“Final” Reflections on Home

"home"

This brief project on home has now come to a close, or better said, a pause. In March of this year, I was accepted into my college’s Creative Works Fellowship program, funded and organized by the Gould Center. Who, what, when, how, and where is home are questions that I have been exploring through this blog, and will continue to think about throughout my life. The pause in this project, however, has come at the right time. Home has become more confusing and painful for me to think about, much less write about on a public platform; but I will still do so, one more time, for myself more than anything.

Montclair, CA

I’m living independently for the first time away from my mother-as-home. The move has come at a cost, no doubt — she is sad and lonely again, in our big quiet house in Queens that only ever feels big when she is the only one in it. When my mother surprised me with a visit all the way from NYC the very day after I moved in, she pleaded to stay with me, her face shadowed with confusion and loss: “I don’t have a home.”

I am her home (and her only child, too, if you were wondering). Which leaves as at an impasse, with many conflicts of interest. I am here to ground myself in my self as home, which leaves little space within me for her or anyone else to occupy. There is a poem in this, I’m sure, or some philosophical musings about the shared physicality of my and my mother’s bodies. Because I literally lived within her body for nine months, and in her mind for much longer, presently, and forever, she feels that she can, should, and must live within (and perhaps, through) me. She may feel she has a right to, unlimited access to, my own body, being that I am of her. My flesh is her possession.

These access and conflicts of interests take place through all six senses. Of the sixth sense, our spiritual beliefs and even our intuitions collide – Christianity does not make room for anything but its own. Of touch and of sight, my mother saw (and still sees) flaws in my face, laying her hands on it, sometimes with oils, as I slept, reaching to feel it when I was awake, demanding perfect beauty from my physical self the way society did of her (and so often does of women, especially young women — a society obsessed with youth(fulness)). It’s how she chooses to love me, so it won’t change. And even now, 2000 miles apart, she demands my auditory and visual attention. Technology has provided her a gateway to me, both easing and exacerbating the creeping guilt I sometimes feel for leaving her, and in declining her calls, when attempting to be present where I am.

Perhaps more poems will arise on this new journey. You’ll probably read some reflections on my academic studies, too. I am in love with everything I am learning, from the root of Yoruba oral traditions to the history of Design around the world to Queer and Feminist Theories and the impacts of Black/Africana/African-American/Pan-African Studies in academia and the Black community. And while I had some qualms about my creative works production this summer, I am ultimately proud of what I’ve written and shared with Internet users, considering the stressful and confusing circumstances I and we were (and still are) under. I wrote poems on Africa and our ancestors as home, reflections on my body and this country as home, and shared interviews with friends on their feelings of home. I am grateful to now have an archive and platform for my writing to live upon, breathable and changeable, on my own terms. More than anything, this project demonstrated for me my ability to produce creative content of my own initiative, outside of academia. I hope more people engage with my work and benefit from it as much as I do. I invite you to learn with me.

Home is…

"home"

For the past month, I have been interviewing friends on their understandings and experiences of home. This is a question we all struggle with at some point in our lives, and is more relevant now amidst a global pandemic. Where are you stuck or where did you (choose to) find refuge when stay-at-home orders were issued? Do you feel at home now, wherever you are?

I asked each person a series of nine questions, exploring childhood, movement, ancestral origins, and dreams & imaginations. While I have a lot more content to review and write about, I’ve chosen to share a little sneak peek of what I’ve been working on. Below are clippings from the interviewees, responding to the broadest question in the bunch: “How would you define home?”

Blake. he/she/they.

Atlanta. 21 yo.

“my definition of home is more immaterial. home is wherever i am.”

later in the interview, Blake shared with me “i am my home.”


Lena. she/her.

NYC. 21 yo.

“I think home is just a place where I feel safe, somewhere I come back to… it just shifts… I make a home out of whatever situation that I’m in.”

later in the interview, Lena shared with me “my body is my home.”


Sobé. she/her.

Chicago. 20 yo.

“now i see it as a group; as people.”


Dri. they/them.

Portland. 21 yo.

“i think particular places where people had a sense of familiarity with me, i associated with home.”


Ellington. he/him.

Chicago. 23 yo.

“home is wherever i am, it’s just a matter of being present.”


Selena. she/her.

NYC. 22 yo.

“i define home to be where me and my mom can be a functioning family.”


Natalia. she/her.

NYC. 21 yo.

“i just think home is wherever you feel comfortable.”


Note: I’ve chosen to share my interviewees current locations, or “homes,” and their ages to show the points of connection between all of them. They are all from large cities in the U.S. and in their early 20s. We are at a stage in life where we are more grounded in and understanding of ourselves. “Home” is constantly evolving, but what they’ve shared with me so far is quite transformative. If you choose to follow me on this journey home, I invite you to pay attention to these threads of commonalities (and differences, too); how would you respond to the questions I posed to my interviewees? For the purposes of this post, how do you currently define home?