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  • I'd say I'm homeless, but technically that's not true. I have four walls and a roof to keep out the elements. Some months they're easier to pay for than others, but the fact is that I've never gone a night without shelter. However, there is nowhere I can truly call "home."

    My family moved to Tennessee from Illinois when I was 14. I bitterly resented the move and everyone involved in it, and I vowed to leave here and go home to Illinois just as soon as I was able.

    I never did. I am now 38, and still here. I can't say that I hate it here as much as I did in those early years; there are good things here, and good things have happened here. I met and fell in love with my partner here. We created and gave birth to our daughter here. And I've grown, so very much, since I was that angry little girl. But this is not home. After all this time, I've come to accept that it can never be home.

    Last month, I took my daughter back to Illinois to introduce her to her extended family. It was then that I fully realized I don't consider it home anymore. I don't know those people. The landscape is vaguely familiar, but I couldn't make my way across town without a map now. And while I may like it there more than I like it here, I don't fit there. The same way I don't fit here.

    For a decade, I hid out in an apartment that became my home. Outside those walls, I still felt like an outcast, a misfit, but within them I belonged. We moved from that apartment last year. I miss it still.

    We rent a house now. Next door to the house I spent my teens in, where my parents live still. But it's a temporary residence, not someplace we plan to stay for any length of time. Just another way station on my road.

    But I have not given up hope. Someday I will find a place where I fit. Someplace I can put down roots. And years from now, that's where my daughter will go when she goes home.

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