Tuesday, 4 November 2014

There is no place like home... or is there?

Like Dorothy, in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, I want to click my proverbial ruby heels at times and murmur the lines ‘there’s no place like home’ to be whisked away, just like Dorothy, to home and her comforts of home.  Sometimes, I want to go back to the ‘home’ that I sometimes miss. But then, like Dorothy, I eventually wake up, stare at the ocean that is within my view, and thank my ancestors that I am here for a reason, even when the thought of ‘home’ becomes a site of comfort to me. 

The primary theme to my uncompleted novel is what the notion of ‘home’ is to my protagonist, so I am quite versed in the contradictions that I am always facing when it comes to this pertinent issue for me. 

I often try to conjure up what the notion of ‘home’ really means to me. I over stand, that my constant analysis of what ‘home’ is always shifting and transforming; thus my notion of ‘home’ is always a constant change for me. When I look from it from the perspective of an Afrikan woman, born to a Yoruba, Nigerian woman, born in the capital of the UK,  then my notion of ‘home’ means to me – and let me just stress here, as it’s subjective to me – as being an ‘outsider’. I never felt that any stage in my life that I ‘belonged’ in the UK. I went through the motions of carving my education, a career and just being ‘present’, but there was always the questions of me belonging. My sense of belonging was always inconsistent to me. However, when I have my moments of deep reflection and meditation, and looking into my own lens of reality, together with my sometimes chaotic upbringing,  I have this almost contradictory feeling of what the UK represents to me. It’s all I have known. All I will know – for now.

My reality is that I am far, far, far away from home. The ironic thing in all of this is that this place, residing here in the village of Salisbury (the birth of my husband) , part of St Joseph’s parish, in the Commonwealth of Dominica, is  starting to feel like the only true home that I have had. I do not have family here, but every time I look into the face of a Dominican, I feel that I am ‘home’, and I am not even touching on the fact that I have been told that I resemble a family member!

I moved around so much in my life. I was a gypsy before having any kind of over standing and notion what it meant to me. My life has been made up of nomadic wandering over the years. I guess I have been overcompensating and trying my damn hardest to place an anchor on this shifting base which I called ‘home’. 

With my two boys, I attempted to make a ‘home’, but I still was kept afloat, constantly moving, every year or so, on my baseless foundation and my lack of over standing in demanding decent social housing, when I fitted, like a jigsaw puzzle,  into the criteria. But due to my rebel spirit, I didn’t permit anyone to dictate where and how I should live – be it on the twenty second floor of a tower block in an impoverished neighbourhood, or deserving of better residential standards to bring my children up; I decided on the latter.  I tried so hard, but there is one thing that I can say that I proudly achieved with my sons though. Through all of the upheaval of my relentless moving, they were fortunate enough to keep their own personal anchors with their fathers; my precious boys were able to attend to the same schools – throughout their formative years. So now, they can proudly state that they have the same friends from high school, which is something that I wished that I had.

 So even  with the one constant wheel, on my sturdy caravan, I was  trying to get and maintain some kind of semblance in my wanderlust  life, I never wanted my boys to go through what I went through growing up. Because of my constant moving around, I never had the chance to make genuine and sincere friends in school. I never had a high school crush; I was never ‘the most popular’, simply because I was on ‘the move’ all the time, so the roots to my growing up eventually became frayed and ultimately, abandoned. My growing pains suffered immensely due to my sense of not belonging to my peer group. This was keenly evident to me when I attended a reunion several years back, and some folk forgot that I had even existed! What can I say? *Laughing*

After literally half of my life spent in the UK, primarily in London, I then took the absolute conviction to pack up and move to a small, tropical island on the other side of the world at the end of 2012. I had nothing to burden me down; my emotional luggage that I had kept tightly and solidly  wrapped up , which accompanied me on my many journeys were discarded. I can really relate to Erykah Badu’s classic song, ‘Bag Lady’, because I was dragging around all of my bags and I needed to release a lot of them and just ‘let go’ - and I did.
 My sons have grown up – one is working full time and the other will be graduating next year from university. I miss them tremendously, but fortunately with the plethora of social media, I can keep in touch with them with a flick of a button, thousands of emoticons to convey my love and my dry sense of humour and a scroll of a mouse.

Why did I move to a country that I had only visited in the past? It starts with L and ends with E. Yes, L-O-V-E carried me all the way to these shores. Although my husband had lived in Europe - Netherlands to be precise - before I met him, I still encountered some negative naysayers who assumed that I was only returning due to his ‘immigration status and restrictions’. So far from the truth that a hiccup of a giggle and an upturn of my lips into a smile would invariably appear every time I would tell these naysayers the undiluted truth. Sometimes I didn’t have the energy and just let them bathe, like asses, in their ignorance that they proudly wore as priced pieces of designer wear.  It is so humorous to me how assumptions are created, only to realise that the truth will always prevail; and the truth has set me free. Let me just explicitly state at this juncture:

My husband obtained his EU passport a long time before I was manifested into his existence; before my soul had captured his heart and my name had lingered on his heavily Dominican accented tongue - so there! 

My husband is a creature of nature – literally. His spirit was rapidly declining because he could no longer be in the crux of the natural habitat that he grew up in. He could no longer feel the grit of soil beneath his strong fingernails that were starting to peel, due to the lack of Vitamin D. He could no longer speak a language that was oppressing his tongue and be part of a system which was depleting his spirit; in a system where his invisibility as a Black male was countered with pernicious stereotypes of a dreadlocked man, who raised his children singlehandedly, in a system that psychologically kidnapped his two biological, Afrikan children – too long for me to go into here, but maybe another blog post… All of this added to his own upheaval from a land that wanted to hold him down and imprison his senses, so he made the correct decision to make his own personal odyssey to finally return back to his rightful home. 

After we both decided to make this  gigantic  move; taking a leap of unadulterated faith,  and  after weighing our options of the pros and cons - the advantages far outweighed the other - we wholeheartedly decided to marry – it wasn’t a whirlwind romance either, as we had been previously been  ‘courting’ long-distance for six years –we had a wonderful and simple ceremony, which was attended by selected close, authentic friends and a bare minimum of family members, so there were no levels of toxicity, but instead, a whole heap of loving vibrations throughout our lovely ceremony.

So now, I sit here, on the veranda, peering out at the Caribbean Sea, as the warm fingers of the solar rays reflects on the surface like prized diamonds, and ‘home’ almost becomes my jewel in my crown,   Sometimes, the feelings of being homesick almost engulf me, however,  like the tender waves of the sea, it ebbs and flows like the tide, as I continue to daydream of what ‘home’ really means to me, and how it can comfort me in a land, that although is beautiful and full of natural splendour and calming energies, it is  still, at times paradoxically  ‘foreign’ to me.

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