The google definition of the word Home is “The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household,” but for a lot of people that word holds more weight than most will let on. It is a word that does not always come with the roots the definition suggests. The co-founders of Sula thought home would be a good theme for October being that we start accepting submissions in September, when most of us begin moving away from our so-called homes to begin our new lives, and because we are people of color stuck in places that may have never felt like home in the first place.
Anyone starting college knows the feeling of going back to the place they grew up or lived previously. Suddenly it’s not home anymore, just a place to sleep and store your things while you wander aimlessly through the town that seemed so familiar to you a few months ago. When you’re home, you wait to go back to school because it’s the only thing that feels familiar anymore. Once you turn 18, even if you don’t go away to college, your parents make sure to let you know that things aren’t going to be the same anymore. They aren’t of course. Even when you’re living with your family there is still that feeling of displacement that unites all of us seventeen through twenty-something year olds.
Sometimes hearing the word “home” just… hits home, so to speak. Not everyone has one, some people come from “broken” homes, others just never felt at home from the beginning. You begin to realize that family is a lot like high school, you only socialized with and got along with the people around you because that was all you had at the time. Not to say that we don’t love our families or childhood friends or guardians, because we do, but those people eventually become a thing of the past even while in the present. Hanging out in your hometown comes with a lot of stories starting with phrases like “remember when,” and “Like that one time we…”. We cling to things that aren’t real anymore because we don’t know what else to say.
As people of color, it is much harder for us to make homes for ourselves when people are constantly telling us we don’t belong. Our schools, towns, neighborhoods, local stores, malls, and any outside establishments make us feel alienated. They follow us while we shop, belittle us when we try to learn, give predominantly black and hispanic areas underfunded and overcrowded schools, and keep us living below the poverty line. They remind us of our ethnicity every chance they get, whether in the form of an outright racial slur or by calling on us in class to discuss our cultural differences. Home is not something people of color living in colonized countries ever get to fully experience.
Issue 2 of Sula Collective is exploring the stories of our contributors who recognize that sometimes home isn’t always where you are raised or born, but it is something you find and create yourself. It is people who do feel they are at home but recognize the flaws in their communities and try to bring attention to them. It is undeniable that where you are raised has a profound impact on the rest of your life and Sula’s contributors show that through their words, photos, and drawings. Home may be a concept that makes us all feel like something inside us is missing, but that thing is very real and through people it shows.
“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.” – Warsan Shire
words by Kassandra (K.) Piñero. Illustration by Sophia.