Soul Places

Yorkshire. Loud and proud.

Home…….is where the heart is. Really where is home? And do you always end up back where you started?

It’s a question I’ve often asked myself. Is it where you put your head down every night? Is it where you travel to and then wish it was your home? Is home actually a safe place you go to at various points in your life? Who do you share your home with? What does home look like? What really makes a home a home? Is home just the same place for a number of nights?

My home has always been important to me but I guess it took me 40 years to really realise where the place that I should really call home actually was….I’m without doubt a typical Taurean – the Taurus sign’s soul craves security, stability, and comfort. Taureans need to live in a space that is relaxing and soothing to the spirit, a place of peace, safety, and tranquility. I would say that the keyword for the Taurus and their home is ‘comfort.’

Having owned a house since I was 19, it is clearly important to me to have somewhere I call home, but it has taken time and numerous places to know what really constitutes it. After all this time I’ve come to realise that home is actually where I started out.

I was born in Pontefract. Home to the famous liquorice cake if nothing else, but I only spent a short time there before my parents moved to York. I spent the next 19 years enjoying the beauty of Yorkshire as a whole county, although I didn’t recognise it at the time. Indeed I represented my region in my chosen sport of netball and am still immensely proud of that red and white kit we had. There is also, always internal passion whenever anyone asked me where I am from, and I’ve always proudly told them. But I then moved south onto Birmingham, Langford, Milton Keynes with a stint overseas in  South Africa. Getting closer to the streets of London where the streets were surely paved with gold?

Each time I moved it was a bigger house, a more refined neighbourhood. But there was always something missing. Each time I went home, and interestingly I have always referred to it as home, whether I was visiting my mum in York and latterly Leeds or my dad when he lived there up on the hill in Penistone.  It gave me such a feeling of contentment. I was in the right place. My heart felt full. So how did I spent years denying it? What made me finally realise, where my heart and home was?

Well I hit the magical age of 40. They say you really find yourself at this age and I guess I really did. I spent some time talking to and seeing someone who lived in Yorkshire but who wasn’t family. Out walking one day he posed a question to me. Could I ever see myself living back in Yorkshire. A somewhat strange question to me, given I’d spent more time living away from Yorkshire than I did in it. But the funny thing was without even thinking I had said yes, suddenly it was one of those lightbulb moments we are all supposed to experience in life and it was totally within myself. It wasn’t the style of house, how many bedrooms I had, how large the house was, how much it was worth, how much furniture I bought, how many times I redecorated it, styled it. Home was actually about a place where my heart was, and after all this time I had finally realised it.

Home was actually back in Yorkshire – a place of great beauty, a place of history, a place that was so familiar, a place where all the people who were most important to me – my family where actually living or were close by and much closer than living in the south. Yorkshire is a place that has a sense of community – a place where people actually talk to you even though they didn’t know you. That’s northerners for you.

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And so I made the decision that I needed. I craved to be back there. I spoke to my mum, thinking she would say I was just going through one of my crazy phrases but she immediately agreed. Secretly I think she had long wished for me to come home but recognised I needed to live my own life so never pressurised me. Within 24 hrs I had suggestions of new houses to look at from her. Far from feeling overwhelmed, there was a total sense of calm. I didn’t need to share my decision with friends to get a second opinion, something I sought on most other important decisions in my life. I simply made the decision and told no-one until it was actually all done and dusted. And the dusted part happened pretty quickly too. I went home one weekend to try and get a sense of where I should actually lay my head each night. I’d only expected to visit areas to learn more about them but less than 24hrs of being “home” I had found the right place and decided on an offer. It was made, and accepted. Deal done.

3 months later I left my house in MK. The place I’d been calling home for the past 10 years. It was packed up and all my goodbyes were said. As I slept that last night I had a real sense of calm. Something I only experienced when I put my head on the pillow at my mums in Yorkshire. I was actually going home. Ironic given my career in football, and those words of footballs ‘coming home’. Finally Siobhan/ Shivers was going home.

It was the most peaceful I’ve ever felt. Of course I was sad to leave my friends behind but I wasn’t losing them. In fact I was gaining. They can come, visit and share my love of Yorkshire. My heart was finally complete.

That first night in my new place back in Yorkshire was one of the most peaceful sleeps I’ve ever experienced. Strange given how stressed I was in the move process. So tired I’d gone beyond sleep. It was about 3am when my head hit the pillow but immediately I slept and not just through tiredness.

Since moving I’ve got no pain in my body, no aches, no sense of loss. No sense of not knowing who I am. I’m content, happy with the space around me and the new life I’m creating, I have more confidence. I finally know who I am and where I belong. I love the park being on my doorstep, I love the greeness of it, I love the local coffee shops I can actually walk to, I love the Sunday morning stroll through the park where people greet you and often stop and talk even though I have no idea who they are. I love the openness of my new place,my neighbours always popping in and I love the view from my beautiful bay window – the light that shines in is stunning.

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It’s simple – I’m from Yorkshire and I’m proud of it. The white rose has more beauty than anything else I’ve ever seen. It’s a symbol of light, innocence joy and glory and true love. It’s simple really isn’t it. Search deep in your heart and you will always know where home is.

Just like one of my icons once did, I clicked my heels three times and found there really is no place like home. I finally realised I just didn’t need red ruby slippers to find it, it was always there, just like it was for Dorothy. It just took me a while to realise it and actually I’m not remotely sad at that. My life is all the richer for the places I’ve lived in and visited and of course for all the people I’ve met along the way. They have all had a great impact in my life and shaped who I am and what I stand for today but i finally know where home is. The greatest and most beautiful place on earth. Yorkshire. It truly is god’s country. As we say when you come from here.

I’m Yorkshire and I’m proud of it.

Siobhan Atkinson: Shivers and I connected over our work involving a community sports programme in 2007. She’s a passionate Liverpool FC fan and has a real dedication to community sport. An amazing friend who always gives without every asking for anything in return. So generous with her time, friendship and love.

 

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