In a recent interview, author Akwaeke Emezi was asked where they feel a sense of belonging, and they replied, “I only belong in places I create.” Those created spaced, they went on to explain, are both the physical space of their home and the space in their mind–how they think about the world, humanity, themselves, and how they write.
I have not had Emezi’s experience (I encourage you to read their memoirs, “Freshwater” and “Dear Senthuran”), but I have spent most of my life feeling just on the outskirts of belonging. I assumed this was the result of my unconventional background and eclectic life choices, and continued to seek internal and external spaces of belonging. All to no avail.
We are social creatures and we need others, yet too often in a desire to belong, we lose a sense of ourselves But, what about belonging to ourselves first? What about creating a space at home that is our version of beautiful? What about creating a space in our minds and hearts that is loving and authentic–that says, I see all of you and damn you’re amazing!
Coming home to ourselves–whatever religion or color we are, whomever we love, whatever pronouns we use, however we create our art, however we express our purpose…that is where we belong. That is where we start. And then we gather the beautiful kindred spirits. Amen.