Some places feel right. They’re comfortable, they support you and suit your needs. They feel like home, even if you don’t live there. There’s even an expression, to “feel at home” that expresses this emotion of being where you belong.
Belonging is the key. The word itself derives from an Old English root with the sense of being held. That can be ownership (the book belongs to me), but it can also mean being within something, being a part of it. And being held by somebody, hand in hand or in their arms, can be comforting and reassuring.
So home is where you belong, where you feel safe and secure. That holds you, comforts and protects you. It might be a place, but then again it might be anything. It could be a person.
People who I feel I belong with, I think of as family. Not in the sense of kin, but in the sense of feeling like home. Home and family: they both have that sense of being where you fit, where there’s a place for you, where you belong.
And that’s why for me family is a feeling rather than a lineage. It’s people I relate to rather than those I am related to. (Although there’s only one person in the world I know I’m genetically related to and she’s most definitely family in any sense of the word.)
Many of those I regard as my family are neurodivergent, mostly autistic. A little while back I referred to myself and a dear friend as “sisters of the mind”; she replied with “neurosisters”. And certainly being neurodivergent does help us relate to each other.
It’s no accident we use the language of familial relationships. Through our similar neurology we are related, and when we connect it is like coming home. As social animals we humans need such relationships. It took many years but I’m so glad I found my family, my home.