really forced me to do so. Really nice post! Lights On Club


Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

Popular Posts