If I went back, where would I start? How do you begin to unpack what you remember when memory is fleeting and untrustworthy? Is there value in the unpacking? Relief? Will I find answers in old photographs, journal entries, public record, in a trip to the courthouse, this time for research and not to ask my dad’s parole officer if he can get a day pass for my wedding? I want to go home, but I don’t know how. I don’t know if I’ll recognize it when I see it.
A lot of going home starts where you started. We go back to the time just before we were born. We think about our parents finding out about us. We wonder if they were happy, scared, inconvenienced. We start with our parents because that’s where we start, but they never existed in a vacuum. Everything they are is etched into their blue print, some ancient, some ever-changing, all unique. They break off little pieces of themselves then, and use those pieces to bring us partial and haphazard beings into shared experience. Is that moment of creation home? When we leave the sanctuary of the womb we scream and reject the harsh, cold world. It is messy work, being born. It is the first act of violence visited upon us by our new environment. Is that sacred place home?
If I went back, I could start anywhere. Any of those places, tiny specks on a universal map, would find me home again. I ache for my home, my brethren. I want to know why I am me. What makes me me? Would my old grandmothers and aunts and sisters be proud of how I’ve used my heritage? Would they remember their dreams of legacy and be honored by the thin twine bridge I’m building to them? I want to show them I’m here, that I care about where I come from and who sent me. More than anything, I want someplace to belong.