This started out as a Twitter response to author Mattilda B Sycamore‘s tweet:
“That peculiar feeling of sadness when leaving the place I grew up, which was never home, to return to a place that isn’t either, but where is?”
The details differ of course, but I share the feeling of ‘there’s no place that’s home‘ in any deep sense. Oh I have a residence here in Ohio, and feel connected to my biologicals wherever we gather together. But we lived in 4 cities across Ont before I started High School. Toronto, North Bay, Mississauga and West Elgin (current names; some were known by others when we lived in them).
About a year after High School I returned to Toronto, city of my birth; and it felt much like a real home for awhile. The gay, kink and queer communities accepted me. I found employment, recreation, friends. But the devastation of hiv/aids means it’s also a place of great heartache. Which in many ways makes the connexion all that much stronger, I suppose. I still might retire there if I could afford to- but the city’s gotten just too expensive.
At the same time I remember what Mom said when she returned to Canada after living just a few years back in USA with her 2nd husband. She had moved to Canada at age 19- after spending many summers up here- to marry Dad and raise us four kids. (See About Me for a quick overview of my multi-generational cross-border family history). When she returned she observed that the USA was just not the country she’d known. As an expat- even one living just north- she and the USA had grown apart. Reading news headlines and watching entertainment shows are not the same as living in a place.
Now as I work toward my return I’m nervous how well Canada and I will adjust to each other. At the moment my plans and research are centered on the area around London- my two sisters and all their descendants now reside in or near there. I have returned to Ontario at least once every year since I moved down here. I follow Canadian news and entertainment as I’m able. My hope is that my closeness to my biologicals still living up north will make a positive difference.