“Home.” What a loaded word.
Historically, home has been a changing space for me, a complicated space. By the time I graduated from high school, I’d lived with my nuclear family, my grandparents (two different times), my aunt, and two different step moms. I see myself as being raised and most influenced by my dad, in addition, the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child” has always resonated with me. My best memories of “home” are after half-day kindergarten, playing Go Fish and watching “Supermarket Sweep” and “The Golden Girls” with my mom, and in the lasts years of high school, home cooked meals and cleanliness.
With the support of Point Foundation, I’ve had the opportunity to build my own home, as a physical and emotional space, for the first time in my life. My partner and I, and our lovely daughter Reggie, a lab-pitbull mix, rent a one bedroom apartment in the Avenues area of Salt Lake City, a neighborhood that is sometimes coined as a “gayborhood.” For the first time as a family, we decorated a live tree for the holiday season.
I grew up celebrating Christmas, not as a religious holiday but as a consumer and a cookie decorator. Whenever the holidays roll around, I can’t help but think of my mom and how sick she was the Christmas before she passed away. I remember her, too sick to make Christmas cookies with me, and how upset I was, so my older sister carried the tradition on with me. It is a tradition that I now carry on, using the same recipe. This year, the cookie-decorating extravaganza took place the week before finals as a de-stresser, and all the cookies were gone before my first exam took place.
What I’ve learned from my experiences is that home is a luxury, a physical space that can be created, but more importantly, for me, home is a feeling. Home is place where I can enact my truth. It’s the trust and love I build with family and friends, human and non-human, which carries us through this life together.
I look forward to spending time with my Point mentor, Donna, during the winter break and visiting family in Nevada for New Years. It’s incredible, the access and support Point offers and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be “home.” The holidays can be can be a time of togetherness and family but the holidays can also be a time of trauma and loneliness. I hope that as a queer community and as human beings we can find ways to connect and support each other as we recreate and reinvent the holidays.
This post was written by Point Scholar Lauryn Hansen
Lauryn is an undergraduate at the University of Utah studying metallurgical engineering. Her experience in the STEM fields, which continues to marginalize queer women, has prompted her to seek institutional change. She served as one of the first ever student co-chairs to the university pride week planning committee and is deeply involved with queer and social justice based student groups on campus. As an undergraduate researcher, Lauryn has had the opportunity to be published in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental and present her research to Utah state legislators.
Read more about Lauryn.