What if everything you’d been taught about home was not enough? What if it were not just the ciudad or pais you were born in, grew up in? Where you buried your treasures, your dead? Your present address? What if it were more complicated than that? How would you give it to yourself, to your children then? How would you answer the people who’ll claim your home is either where your story began or where it is taking place?
Floor to ceiling in our upstairs hallway, between our bedroom and our children’s, my husband and I hung up an “origins gallery”: six beautiful photographs of the places where each of us were born- Madrid, Pittsburgh, Guatemala City, Mazatenango. It provides an anchoring sentimiento, an antidote to feeling a veces unmoored by all the borders and boundaries we’ve had to cross to come together. And, an illustration that home can be a shifting place.
Next time someone tries to shake your claim on any of the spaces that have shaped your soul, picture your own definition of home, and break it open. Let it become both the places you’d know with your eyes closed and the places in which you have come to find yourself. Bienvenida to the wider sense of home you’re entitled to!
* this piece first appeared in a different version, under a different title on Literary Mama