Photo taken by Akunna at Mirror Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin. December 2021.
Okay, you’ve been traveling, but where are you actually based? Like where is your home?”
Clutching a red cup with long, blood-red acrylic nails, she gave me the once over. A smile sat smugly on her face. Her brown eyes exhibited exhaustion.
“…Home is wherever I make it,”
I replied with a smile.
“So… You don’t really have a home,”
The curt companion’s conversation had come to an end. My eyes swept over the venue, swirling in the sea of unfamiliar faces. Hands held red cups. Red cups held white wine. Faces held fake expressions. Fake expressions masked unspoken thoughts.
It was May 15, 2021 and I was back in Nashville, for my second time – another pit stop on my self-proclaimed world tour.
Three weeks prior, on April 20th, I was in Las Vegas, exploring Fremont Street with Dwayne on his birthday. A week later, I was in Columbia, Maryland, at the mall with my then 6-year old niece. “Aunty Akunna, can you take a picture of me?” A smile slight stretched out underneath her mask and she struck a statuesque pose. Where I saw a large rock, she saw a stage. I took the photo. A few days after the impromptu mall photo shoot, I was in Brooklyn, eating bagels with D and having staring contests with Jax the chihuahua.
And now I was back in Nashville.
Sweet, sweet, Nashville. Music City.
My trip had been amazing so far. I had the honor of seeing Brian Brown perform live for my first time. It was a historic headlining, an energetic experience – a sold out hip hop and rap show at Acme Feed and Seed, the scenic venue on Broadway street, known for not hosting hip hop or rap shows.
I visited Phonoluxe Record store with Namir Blade and enjoyed observing him crate digging – always in awe of the expansive genre variety his music tastes cover, though it perfectly explains the genre-bending variety of sounds in his magical music.
Tonight, I was at Khrys Hatch’s self-curated headlining show for MOCAN After Dark, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Nashville. The curation was beautiful to say the least, and Khrys put on a more-than-memorable performance. After the show, I dropped into the sea of faces… Mixing and mingling with strangers, when I received that question.
…Where is home to you?
In the year 2021, I changed locations over 40 times and visited nearly 20 different states.
“Okay, so where in the world are you now?” my aunt often laughed.
“Why can’t you just settle down?” my dad pressed.
And I did “settle down,” in July. I found home in Harlem, New York, quickly learning that Harlem holds a historical hue which exceeds well beyond my first 5 senses. I saw it with more than my two eyes. I felt it with more than my two hands. I heard it with more than my two ears. And I tasted it with more than my mouth.
Each place I visited before New York shaped me in its own unique way. Harlem followed suit, acting as a catalyst for my incredible and imminent growth. I rose from spark to flame, integrating lessons learned, emotions felt, people met, and everything in between.
By October, I became restless again and I did not try to withstand Wanderlust when it hit. It had been a whole year since I left Seattle and made my first move to Nashville in 2020, and I had changed immeasurably.
So, I listened.
So, I went.
I’ve learned a lot. I’ve discovered that interstates are ideal for introspection and inspiration. I’ve found myself in the trees and felt myself in flow like a stream. I’ve painted with all the colors of my internal, eternal wind. I’ve revisited old places in hopes that I would feel new things. But what I found, time and time again, was a new me instead.
Where is home to you?
I’ve found that home is truly wherever I make it.
Home does not require a lease, or a certain amount of time spent, or family, or even people that I know.
I believe that we can all find home, anywhere. I certainly have.
In October 2020, I found home in Nashville, Tennessee.
In January 2021, I found home in Atlanta, Georgia.
In March 2021, I found home in Laurel, Maryland.
In July 2021, I found home in Harlem, New York.
And in December 2021, I found home in Portland, Oregon.
It feels great to be right here, right now. I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I think I’ll stay for awhile.
…There was a great question that was asked to me once. And I’d love to hear and share your response, if you’d like to answer it as well. The question is:
Where is home to you?