For the past couple of months, I have been thinking about the politics of going “home.” What it means to return “home,” instead of fleeing to far away places where “success” supposedly takes place. What it means to grow old in the alleyways where you skinned your knees in as a child, how to begin a life in your childhood house filled with all the faded memories. It’s a question of how to love things that are normally unloved. Your immigrant family. Your mother’s accent. The octopus squirming on your plate. The thick smell of garlic unraveling from your clothes. The rusty old tractors in the abandoned rice fields.
I think about what it means to go back to a place where you will be considered a failure. Where your degree will confer you shame and unwanted power, which you must carefully wield. A place that will lay bare the rich, white habits that you loathed but unknowingly picked up over time. A place where people will love you but constantly push you away to do “bigger and better” things.
And what will happen when everyone leaves for “success,” and those do who cannot leave remain.
Returning “home” feels like a journey of unearthing oneself — from underneath years of shame, guilt, and sorrow. It’s the slow process of loving others who look like you, talk like you, who come from the places you’re from and have been. It’s a process of tracing the roots of your gut reactions — a language that your mind has forgotten but a place from where your body and emotions constantly draw.
It’s about finding yourself. It’s meeting people who sometimes know you better than yourself. And giving yourself the wholeness that you need & knowing that you have a place to constantly draw from.
A space you grew up in and can come back when you need to.
A space you can call “home.”