Oprah 20 Questions: Do you feel at home?

Oprah 20 Questions: Do you feel at home?

Update: I couldn’t keep the series going because of over-commitment and apparently terrible discipline so this is the only one I did 🙂

Someone I know is doing this group writing exercise with one question a week from Oprah’s ’20 questions all women should ask themselves’. I thought I’d join in so here’s my version for the very first question, you can read the quietly resonating piece by Sara here that started it.

If you guys want to join in, comment your thoughts away or feel free to write up whatever you’ve got and post in the comments. I liked Sara’s idea of doing it with even a picture so whatever you’ve got, share it. I’ll share my favorite ones in the next post.

Question: Do you feel at home?

I was an incredibly shy person in my childhood. I used to play a lot on my own, always had very few friends, was socially awkward and mostly preferred to stay quiet. I was always pushed to be more ‘visible’, try and converse more, be more socially ‘pleasant’. It used to really fuck with my brain because I was inherently uncomfortable and even scared and nervous at times to step out of what I knew myself to be and try to be someone I was not. So naturally, I always felt I’d be identified as the kid whose always going to be in the corner and it used to make me a little sad because I couldn’t ‘fix’ myself.

Over the years through college and university, I gradually warmed up to being more comfortable with social interaction and feeling easy with being a shy person. I still felt this strange, tiny pressure to conform with what most people would want me to be but not being an overthinker, I would always ignore this pinch of a feeling I would get, shrug it off and move on. It had stopped bothering me but it would come around to say hi, now and again.

Gradually over time, I did become more confident and would no longer curl up and die inside if exposed to human interaction. No cold sweats on being in a new place, no thoughts in my head about whether my behavior is the most desirable or not. And one day I just realized, I no longer have any discomfort with being exposed to the nuclear danger that was known to me as other humans.

That was a moment.

Life experiences have definitely helped me adapt to the world and evolve into this more comforted state of mind. I know so many can argue that having a great job, traveling the world, meeting new people has helped me become confident enough to be where I am today. That’s true and I wouldn’t deny their contributions but here’s what I think: age, time and maturity have done the biggest part in helping my brain find the right equilibrium.

I firmly believe there’s a clock in our brains and hearts and it’s different for everyone. Not everyone evolves into being the star of the show in a socially obvious kind of way or at the same time. But everyone can eventually evolve into being at home with who they are, being self-assured about what kind of a person they identify with being (and thereby becoming the star of their own show).

It could be at age 12 for you. Or at 50. But it has to naturally happen and it comes in its own time.

Today, I’m not vastly different from the younger version of myself even though it may appear that way to other people. But I realise the difference is that I’ve just mentally owned up to it. I truly feel at home with myself. I feel at home with being someone who’ll chat a lot with close friends but be naturally quiet with others. I feel at home with not having a ginormous social circle spanning seven continents. I feel at home with being someone who enjoys alone time with a cup of chai more than most other things. I feel at home with people who are not like me at all yet incredibly close to me. I enjoy my time out with people, I enjoy social events, but I understand in what quantities and moods I appreciate them in and so it never feels like an out-of-body or unsatisfying experience. I feel at home with my thoughts and my mind. I feel at home with my own person.

Being at home can mean so many things for so many people. Your physical home. Your mental growth. Your emotional status. It’s all important and it’s great when you can feel that way, in whatever context.

I feel certain and self-assured with who I am and I truly feel at home.

Question 2 in the following week: What is next?

I may not answer all questions and will do this fluidly, don’t want to militarise an ‘experience’.


  1. Seriously. Are you a therapist or something. Your post just soothed my mind. I have ALWAYS been uncomfortable socially and always struggled. This is like you wrote a letter to my heart 🙁 Thank you for this post.

  2. Fucking LOVE this post. Keep 'em coming.

  3. I am 35. And I have only just started feeling at home with myself. I have never said that or put it in writing but for me I started feeling comfortable with myself when my dad passed away. He wasn't mean or unkind, he was bipolar. And as horrible as it sounds to say that his death, as painful as it was, was also kind of liberating; i needed to say it. For 27 years I felt like I was responsible for his actions, I was supposed to justify the things he did. Because I knew him, I loved him. Not the disease, him. A few months after he passed away, I realised I haven't had that dreadful pit in my stomach in a while. That I am fine with being my usual loud, talkative self. I miss him, I do. But I am me now.

    1. Author

      Such a raw message. I feel for you and understand because a relationship that has to give but disproportionately takes is a challenge. It's great to see the concept of him and the disease separated in your mind, I hope you can resolve your equation with him through forgiveness eventually. I pray and hope you already have or will find other relationship(s) that heal and help you reconcile this even more. xx

  4. This has to got to be the most interesting seriess on dww blog to date. Soooo looking fwd

  5. I find this post to be very reflective and refreshing. On a daily basis, are we truly comfortable with ourselves? Do we have a past to reconcile with and a present to balance with? As a child, I was extremely social and chatty kid. However,at 32 years of age, I prefer listening and observing rather than talking. I feel I have blossomed in a positive way by feeling more, talking less and being present in the moment.It is so important to know yourself within -whoever you are, whatever your story is and who you aspire to be! Thank you for putting up this post, to help us feel at home ?

  6. I also relate myself with this post, but life never so easy for me, I always want to stay at my home but i have to perform my job, the 9 to 6 job has sucked my all energy but I don't have any option.

  7. love this post! so relatable. I'm currently going through a big change in life, moved continents alone without my husband, new job and completely new experiences.

    I wanted to blog about this experience but didn't have the discipline to so far! your post comes at the perfect time though, I'm going to start now, with this very topic! 🙂

    Thanks Shehzeen.

    1. Author

      Big changes! Lots of luck with settling in. Makes you nervous but in parallel quite exciting too 🙂

  8. I missed this one! though I wonder how because I try and read everything on your blog…anyway,I love the question and how you say that the thing that can make you feel at home is your state of mind. I have spent an inordinate amount of time alone. I travelled around the US on my own and lived alone and being ok with my own company was the biggest thing I have learned in my 20s. It definitely took care of that thing called existential loneliness.

    1. Author

      Haha. You're one of my fave readersss. And I know that about you now, it's one of the best gifts that can come to you(because sometimes you can't really control movements in life).

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