How do you relate to where you are now? Does it feel like home? Who lets it feel like home?
I have lived in this city all my life and it still feels transient. I’ve never quite understood the feeling and rhythm of this city, never known where and how to be and how I might fit in. There are places I’ve visited that feel vastly more like home. Maybe it’s that coldness with which Sydney is so often characterised, or maybe it’s finding that the Australian mainstream likes to alienate people like me, but I never have felt quite settled here. It’s kind of awful and fascinating that this place which has been my place of residence as long as I’ve been alive isn’t home. If not here, where? I might be “from” this city, but I’m not really “of” it. The belonging implied is as insubstantial as smoke.
Sometimes I think that it’s not so much that I have a different culture, but that the mainstream culture here is so actively hostile to other cultures. Supposedly, Australia is a multicultural society in which people of all backgrounds are accepted, but the trade-off is that we have to give up our cultures, our foreignness, ourselves. And we give it up not to be absorbed into a mix of cultures, but a specifically Anglo-Australian one such as is constructed as racially and ethnically neutral.
I’m still not sure what makes a hometown, or a place of belonging. Have you found that sense of home in where you grew up, and where you are? How is that influenced by whether you share a background with the people in those places or not, or how accepted you feel?