When Jason and I dated, we bonded over a variety of shared interests, but our favorites were the holy trinity of tapas, Jesus, and camp horror. The two of us were among the dozen viewers who kept Harper’s Island on the air for an entire season. (He figured out who the killer was by the second episode, thus cementing his status as the Smart One in our smart ’n sassy combo.) We shared nightmares over The Strangers. (Okay, I had the nightmares and he listened to me complain about them. Don’t nobody kill Ben Covington on my watch!) And when I heard whispers of a show called American Horror Story, which was premiering just a few months after our wedding — and a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant — I emailed him trailers and we set our DVR.

It was not to be, though. Something about the baby kicking the inside of my belly made the Infantata unbearable to watch; but beyond that, I just couldn’t stomach the fear, violence, and gore any longer. Jason lasted a season longer than I did, then all trace of the series vanished from our lives, along with Dexter and The Walking Dead. A new era had dawned.

Until last month. Everyone I follow on Twitter seemed to have something to say about The Haunting of Hill House, and for the first time in eight years, I was there for it. My curiosity outweighed my hesitation, or at least compromised with it: I began watching the ten episodes on my phone, during the daytime, like the brave little baby I am.

Reader, it was good. Sure, at first my reactions were comprised mostly of jump-scares and at least one instance where I thought I’d have to change my jeans. But I connected to the story on a deeper level than I expected. It quickly became apparent that the narrative was not so much about a haunted house in the same way Friday Night Lights was not so much about football — the house and sport being devices to convey more foundational themes of family, trauma, and the things that haunt and move us.

Speaking of being moved: our family is, literally, for the third time in three years. After our initial move from Atlanta to Sydney in 2016, we’ve now rented two houses, both of which we’ve been politely kicked out of as the owners have unexpectedly (to us) returned. If The Haunting of Hill House’s simile serves, and houses really are like people, then we’ve been domestically promiscuous: packing and unpacking, feverishly scanning real estate sites, and questioning God’s plan for our lives annually. The news hits, usually in the form of a text sent from Jason to me. Shock accompanies it, along with a few tears. Then there’s my favorite kind of prayer: HELP, followed by an affirmation that this is no surprise to the Divine even if it is a kick in the emotional crotch for me. Cut to me a few days later, in a constant (figurative, mostly) fetal position and on a regular dose of Pepto-Bismol.

I should be good at this moving thing: since I left for college at seventeen, I’ve done it almost every year, switching dorm rooms annually while at school, getting left by engaged roommates during grad school, then relocating to New York and living in two apartments during my tenure there. Once Jason and I plopped ourselves down in Atlanta and had two kids, we settled in only to be thrown across the globe six years later. I have experience in this field, you might say. Not to mention the fact that I co-wrote a book (find it here!) that heavily covered the theme of home in its whimsical pages. Also, God has a pretty good track record with me, not just of keeping me out of homelessness but also of being endlessly faithful, period.

But none of that makes it easy.

Despite an initial announcement along the lines of “God’s got this” to everyone I know, I’m being decimated by this move, just like all the others. My anxiety has gone through the roof (not a short trip from baseline, to be honest). My fuse is shorter, I’m more irritable, and anger is even more at-the-ready than usual. All of which made my viewing of The Haunting of Hill House frustrating, enraging, and oddly comforting.

Why couldn’t Steve stop being so condescending? Why couldn’t Luke get his act together? Why couldn’t Theo take off the gloves? Why couldn’t Shirley stop being…inexplicably annoying? As I moved further through the series, these were the questions that plagued me more than fear of the ghosts onscreen. I was more invested, and less scared. Maybe houses are like people, with their beams like bones and windows like eyes, but I’ve always preferred the real thing. And in these past few years, I’ve been forced to discover that: people, and their stories, as home.

My theory is that those of us who enjoy a good scare do so only because it reminds us that we are truly safe. Safe in the sense, at least, that ghosts aren’t currently inhabiting our bedrooms. Fear of the improbable is a distraction from what we are actually, deeply afraid of: our own inabilities to be vulnerable, or faithful, or unaddicted to our drugs of choice. The Haunting of Hill House mixed all those improbable and real fears into a story in which one represented the other. There is no true safety in this world from the ghosts of our own lives, who continue to haunt us through our own frailties. And if the series had retained its original ending — and if home really did consist of a house — I would be writing this from the fetal position, as we have still not found our next abode…and my own ghosts persist in haunting me.

The safety we crave, though, cannot be found in a shelter of our own making (or finding). I will be anxious as long as we don’t know our next location, but what makes the whole process a bit of a camp horror flick is that, underneath that anxiety, I actually do believe that we are taken care of. That there will be a place for us, but more importantly, there already is. And that place is a Person.

At the beginning and end of the series, Hugh turns to Steven, father to son, and tells him not to look around. In the final episode, he says, “Look at me.” I feel these words as Steven did, as Peter on the water did: LOOK AT ME. They are impossible to both consistently obey, and resist. Sometimes we’re even forced into them.

“Home. It’s an important thing,” a friend wrote me recently after I’d related our latest real estate woes. “And so nebulous,” I wrote back, because I’m pretentious, but also because I’ve been thinking of how, if home is where the heart is, then it walks around right now at my boys’ schools, at my husband’s work, on our couch for movies, in moments of falling asleep together. All of it this steady march of moments toward the only true place our souls will ever rest, in the person whose love says, “Look at me,” even as I anxiously scan the perimeter for something to distract me, love calling me back anyway as the rest of the details scatter in its wake. It may not translate perfectly in the theological sense, but as a wise ghost once said at the ending of a “scary” story: “I loved you completely and you loved me the same. The rest is confetti.”