Ashley is a sneaky genius and psychic friend. Seriously. The shift from “Home” to “Homecoming” is a slight one, but it completely changed the trajectory of this playlist. See, when I read the word, “Home”, the first song that came to mind was the epic Homecoming segment from Green Day’s American Idiot album, and I figured I would use it to end the playlist. Then, that little change. Suddenly, Homecoming became the starting point. What if you come home so changed from an experience that your notion of what home is becomes completely fucked? How do you navigate what used to be your base but is now foreign territory while grieving for the places (and people) that took up residence inside your heart?
Well, in my case, I tried to drag remnants of my new life into my old home, and it was disastrous. I was devastated, a mass of sobs and sadness. Then, I slowly woke and began to claw my way through the wilderness with bitterness and cynicism. I shoved my grief deep, deep down. I drank and danced and made a glorious mess out of my feelings. The ache was still there, of course, the longing for home, and it would make itself known, usually in the quiet hour in between the end of the party and my head hitting the pillow. I also had nightmares where I would return to my happy landscape with a palpable dread, feeling that something was off, knowing that I would wake up to a life that was at once completely suffocating and strangely hollow.
This time in my life was painful but necessary. I found my voice because I had to make my presence known in order to survive, and I started to go beyond merely existing. I started to live. It was even fun a lot of the time. I laughed and wore too much makeup. I played and had a recklessness about me that allowed me to try things I never would have had the courage to do before. I kissed strangers and partied in my pajamas. I sweated and screamed in mosh pits and chased after rock stars. I tottered around in high heels and push-up bras and short skirts. I cried a lot, too, but I kept that mostly to myself. Somehow, as I went through all of this, I managed to create meaningful friendships. Some were short-lived and some are still going strong, but they all helped me to live through hell and figure out how to make a home again. I got to try on different versions of myself, little bits seeping under my skin to help me become who I am today: a fighter, a storyteller, a marvelous weirdo who can face all the fucked-up realities of life and keep going. I built myself from the ground up. I am home.
Enjoy this sonic interpretation of my journey. I hope you all find yourself at home in your own skin.