Dallas will always be home to me.
Home to familiar faces — my family, childhood friends — home to familiar places — Frankie’s, a delicious Mexican restaurant run by locals; Pearl Cup, with a pearl latte straight from heaven.
It’s home to my elementary, middle and high school. It’s home to the church I was raised in, where I learned who this Jesus guy is and how he never abandons his children. It’s home to my first crush, my first heartbreak, my first date.
But I don’t love to call this place home.
It’s normal for me to turn random coffee shop strangers into quality, long-time friends (shout-out @Micah). I can strike up a conversation and discover kindred souls.
Each home presents a new community, a new way of life, a new version of myself. Each home draws me out of a comfort zone only to enter into a bizarrely welcoming, unfamiliar one. Each home makes me feel accepted, cherished, welcomed regardless of challenging circumstances or people.
I can’t call a place home if I don’t make it so.
I can’t call a place home if I have to knock before I enter, wear shoes in all rooms, walk around pant-less. I can’t call a place home if I have to ask to have people over, make my bed every morning, leave a tiny mess in the kitchen.
When I first came back to Dallas, I refused to make it home. My stubborn self protested this unexpected, unwanted move. I stayed in my comfort zone– my house — often isolating myself from friends and opportunities.
But then 2017 hit and I decided to stay. Even better, I decided to root myself here in the present — where I’m called, where my childhood was created, where I can be.
Now I have a new job at a law firm, and I’m slowly but surely impacting others’ lives by helping them receive social security and veterans disability benefits.
Now I attend a new church, and I’m diving deep into a new community filled with like-minded believers who dare to convict and challenge me.
Now I live in a new house, where I throw open the door, rip off my pants and kick my bare feet up on the couch. I come home to a dear friend who loves me like a sister, serves me like a mother and walks with me like Jesus.
It took me practically a year of humbling myself to suck it up and call my hometown my home. It took getting over dreams I planned and succumbing to the life I was given. It took walking out my front door, finding friends and seeking hope for the future to say, “Hey, I’m where I want to be.”