This post is something I was meant to write a while ago, but as my creativity (read: laziness) knows no time limits, it’s only now that I am able to lie down with my laptop and let the thoughts come out through writing it all down.
I should also mention, my urgent need to write knows no “at the right place at the right time” – it is almost midnight on a Sunday night and I am meant to go to work early tomorrow morning…Never mind, creative minds will never be understood by the conventional society and its rules and regulations.
The title to this post should indicate what the topic is about – home. I recently had the chance (again, read: necessity) to go visit the country where I’m from, and as per usual, the time before the trip, my mind was in all sorts of places. I am from a very affluent Scandinavian nation which apparently is one of the happiest places on Earth, yet from my teenage years I yearned to leave. My experience of my country is one of pain, embarrassment, struggle, violence, hidden emotions, having to pretend everything is okay, bullying, hatred towards myself and others…
And left I had. Yet on a regular basis I have the need to go back, and the emotions that I go through range from being so anxious about not wanting to go and getting wasted the night before so I’d miss my flight, to feeling really sad about leaving England even for one week.
Usually when I get there, the sadness turns to anger and feeling annoyed with everything. First few days i hate everything; the culture, the people, the lameness of the small town I come from. After some sort of reconnecting experience with my past, I start appreciating the place, and by the time I’m meant to leave, I vow to move back/come back as soon as possible/not leave.
Thus the few weeks surrounding my trips are an emotional mayhem which often is incomprehensible to most around me. No one truly understands why I have gone to great lengths to acquire a different accent to hide where I’ from, why I try to be something I’m not in ethnic terms, and why I hate where I come from with such passion.
Why do I not love “home”? The answer lies in my childhood. Anyone reading this blog has by now realized my childhood wasn’t the easiest, and it most definitely did not sow the seed of patriotism in my heart. I hate what “my people” did to me, I hate how none of “my people” helped me when I needed help, and I hate how for me, “my country” is a shit place that never offered me anything positive or tried to help me grow to be a normal happy person. I hate my country.
No one understands that my experience of my country is a negative one, and this lays the foundations to everything I’ve done in my life. People sometimes laugh at me when I “try to be black”, but these same people weren’t sexually abused by their white father. White men to me symbolize sleaze, nastiness, negativity, whereas I don’t have the same thoughts about men of any other ethnicity.
People sneer at me when they find out I’m not American but “try to put on the accent”, but they don’t understand that the moment when I arrived in America symbolizes freedom to me; at 16 and in a foreign country, no one knew me, I could start from scratch, and forget who I used to be for the new me had been born. No wonder I quickly picked up the accent and still continue to speak with a twang even though I’ve been in England for years. If I had the chance to move back, I would, for the move to the US was the first time I ever felt joyous about being alive.
I remember seeing my father that summer before I left for the US, and I will never forget his smirk when he said I’d be back, for my country is the best country in the world. My heart grows strong when I realize I made it, I didn’t go back, and I will never have to if i don’t want to.
But…this trip made me want to. During the six days I spent in my country I explored my past, the scenery from my childhood, and reconnected with my birth place. I biked back to the countryside from the town center, and as I stood alone in the middle of the empty yard, listening to the birds sing, feeling the summer rays on my cheeks, and looking at a spot where I used to lay in the sun during summer holidays reading teen novels I had to take a deep breath before I let the tears come out. I had no choice but to allow my emotions take over, so gripping was the realization that standing there in the grass looking at the house that I grew up in, watching the birch trees sway in the wind and hearing the noises of nature in my ears, i finally felt like my soul had come home.
I have travelled the world – I have stood on the red hills of Kampala, swam in the Indian Ocean, looked out of the window on top of the Statue of Liberty, watched the waves come in on a beach in northern California, walked along the river Thames and dived into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Barbados, but only at that moment in the middle of the woods in my country did I know what home feels like. I wept until the tears dried, sat down and closed my eyes allowing the sun to shine on my face, and the emptiness in my soul was filled with the realization, that no matter where I end up going in this world, I will forever know where I come from, because I am from My Country.