What is it? A place, people, memories. I am not sure If it’s a physical thing that I can lay my hands on. I think, so far, I recognize home by feeling it. I feel home. I feel home when I am safe being myself unapologetically and fearlessly. That’s how I define this thing we call home.
That being said, maybe, you can imagine the pause, confusion and loss that strike down my spine when someone casually asks the bitter question “…. So, where is home?”. They expect a place, a location I can point to on a map.. Do I say it’s the land of my mother-tongue that trips over my first language? The place I have to force myself into because ironically my culture is no longer the culture of my mother? A land where I am a stranger to my own blood? Or is it the land that I never got to lay a footstep over because the color of my passport is not the privileged one? The colonized blood-shed land where I can see my blood boil over the hot dust. Or is it the colonized piece of land that holds ancestors coming from across the world, a land that has no memories of my childhood, that does not and might not ever share my blood?
Things were a lot simpler growing up: home was the house I returned to at the end of a long day of school and tennis practice. But, now since everything changed, that idea of a home is a mere memory in a pool of other childhood fantasies. I am not sure which idea of home I prefer, but my current idea of home is portable, and I need portable.
I was sedentary all last year, in a country that neither shares my blood or my history. But, last year it became home. It shared more than blood have. It shared the growth of my soul, from a girl to a woman fitting into the world’s big shoes. It shared my comfort with my loneliness and accepted my being as is. It allowed me to feel everything with no restrictions. In this place I can safely and unapologetically be all versions of me, trusting it’ll encompass that.
It’s the season for loss and death this year and my new home shared this season with me. It hugged my minute body with its winds and swallowed my tears and screams and rewarded them with a warm ray of sunshine. I buried this season with work, my heart was piled up with words that only home knew how to encompass and understand. Home was there when emptiness fell in my lap, when the world gave me life and beauty, and when it wanted to crush my lungs. Home was there every day allowing me to safely be. But, home left sometimes… It gave up on me when my loved one had just left, when my heart was filled with laughter and only echo laughed with me, when I walked down a perfectly paved, cold, and quiet street. Home gave up on me when I struggled to find the usual beautiful chaos; my culture and family.
Home comes and goes, and now it’s here again. The morning coffee with a singing king, the warm hug of a worrying mother, the nagging and laughter of sisters, and the random acts of kindness from strangers. Home is complicated for me: it comes and goes. I feel home at particular and random moments. So, next time you see me stranger don’t ask me where home is, because there is no such thing I can point you to. I found a home in myself, in the comfort of being me regardless of my whereabouts. I’ll continue to grow, love, and cherish that home. I’ll continue to accept it just like it accepts me.