I want to begin a project about, for lack of a term, what I’m calling “fromness”. That is, the sense that you belong somewhere, there is a beacon calling out to you, a sense of home. Perhaps you don’t have that sense, perhaps you crave it, perhaps you miss it, perhaps it doesn’t really figure large in your life.
I’m constantly preoccupied with longings for home. My family has a rather transnational history and, although I personally have lived in Australia all my life, it’s a foreign country to my family. I don’t think I could belong anywhere else, either. Even if in fragmented, alienated ways, this country is what I’ve grown up with. But Australia is never going to be a good enough answer to ‘Where are you from?’. I don’t belong here – and never will – because I’m not accepted here, because this is not where my familial history has been, and always, always because my being here is predicated on the deaths of people who were here before me, and the continued marginalisation of Indigenous Australians.
I dream of being from somewhere, of being comfortable, of being at home. Not being from anywhere, never being able to belong anywhere: that’s something that makes me feel fundamentally insecure.
I want you to begin thinking about what the question ‘Where are you from?’ means to you. And we’ll go on a journey.