Home Is Under My Feet.

Day 3 of #WinterABC2022 Afrobloggers’ Blogging Challenge/Storytelling Festival

Note ; Last day of week 1’s theme. Stories of home. This is another piece that feels like it should be in my password protected journal. The latest buzzword for this is called oversharing. Apparently we shouldn’t let the world know about everything that passes through these beautiful minds of ours. So I will try not to overshare.

Recently I lost my grandfather, that will be a separate blog post because I still haven’t found the words to fully express what I am feeling. Naturally this meant I had to travel home for the burial. I haven’t been to my rural home since December 2019. You know Zimbabweans or maybe my family have this obsession of classifying “home”. Your rural home is your home home. Your city home and diaspora home are not really your home. Is that a universal experience? Please comment at the end. Anyway back to my story. The pandemic played a role in my delay in returning home.

Today I wanted to talk about how the concept of home is changing at least for me, a student studying away from home.

A lot has changed since I left and a lot still has not changed. A big contradiction I know but hang with me for a second. When I say a lot has changed I am being selfish and possessive. My self awareness, which can be overbearing, led me to this conclusion. I even tweeted about it :

The last sentence will sound weird to Native English Speakers but it has been a running joke on twitter when you fail to find words to express what you are currently feeling

I am selfish and possessive because I expected everything to be exactly where I left them. Everything. However, time waits for no one. In my absence, those tiny little cousins have grown tall, the picture frames have been rearranged, the utensils I used to love have gotten old and replaced. Finding so many changes at home no matter how small, can be alienating….

The reality is when you come back home, especially from a country which is increasingly becoming hostile to people like me, you expect to fit right back in….Finding changes, no matter how small can be a stumbling block. We romanticize going back home when it’s not as simple and poetic as it is depicted in movies and novels. Sometimes the glove has become too small or your hands have become bigger or you just don’t like gloves anymore. The point is the process of sliding back in is not as smooth as we want it to be. You find that life moved on without you. In your absence, they did not remain magically frozen waiting for you to come back. They moved on. They even have new insider jokes that you missed on so selfishness builds up in you and just want to go back to where you “left them”.

At the same time, and this is where the contradiction lies, you find that there is still a lot that hasn’t changed. You know those tiny little ugly sides of family dynamics that we whisper about and never really want to acknowledge. I wish I could get into these juicy stories but oversharing! However, if you are reading this I assume you are smart enough to deduce these complex family dynamics.

When I saw these ugly parts showing their faces again. It became a light bulb moment! Home is not supposed to be perfect. Home isn’t a perfect castle, that is spotless. It has dark corridors, corners with spider webs, cracked windows, you name it. Home is not perfect.

This realization also led me to another discovery. That this country I that I “temporarily” call home, is also not perfect either. I remember telling my mother that it might potentially be my new home. She. Lost. Her. Composure. She went on and on about how that is not my home and I should not be comfortable.

Then it brought me questions. Isn’t Africa still my home? It’s not like I packed up and moved abroad. I am still in Africa. Even with the hostility I face here, it made me ask? Do I need the validation to call it home? I spend 99% of my time here and only go “home” for probably a few days each year. So then….. is home not where my feet are?

The realization that home is under my feet gave me peace because I do not want to live a “temporary life’. I find this sentiment even among other people from across the continent. Everyone is living a backpack life. Always read to leave but yet have been in this country for years. I do not want to live like that anymore. I want to be grounded in where I am. If I go to my rural home. I need to embrace it. I am home. If I am in my home city I am home too! Even on this foreign African soil. I am home! Home is not perfect but it still needs to be embraced.

This will be unpacked more in next week’s theme and I am excited for that one too. In meantime, thank you for reading you gorgeous human being. Please don’t forget to answer the question I asked at the beginning , it’s in bold and italicized. Once again , thank you for reading and take care.


6 thoughts on “Home Is Under My Feet.

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