How do you define home? Where you live now? Where you grew up? Where your family is? Or something else? Oftentimes how I interpret where home is depends on how I feel, who’s asking, or any other possible variable. My definition of home feels like it’s always changing and lately I’ve been thinking about where exactly that even is for me.
Last Sunday morning I met up with photographer Patrick Leung downtown to shoot. The weather was finally nice enough to shoot outside and I was excited to see what we’d create. While walking we came across a sign in a boutique’s window reading “Home Is Toronto”. We crossed the street and snapped a few frames before moving on to our next location. I didn’t think much of it at the time but seeing the image that resulted, the big letters forming such a definitive statement, made me actually stop and think about where my home is.
I was born in Monrovia, Liberia and when I go there, there is an undeniable feeling of home. But ultimately I don’t live there so there is a level of separation. When I go to my father’s home in Lagos I feel warmly at home, but it too feel unfamiliar at times. Having grown up in the US, Michigan to be precise, I will always feel a strong sense of home when I’m there. But ultimately I haven’t lived there in years and my heart often feels an emptiness and disconnect being away.
Then there’s Toronto. The place where I live now. I’ve learned a lot and experienced a lot of growth here. When I think about how long I’ve been here, it’s always strange to also consider how I still don’t feel quite at home here. I still feel like just as much of a bumbling newcomer as I did when I first arrived.
Sometimes I think home isn’t really a place as much as it is a feeling. Home is feeling like you belong, like you are welcome, wanted, and valued. Home is in the company of loving souls, listening ears, and open hearts. Both where you find yourself and where you lose yourself.
How do you define home? And where is it for you?
Jacket from Urban Outfitters
Dress & Choker from H&M
Boots from Public Desire
Belt from Topshop