Skip to main content

Coming Home

"Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life's undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room." ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

I don't know where home is anymore. Supposedly, I am here now. But I occasionally think, with absurd ambivalence, that I want to go home. And when I think I want to go home - for that tumultuous, turgid fifteen or thirty minutes or sixty minutes- I mean my latest home, and that is in Dubai.

It's hard for me to say where "home" is. Now, it is in Dubai - or at least I have referred to Dubai as home since December, when I felt it was time to make an exit from the cacophonous subcontinent back to the desert. Yet, as summer holiday approached I began to think about coming home - to the United States and more specifically North Carolina. I lived in North Carolina for ten years, my entire adult life until I left for Dubai, and prior to that Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, respectively. While I usually tell folks I grew up in Ohio - because physically I did - I, in fact, grew up in North Carolina - most importantly - emotionally and mentally. My mother and my brother remain in Ohio. My father and my stepmother live in Atlanta, and that is my "home base" when I am in the States. And to a certain degree, all of these places - Indiana, Pittsburgh, Ohio, North Carolina, and Atlanta, are some semblance of home - or what home is supposed to be.

These places are my family and my friends. They are places where I have lived and lost and loved. They are joy, silence, laughter, love, acceptance, rejection, sorrow, ecstasy, anguish, chaos, familiarity, nostalgia, turbulence and resilience - all of the things that make up home as well as break it down. They are amazing food in restaurants I already know, they are people I worked with and was inspired by, they are bars where I spent many a summer evening, they are short visits with pals filled with chatter and light and laughter and a longing to continue but acknowledging that the feeling is fleeting and so is the meeting so here is our quick goodbye - again...sort of a little too similar to last year - isn't it?

It's fierce - this feeling of anguish and angst to return to Dubai, to a location I fought with for months, and fought against for months until I accepted it was mine. Knowing I was so excited to come here, to come home, and then arriving and it's amazing and it's almost everything I hoped it would be, but then for a minute, for an hour, those distorted thoughts and feelings overwhelm me and I picture my unpacked flat and my eccentric security guard and the ease of daily life and I "want to go home". Then I am perplexed and awash with guilt and shame simultaneously mixed with comfort and inextricably linked to what I know not, and I wonder about the holidays and next summer and when and if and how I will "come home" again.

And now I am here. Loving every moment. Living every moment. Accepting everything the Universe has to offer. And when those forty-five minutes or so roll around...and I am submerged in discomfort and living the questions, I do not escape it. I do not resist it as I did my new home. I embrace the fear and acceptance and the tears and the peace. I reflect on my people and the amazing visit I have had over the past three weeks and I smile and I am grateful I am here. And when someone asks me when I go back and I realize it is is ONLY ________ weeks (now five), I return to the present and I contemplate "home" - a place and a definition I have been seeking and finding and leaving for the majority of my life, and I breathe. Because whether home is in Ohio or Atlanta, or North Carolina or Dubai, or with my family or with my friends, or with my Papi or where the heart is - or all of it and none of it at the same time - "wherever you go, there you are" and maybe home is there also.


Anonymous said…
Home is a place where I can fall asleep on the couch at will. Home is a place where family and/or friends can be summoned on short notice. Home is a place I can be alone. Home is a place where I can be barefoot without being creeped out. Home is a place bearing little stress, where I don't need to be on my best behavior, where I don't have to wear earrings or mascara. Home, for me too, is many places.

Popular posts from this blog

Marching in Gaza - Partying in Beirut

"The mere possession of a vision is not the same as living it, nor can we encourage others with it if we do not, ourselves, understand and follow its truths. The pattern of the Great Spirit is over us all, but if we follow our own spirits from within, our pattern becomes clearer. For centuries, others have sought their visions. They prepare themselves, so that if the Creator desires them to know their life's purpose, then a vision would be revealed. To be blessed with visions is not enough...we must live them!" - High Eagle

I received three important emails today. The first was from a former colleague—a teacher, an organizer—asking for support on an upcoming trip; the second was from a close family friend introducing me to someone who will occasionally be in the area; and the third was from a close friend asking me to review his latest creative endeavor. All three emails managed to elicit in me some measure of guilt.

None precipitated as much guilt as the first. My form…

The Dubai Dream

"Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living." - Anais Nin

I was chatting with YG online one morning when I first arrived (actually it was about two weeks ago, but it feels like much longer...).

How is dubai U like? 7:15 PM me: i do...but it's a little too western...i'll probably only stay 3 years too much air conditioning YG: Word 7:16 PM me: but i like. it's like living in new york 120 years ago YG: Lol me: you know, while they were buildin[g] everything and people just kept coming and coming and there was probably always construction
Dubai does remind me of a growing New York, and the reason people come reminds me of the former American Dream. I say former because the American Dream does not seem as likely as it once did. Coining the term first in 1931 (according to the Library of Congress), James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America states:

"The American D…

Yes, We Can; Yes, We Did; Yes, We Can

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments to palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand." - President-Elect Barack Obama

I left the high school around 7:45 this morning to run an errand at the elementary school. It was 10:45 pm eastern time in the States. On my way back to the high school, I passed a group of middle-school students.

"We got Florida!" a boy yelled while pumping his fist into the air.

"And we got New York too!" replied his comrade, a little blond boy.

I smiled to myself, but I did not yet know if it was because they clearly understood the electoral process, or because they were so enthused so early in the morning that Black is the new president.

As I walked, I was lost in my own thoughts regarding an earlier event in the morning. I awoke at 4:45 and checked the …