How to be proud of being a homebody

Hi! My name is Corinne and I am a proud homebody! (Yes, admitting that is almost as freeing as attending an AA meeting!)

homebody : a person who likes to stay at home, especially one who is perceived as unadventurous.

It’s kind of hard for people who knew me a some 10-12 years ago to believe this to be true of me. I’ve had loads of friends offline and have been actively involved with people always. Perhaps, one early hint of my ‘homebodiness’ is the fact that I never really liked to go out for parties.

How to be proud of being a homebody

When I moved to Mumbai, post-marriage, it seemed to provide the right atmosphere for my inner homebody to show itself. I didn’t need to go out to work and found that I loved the idea. I know it’s crazy that we lived in Bandra, one of the supposedly “happening” places for a good late night out. But not for me. Thankfully, José is pretty much of an introvert, but even he finds me a little hard to understand at times.

Yes, I actually prefer my own company. Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-social, just that being an introvert, home is where I can really find solitude.

I have over a thousand friends on Facebook (mostly courtesy my blogging), but I prefer social media to meeting large groups of people in person. I can shut off social media – much more difficult to do that with real life conversations! 😉 I do meet up with friends in person, and prefer it that way, but that’s not too often and only a few people at a time. Ideally, one person at a time though. I’ll even confess there are times I’ve made a date with someone and I’m almost glad when they cancel! I’m glad when it rains really hard because I have the perfect excuse not to venture out! 😉

I love reading and home is the place that guarantees me the peace and quiet to read loads.

I’m so happy that blogging (and the fact that I’m supported by my husband) affords me the luxury of working from home.

I’m aware that I sometimes overdo the stay at home bit, I’m trying to balance going out while being a proud homebody.

Have you met anyone else like me? Are you the same? 🙂

As part of my August celebration, I’m reviving #AnythingGoesOnSunday – an invitation for you to add yours link for your Sunday posts to the linky below. No theme, no prompt – anything goes! However, I’d appreciate if you left a comment and visited at least two of the blogs linked before yours!
How to be proud of being a homebody

December 3, 2015 by Maralee | 2 Comments

Today I took three of my kids out to run an errand with me. My older kids were at school, so it was the three-year-old, the two-year-old and the one-year-old that went with me to pick up basketball shoes for my older boys. As I was buckling them into their carseats I tried to remember the last time I had taken the three of them to run an errand. . . and that’s when I realized it may never have happened before today.

I have six kids. Somewhere around kid number four (when my oldest was 5), I stopped trying to do all the things. “Simplify” became my life motto. It isn’t that my kids couldn’t behave themselves if I took them out and about. It isn’t that they didn’t enjoy occasional outings. It was just that I found I was becoming a woman I didn’t like. And having a mom you know loves you is more important than attending library story time.

Some of you moms LOVE being out. It energizes you. It gives structure and purpose to your day. You feel like your life has meaning if you’ve put on shoes and run around town a bit. But there are those of us who do not find public parenting to be an enjoyable act. We get grumpy with our kids and we want a nap when we get home. We get actual literal headaches from the stress of trying to hold it together while wandering the aisles of Target with whiney kids.

How to be proud of being a homebody

We get exhausted by having to help a toddler use a grocery store bathroom (I didn’t even know grocery stores HAD bathrooms until I had a toddler who saw public restrooms as some kind of tourism opportunity) while holding a baby and trying to keep a preschooler from unrolling the toilet paper. When we’re exhausted we huff and roll our eyes and say unhelpful things like, “Are you kidding me? Remember when I asked if you needed to potty AT HOME? Can’t Mommy even pick up MILK and BREAD without having to wipe someone’s bottom?” I do not like that woman I become and at some point in my parenting journey I decided to limit her ability to damage my kids.

This is my bottomline: I don’t want to yell at my kids. I don’t want to shame them in public. I want them to feel totally confident that they are loved and treasured. This is not the kind of mom I was being at library story time or at the children’s museum or in the park or at the McDonald’s Playland. But I can be that kind of mom at home. I can give my kids freedom to play and make mistakes and use the bathroom without it becoming major family drama. I actually love being in my home where we can do puzzles and have dance parties and make messes and sing and wrestle and read stories on the couch. I’m not brooding about being stuck in the house with these kids, I truly enjoy it. Over the years I have become better at handling the stress of running around town with a toddler, a preschooler and a baby, but I’ve also learned to prioritize when it’s worth adding that stress into my life and when we’re better off at home.

I’m not saying my kids don’t leave the house. We have set scheduled activities. We have friends come over. They have playdates. My husband enjoys spontaneous fun with the kids and will take them wherever, whenever. They aren’t starved for interactions with other humans or intellectually stimulating activities. We’ve just learned how to do that in ways that work for our family.

Having lots of kids means you get lots of chances to figure out what works for you and for them. You figure out what boundaries you have. You become less stressed when you’re out and about and you also become less stressed about feeling like to be a good mom you HAVE to be out and about. When we go out now, I gear up for it. I pre teach them about appropriate behavior for wherever we’re going. I set clear expectations. I learn how to minimize my own stress by bringing a list of what we need or planning a reward ahead of time for myself when it’s all done. We enjoy ourselves when we make the effort to go exploring, but we also don’t do that very often.

The healthy moment for me came when I stopped feeling the pressure to create all these magical experiences for my kids. If I can feel confident that I’m doing the right thing for them even by staying home, I can stop feeling judgmental or envious of my friends with different capacities and start being supportive. It is now possible for me to see a sweet picture of a mom and her little ones at the zoo without immediately feeling guilty about how infrequently I do those things with my kids. I can be impressed that a mom is doing a Mommy and Me art class without berating myself. I can see a mom running errands with a baby I’m pretty sure should be napping at this time of day without being irritated that other people aren’t as particular about schedules as I am. I don’t have to feel pressured into attending some event or class or party every other mom is going to with their kids if I know it wouldn’t be good for us. And I can be REALLY proud of myself when I venture out into the big, wide world and everything goes as planned. . . or it doesn’t go as planned, but I stayed calm.

I grew up in a large family and I knew it was logistically tough and expensive for us to go somewhere all together. When I think about my own childhood, I don’t have a lot of memories of dramatic, magical experiences. What I remember was an overwhelming feeling of safety and being valued and loved. I had lots of free time to pick my own activities and I felt free to explore my home, my yard, and my neighborhood. That’s the gift I want for my kids. And I want to give myself the gift of accepting my own limitations when it comes to outside activities. It’s amazing how therapeutic getting groceries can feel when you do it by yourself at 9 p.m. It’s not wrong for me to handle those activities in ways that keep my sanity intact. When people look at my large family of young kids and ask, “How do you do it?” I think the most accurate answer would be, “I don’t.” If it doesn’t involve feeding, dressing, or loving my little ones, I’ve learned to scale back and prioritize. Parenting a large family isn’t that hard if you remember what parenting is really all about. I’m focused on raising healthy (emotionally, physically, spiritually) people, not on just creating a storybook life for them or for myself.

For my fellow Homebody Moms, give yourself some grace. Embrace your stay-at-home life. Find ways to stretch yourself when it’s important. Cheer on your adventurous friends and ask them for tips when you’re heading out (they know where the cleanest bathrooms are at the zoo and which grocery stores give out free cookies). Create opportunities for one-on-one interactions with your kids when you go out instead of trying to take a whole crew at once. Don’t feel like in order to be a “good mom” you have to participate in every activity offered. Remember that this is a season and one day you’ll be able to run errands without little ones to wrangle.

I like being and staying at home. It’s almost unthinkable to say that, having lived through a year of the pandemic and lockdowns, yet I’m one of those who doesn’t get bored at home. And I confess, I’m sometimes reluctant to leave the house. Blasphemy! Being a homebird is often perceived badly, but I’m ok with it and I’m not as anti-social as it seems…

How to be proud of being a homebody

Homebird, a life in my enchanted interlude

I’m very able to take pleasure in going out. Before the pandemic, I even loved going to a restaurant or sometimes the cinema with friends, but still every time it comes to stepping outside, I needed a good dose of motivation to actually walk out the door. In the end, I was much more attracted by the idea of staying at home on the sofa, cooking a nice meal and ending the day curled up in front of a good film. I don’t particularly care for the outside world and I thrive inside at home. There’s no place like home, or Home sweet home could be my mantras. And if these phrases exist, I can’t be the only one to like coming back to my little nest.

Myself, at home

Of course, before 2020 and the arrival of Covid, I spent more time outside and my house was my enchanted interlude. This space out of sight when I could finally be myself, drop the mask, be safe and take back control of my world. So clearly, when the first lockdown came, I became this strange girl who didn’t see it as a deprivation of freedom, but as a new-found freedom instead: I was finally allowed to stay at home! Far from the hustle and bustle of the world, I took my time, I took stock, I enjoyed my family in complete privacy, I got to know myself, I finally escaped from the stress and anxiety. So of course, with the lockdown ending, the cabin syndrome hit me. How could I leave this calming and reassuring cocoon?

>>> You may be interested in this article: The causes of panic attacks

A homebird, but not misanthropic

If I’m a homebird, it’s because I feel safer at home than outside. I’m self-sufficient and don’t need the opinions of others to exist, especially as these make me insecure. For all that, I have friends and carry on a long family tradition: if I don’t go out much, I host a lot. I love seeing people, but at home where I feel best, on my own ground. Like before a theatrical performance, I take care of the lighting, get ready, put up the evening decorations and when everyone has left, I close the door just as I draw the curtains. These are all the little things I miss when I have to go out. Outside, I’m no longer the mistress of ceremonies, I become a spectator again, I have less control and I’m less important too.

A question of balance

But love is born of desire and we’re never happier than when we meet up again with those we had to leave for a while. So, if I love my home so much, it’s because I have to leave it too. In life, it’s all about balance and I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t say that the outside also holds some pleasures. However, if the lockdown taught me something, it’s to be my own driving force and to listen to myself more. I go outside because I want to and (almost) never because I’m forced to or because of peer pressure anymore: “Come on, you’ll see, it’ll be great.”, “Come on, you’re not going to stay at home again.” I’ve learnt to say no and I select my outings in order to get only the best from them.

How to be ok with being a couch potato?

Perhaps if we stop using the term couch potato, which isn’t flattering and doesn’t really represent the reality anymore. New technologies, ecological awareness and Covid make it possible now more than ever to assert your true nature as a homebird. The home is no longer a place of inactivity and just a place of rest. Today, at home, we work from home, we create and above all, we reduce our carbon footprint!

So, there’s no need to try and fight becoming less of a homebird. Liking staying at home is a joy like any other. There’s nothing unhealthy or shameful about it, so as with everything else that gives us pleasure and makes us feel good, we assume it, we don’t feel guilty and we enjoy it.

PREFER home sweet home instead of a night on the tiles? Then welcome to the homebody club.

How to be proud of being a homebody

We just have an overdeveloped nesting instinct that means home is absolutely where our heart is

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If you’re the sort of person who’d rather watch a boxset in the comfort of your own sofa than a full bells-and-whistles widescreen extravaganza at some swanky cinema, if your chosen eaterie is your kitchen table and not the ritzy two-star restaurant everyone’s talking about, if the last time you were out past 7.30 at night was to put the bins out and you kind of consider yourself part of the furniture, then congratulations: you’re a homebody.

Some of us just like staying in. It’s nothing to do with being agoraphobic, anti-social or cheap (although, on a cost-per-glass basis, wine does work out cheaper when you get it from your own fridge). We just have an overdeveloped nesting instinct that means home is absolutely where our heart is. And it’s a chronic condition that seems to worsen with age.

Like most people I went out as much as possible during my teens. And that was despite having nowhere to go.

It wasn’t that my friends weren’t welcome in our house (although my dad did have a habit of turning the power off at the mains when the music coming from my bedroom reached a certain decibel level), but at that age there’s an urgency to being out and about, meeting people, finding your place in the world.

How to be proud of being a homebody

Your chosen eaterie is your kitchen table and not a ritzy two-star restaurant

Which is disappointing when your place in the world turns out to be in the local Wimpy bar, especially on busy afternoons when there’s a minimum charge.

During my twenties I was more likely to be staying out all night than staying in all night. The fact that I lived in a damp, dark basement flat akin to a cave wasn’t exactly an incentive for doing anything domestic and since I had disposable income, I could afford a proper social life. Back then I needed a full page-for-each-day diary in which to schedule all my shenanigans. Now I don’t even have a calendar.

Which probably makes me sound desperately sad when, in fact, I couldn’t be happier. Because over the years, I seem to have turned from a social butterfly into a hibernating hedgehog. I’m the kind of person who actually celebrates the clocks going back – and not simply because I feel less guilty having that first glass of wine at 6pm when it’s already been dark for several hours (although that helps).

Winter is the perfect season for homebodies. Baby, it’s cold outside, so all the more reason to crank up the heating, draw the curtains, slip into something more comfortable and build a cocoon.

Of course, it’s easier to enjoy being at home when you’re older. When you’ve actually acquired a home and some of the trappings of adult life to put in it – a few home comforts and a few mod cons. You’re also more likely to enjoy staying in when you know how to cook something more ambitious than a toastie.

And your FOMO (fear of missing out) is in inverse proportion to your age. Homebodies are usually well aware of what they’re missing, which is why we opted out in the first place.

It’s not just our age, but the age we live in, too. Bringing the outside in used to mean having a pot plant or a bunch of flowers.

Now technology has turned our homes into a kind of combined virtual shopping centre, library and cinema. We have all the information and entertainment we need at the click of a mouse or the swipe of a screen. And social media means we can connect, not just with friends, but complete strangers.

You can have a party in your sweatpants without ever leaving your Fatboy bean bag, except for the odd trip to the fridge.

Not that being a homebody is simply synonymous with being a lazy couch potato. Admittedly we love a duvet day. Especially when it’s grey and rainy outside, we can happily spend 24 hours in bed, reading books and magazines, watching Sex And The City for the umpteenth time, having long, leisurely chats with girlfriends.

But we also love getting engrossed in projects – I’m not exactly house proud but I can spend hours doing domestics whether it’s just pottering about putting things away and tidying up, a proper roll-my-sleeves-up and clean-the-oven session or some fully fledged DIY.

That’s part of the problem – the more time you spend in it and on it, the more welcoming your home seems to be, creating a virtuous circle from which there’s no desire to escape. I have the best intentions during daylight hours when the thought of a distant social event seems enticing.

But come the time when I have to tear myself away from the fire, swap my slippers for a pair of heels and scrape the ice off the windscreen, and it quickly loses its allure. I no longer have the social stamina of my youth.

So tonight I’m pulling up my metaphorical drawbridge. If anyone wants me I’ll be under my fleece blanket on the left side of the couch. See you next summer.

How to be proud of being a homebody

Being a homebody can be difficult if some people, not only you feel awkward and uncomfortable going out, but you must resist the pressure of friends who wants you to go out all the time. Thus, people who are homebodies often feel ashamed or as if something is wrong with them. Ultimately, though, by accepting who you are – taking steps to entertain at home and revealing in the joys of home life, you will be proud to be a homebody.

YOU ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE

Think about why you like being at home. A little self-reflection will be very helpful when it comes to accepting who you are. After you’ve thought about why you like being at home rather than going out, you’ll likely be more confident. Some reasons may include: you get anxious when you go out, you miss your family or pets when you go out, and there are a lot of things you like to do at home that you can’t do at other places.

YOU BECOME ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR PERSONALITY

The chances are that if you’re a ‘homebody,’ you may be an introvert. Introversion is typically characterized by a person’s tendency to gather strength and comfort from being alone. Introversion is not a once size fits all package. Each person is unique to how they express themselves based on where they sit on the introversion spectrum. Someone introverted may become quickly drained and exhausted from being around other people. They need a restful, comfortable space to help them relax and recharge. Many homebodies are introspective and like to spend quiet, relaxing time contemplating various interests and ideas. They can be very creative, insightful, and innovative people. Someone with introverted tendencies usually prefers to work independently rather than in groups. However, they also have excellent communication capabilities and listening skills.

INCORPORATE SELF COMPASSION

Self-compassion is our capacity to love and have empathy for ourselves. Practice self-compassion by focusing on three elements:

  1. Recognize that no one is perfect, including yourself.
  2. Practice affirming that it is good to feel comfortable with who you are and your life, despite those imperfections—practicing self-kindness.
  3. Eliminate negative thoughts and self-criticism.
  4. For every negative thinking or behavior, replace it with two positive ones.
  5. Be mindful and present at the moment.
  6. Do your best to stay within each moment and maintain a non-biased awareness of all your experiences.

Tonight, I should be home.

I promised my younger brother that I would take him to see the Lego Movie 2.

Tonight, I should be home.

I haven’t been home in almost a month and I haven’t seen my youngest brother, held him, laughed with him, explored trains and animals with him, and spoken to him in Hmoob.

I haven’t been able to ask him to say “thov” when he is asking for a treat, his toys, or when he asks to go with me.

Tonight, I should be home.

I miss sleeping on the floor of my brother’s room as he snores. The room is too small for us both and I always create a mess, but he just got accepted to the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point and he will be gone soon. This room will be empty soon. I just want to cherish it while he is still here.

Tonight, I should be home.

My parents are in the middle of one of their biggest fights ever and months before were headed towards divorce. Things have calmed down since I told them I would not be coming back for quite some time. Maybe they finally realized what I meant when I said I was tired of being a parent to my parents and a parent to my brothers.

Yesterday, my mom called me over Facebook and told me not to come home. The roads will be bad. The snow will be dangerous. I know that if I come home, my parents will dump the last 4 weeks onto me.

I am my parents’ eldest and only daughter.

I am my parents’ hopes and dreams. I carry their sacrifices on my shoulders. Sometimes their sacrifices carry me in my darkest times. These are the demons we refuse to talk about. When I talk about them, I can never stop the tears.

I am my parents’ eldest and only daughter. I was born to raise my brothers, I was born and bred to be a nyab. I was born to be the success story that my parents dreamt of when they ran from war.

I think Hmoob daughters know best, the burden of carrying their entire family on their shoulders: carrying their emotions, their hopes, their dreams, their love, their traumas. We carry their love, even when we know it does not amount to the love that they give to the sons they wish we were.

Hmoob daughters know best, that we are never completely our parents. We will go when we are married. We will become a part of someone else’s family.

I am rejecting this idea to say that I will always be a part of my family and someone who cannot respect this does not deserve my love. I reject this idea because my brothers will still need me, my parents will still need me, and I will still need them.

Tonight, I should be home.

I am a homebody. Every time I leave home to go back to the town where I am pursuing my studies, I feel my heart breaks. I feel the distance between my heart and my soul when I leave. I hear my youngest brother saying my name, asking to go with me. I see the way that he waves goodbye to me through our living room window. I see the way he doesn’t leave the glass until my car is out sight.

The moment I step foot into the house, I hear the way my mom asks me when I am leaving. I can hear the way she tells me not to worry about her as she misses another dose of her medication for her depression.

I hear my brothers ask me to take them to the store. They ask how to get rid of acne, how to do their taxes, how to apply for college, how to apply for jobs, and how to do well in interviews.

Tonight, I should be home. But instead, I am crying.

I have always had to choose between my career, my future, and my family, as if there will always be a rift between the person I am supposed to be and the person I want to be. I am waiting for a day where I do not have to choose between the two.

My mom says to me when I leave, “Mus kawm ntawv kom zoo nawb mog. Txhob txhawj txog peb.” ( Go and study well. Don’t worry about us.)

I do well in my studies. It is not my studies I am worried about. It is how much life I will have missed out when my studies are done. How many birthdays I will have missed? How many graduations, family talks, tears, laughter, and smiles will I lose because of the military? Because of school, because of work, because of weather, because of the distance between me and my heart and home.

I will be home soon again.

My parents have never agreed with the decisions I have made in my life and they have been vocal about it. My parents have never voiced their support for my future, for my current studies, but they have always been there. I know I will make myself proud. To be the person I want to be for myself, my brothers, my parents, my Hmoob community. I have succeeded thus far, I will continue to.

I’m excited to start this blog (even if no one reads it).

Hello, and welcome to my first blog post! I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing, so keep your expectations low people.

First, let me tell you a little about myself and my family. My husband and I were high school sweethearts who have now been married for four and a half years. We have two sons together. My husband is a funeral director (yes, really). We are a young, married, home-owning, Catholic couple with children living in a world full of wanderers with “fur-babies.” It can feel a little isolating sometimes to live a life that is so counter-cultural, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. And if you find yourself in more of the “wanderer” category, that’s okay! I think you should still keep reading because I think it is really cool and useful to gain insight into the perspectives of people whose lives are different from your own.

I have a B.A. in Communication Studies which I have never used professionally because I went straight from graduating from college to becoming a stay-at-home mom (my oldest was born one month before graduation). Honestly, that transition was a dream come true for me. Being a SAHM was a desire that had always been on my heart, but I never imagined my husband and I would be in a position to make that work so early in our lives. An integral part of making that work was the decision to let my husband’s career take us to a small town in rural Minnesota. Small town living has been good to us with its low cost of living and simpler lifestyle; I HIGHLY recommend it.

And that’s a decent segue into the “homebody” part of my personality. I enjoy the simple things. I love being at home. Given the choice between going out to a crowded, noisy restaurant or eating dinner in the comfort of my own home, I would choose home almost every time. I love the familiarity of my routine. I’m pretty introverted, so avoiding unnecessary interactions with other humans is nice. I like that my kids can run around like wild animals and I can go on eating, unembarrassed about their antics. My very extroverted husband is sometimes frustrated by my hermit-like preferences, but I am unapologetic about it. I’m a proud homebody. (Working the title of the blog seamlessly into this post: check!).

Stock photo representation of my ideal existence on this earth.

And now, on to my kids. My sweet sons are the ones you all really want to read about, right? Well, my oldest is three and a half (the half is very important to him, so I decided I’d better not leave that out). He is super articulate and intelligent and has such a big heart (read: is highly sensitive and emotional). He’s the one who made me a mom. I love the little goober. I have this crazy first-child bond with him where I can read his thoughts and motives very easily. I can anticipate his reactions to things. In a lot of ways he reminds me of myself, so I just get him. He makes sense to me.

Now my youngest on the other hand. Mothering him is a whole different game, my friends. He’s currently 17 months old, and, as my husband so lovingly puts it, “he wants to see the world burn.” He delights in making messes and chaos. His cherubic face lights up with joy every time he reaches out a chubby hand as though he is going to lovingly stroke our cheek and then at the last moment pinches our under-eye skin, stretching it as far as possible from our skulls. He lives for the moments when I look over to find him balanced precariously on something very high up in the air; he loves the way my face looks when my heart is literally skipping several beats as I race to pull him down.

Don’t get me wrong, we love him dearly too. The little imp is teaching me to find joy in acts of harmless mischief. He’s teaching me to be more laid back. He’s showing me that, if I give him a chance, he can safely navigate his way down from great heights all on his own. Sometimes.

Rare moment of sweetness between my sons. Photo cred: AB Images

I’m excited to be starting this blog (even if no one reads it). I plan to use it as a place to deposit stories about my kids and our adventures. I plan to share some thoughts about motherhood and life. Most importantly, I plan to spread a little joy to whoever reads it. Being alive is pretty dang good and beautiful and bizarre. We should all revel in it and laugh about it once in a while.

During both quarantines, reading kept me content with the current situation of my life. One book I was looking forward to was home body by poet Rupi Kaur. I thought the title was fitting considering I, an extreme-extrovert, was learning how to be a ‘homebody.’

In the first section, Kaur dissects her past of sexual abuse, anxiety, and depression out in the open. The “mind” chapter takes the inner workings of Kaur’s thoughts and brings them to light. Being comfortable with my own mind this pandemic has been extremely difficult for me. Lines like “my mind/my body/and i/ all live in one place/but it feels like we are/three completely different people” (Kaur, 14) spoke to me, as for the first time in my life, I did not feel like a competitive athlete. Playing competitive sport made sure that my body was in tune with my mind—I listened to her when she was hungry, sore, anxious, and excited. I felt that my identity had been stripped away, layer by layer until just a shell of anxiety and uncertainty was left. For the first time, these partners were disconnected.

In the third section, “rest”, Kaur describes “productivity guilt,” a term I had been desperately trying to put my finger on how I had been feeling for the past six months. Though I had been sent home from college and my sport was cancelled, I felt I needed to be productive in order to feel accomplished. I thought the same things Kaur articulates, feeling inadequate, no matter how hard she works.

I would tell myself “how can i be so/cruel to myself/when i’m doing the best i can” (34). Reading this, knowing that other people feel this way, gave me comfort. There were some days where my anxiety was so “quietly loud” (17) that all I could do was sit in my bed. I am slowly learning that “productivity is not how much/work i do in a day/but how well i balance/what i need to stay healthy” (115). One poem that especially resonated with me in this section is “quiet down i begged my mind/your overthinking is/robbing us of joy” (124). Overthinking, especially during a time where that is one of the only things we can do, has been a silent killer. Learning to put my mind to “rest” was like a long sigh that I had been holding in.

Once I reached the “awake” section, everything came together. Kaur writes that she feels “relief” knowing that so many others struggle with the “aches [she] thought/were [hers] alone” (126). I can honestly say the same. The last page leaves readers with the question of “now that you are free/and the only obligation you are under/is your own dreams/what will you do/with your time” (189). Closing the novel, everything that I had complained about for the past 9 months—life’s cancellations and looming problems—seemed miniscule. As readers reach the end, they are “awake” and ready to go out in the world as a confident person while realizing that the feelings we deem as “flaws” are just as important as our success.

Moving forward in 2021, I am trying to implement the words from the last section, “awake”, in my daily life. I am learning not to hide nor suppress feelings of anxiety. I’ve realized I want to learn to live with balance. I am not trying to be suppressed but empowered through the activities I have to complete, even something as small as completing a full skincare routine. Productivity can be defined by the little things instead of larger goals that I had in the past. Learning to love being a “homebody”—as I interpret it—means building a better relationship with my body and mind. Learning to enjoy the mundane tasks and feeling accomplished when they all get done—and not being hard on myself when the “bigger picture” is not complete in a day.

Kaur’s third collection could not have been released at a better time. Being empowered—especially as a woman in the 21st century—means to be loud, proud, and confident. While Kaur emphasizes the importance of these notions in some poems in home body, she puts greater importance on the raw, real feelings that empowered women try to hide in order to be taken seriously. Being empowered is getting out of our own way (124) and realizing that the things we try to hide from the outside (and quite frankly, ourselves) are the very things that make us strong. home body articulated these feelings that we often push aside and made them triumphant.