Home, I never knew where that was until now. I was born in Jamaica but left when I was six years old. My family moved from a fishing village to a small English town that had zero people of colour. In that quaint picturesque town with its rolling hills and brick houses, I was introduced to foods, textures and tastes I had never experienced, people who weren’t particularly sure about me, and a school structure that was alien to me.
I was nine years old when a grown man yelled “go back where you came from”, and for the first time I was told in no uncertain terms, this was not, and would not ever be my home.
Jamaica was no longer my home either. I had been back numerous times and it was unrecognisable. Friends had grown up and moved on, our house was falling to the ground. There were strangers in our neighbourhood and nearly everything we recognised had been replaced. People on the street would call out ‘Hey English’ because they did not recognise me as Jamaican.
There is no truer statement than one that says home is where the heart is. Home is not a country where people pigeon hole me by the colour of my skin or the thickness of my accent. Home is where my mother cooks Saturday soup humming along to Beres Hammond, filling the house with familiar sounds and flavours.
Home is my family in front of the television, someone giving the plot away, someone talking over my favourite TV show, someone else glued to their phone.
Home is the giddiness of laughter and the explosion of contentment, where you sigh into your pillow and sink into the arms of those you love.
Home is wherever love sits, wherever love plants its feet and holds its roots. My home is not to be decided by some stranger who wants to control how I feel, or more importantly how he feels about me being in what he deems as his space.
My home is where I feel the most happiest, the most at ease to be myself. Where I can speak freely about my fears, where I can voice my pain, where I am comforted, and where I can find the strength to go out in the world and live my truth.