Imagine waking up one day and finding yourself:
Away from your home.
Away from your family.
Away from the world you know
Away from the sounds of your childhood or your friends.
When an immigrant leaves their home to start a new life elsewhere the scars of shredding ties with all that is familiar are buried within them invisible to the world. These scars unless healed can fester and cause undue harm.
Immigrants are members of the Diaspora because they leave their homeland for a new world and in most cases never to return. As the years go by, memories are the only salve to the scars of what led t their departure and serve as balm to the hardship of transitioning to a new world.
For years, it was difficult to find a place I could completely call home. A place that I could say I could feel I fit into. It was difficult to reconcile that I had been away from home for so long and yet couldn’t feel at home where I now found myself.
“Why…,” I wondered, “ Did I need to find a place I could completely fit in?” I realized that home was wherever I was. From the moment I stepped onto the airplane and left all I knew, I had essentially made the decision to expand my home as I knew it. My home had gotten larger and bigger than I had ever imagined.
Then so natural followed the fact that if my definition of home had expanded, then so too did my definition of who I was. I was a global citizen. I member of the world. My home was the world. Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, that moment, that instant, was my home and I was a member of that particular experience by virtue of being there.
Everyone around me, at any given moment is part of my big home.
Whether it’s at work or at school or at home. My home was and is wherever I was at any given instant.
Shifting the definition of who you are and where you are from, has the power to shift how you view your role in the world. When you see yourself as part of a bigger picture, then it is inevitable that you may take an interest in what others contribute to your life and vice versa.
Your home is both where you’re from and where you are. Home is there and here all at once. Taking steps to know your new home will help in giving you the information to make you more of a member of the world such as:
1. Learning about your new home its history and events that led to the creation of that area you are living in. I am an avid googler and since moving to the United States, I take an interest in every state I find myself living in. United States rich with colorful events that have shaped the various attitudes and beliefs of America today.
2. Get involved in the community where you live. Join an organization that will get you out of the house and into the world that you now find yourself. I have volunteered in the past in Habitat for Humanity building homes and getting to have a sense of ownership in the world that is now part of your home.
3. Share some of your unique qualities of your culture. People are curious, so why not share some of what makes you, you? At first uncomfortable about this, it now comes second nature to me when people are looking at me with that curious expression trying to find the right entry point to ask about your accent, I simply volunteer the information.
4. Be curious and ask questions to get to know the new people living in your world. I was fascinated when I found out the rich mixture of heritage in Minnesota when I lived there. Some of my friends could even trace their roots all the way to Sweden and they could even speak a smattering of Swedish.
5. Find an outlet for your frustrations. No one understands the frustrations of being different and feeling displaced more than you. The pent-up frustration of (for some) not being able to go back to your birth country can lead to stress levels that can affect health. Find a positive outlet to deal with the trauma of suddenly finding yourself wrenched from all you know. I find therapy helps for me here because I can get to find tools to deal with the stress of being in my new bigger world. Exercise is another way that I have found works to de-stress.
As a Diaspora, your world is bigger and as such needs to be investigated, natured and taken care. As a global citizen you now need to find a way to participate in the bigger world you now have to call home. By taking steps to be involved in the bigger world, a Diaspora has to find a role to play in the new world they now have to call home.
- Diaspora Remittance-Why Its All Worth It in the End (songofdiaspora.wordpress.com)
- A Diaspora’s choice: Engage or Retreat (songofdiaspora.wordpress.com)
- The 5th Annual African Day Parade and Festival 2011 In Harlem (harlemworldblog.wordpress.com)