“She might be without country, without nation, but inside her there was still a being that could exist and be free, that could simply say I am without adding a this, or a that, without saying I am Indian, Guyanese, English, or anything else in the world.” (Sharon Maas , 2000)
Where have you been? Seems like a simple enough question. But my answer would be so loaded. I cannot count the number of times I get asked where I’ve been, where I’m going, where I come from. And some how, none of the answers really seem to capture the tapestry of where on earth I have been, or how that would be relevant to who I am in this moment.
Geographically speaking in the last few months I’ve been dotting around states in North America. That doesn’t seem to add much to who I am right now. Neither does that fact that I lived the majority of my life in England. I have a name tag at work which says ‘Helen – England‘, and there’s something so sad about those two words which are supposed to define me to strangers. There’s Helen, she’s English so I better go over and talk to her about the new princess, right? Wrong!
I’m looking for some genuine conversation, a hint of reality, or even a smack in the face with some downright rudeness! As long as that’s a true representation of what’s been going on with you lately, I would prefer that. Rather than the mind-numbing socially acceptable way of communicating with one another.
I’ve found it hard to put fingers to keys since I moved, and I haven’t completely figured out why. Rather than trying to fight it, I’ve just decided to accept that I don’t have anything to say at the moment . Why don’t we live that way with all forms of communication? If you don’t have anything to say, just try not saying anything. My favorite people are those I can be completely silent around, yell my crazy thoughts to, or can have a reality check kind of catch up, which misses out all of what your supposed to say, and gets to what you really want to say.
Being in a new place hasn’t really changed who I am, neither did living in the old place. I’m tired of social norms, association with a country, and the devoid of content everyday questions.
I could reel off some geographical facts about my heritage, my upbringing, my job and what I’ve been doing recently. But all that’s relevant to me is whatever I’m trying to figure out about the world right now. I want to bring back that childish, no bullshit curiosity, playfulness and honesty that got trampled somewhere during the grueling school years.
Namaste, (I see that you and I are one and the same, so let’s skip all the trivial stuff).
Lets talk about something interesting? I dare you!
4 thoughts on “Where Have You Been?”
I recently lost my voice for a couple of months, and have totally learnt to appreciate talking and not wasting my voice with negative things or trivial things. I completely understand the want for a deep conversation about something that really matters rather than just discussing the latest office gossip!
Thanks for your comment Becky! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I’ve found since I moved to a different country, and everyone is new it can be hard to get past the irrelevant questions…but once you realize that you can surround yourself with other like minded people!
The guests that come to the bar I’m tending ask all those questions…Where are you from? Where have you been? What are you doing next? Do they really care? They expect you to be their dinner date or entertainer for the evening. My list of places I have been is long too. I’ve told my story so many times that I want to start making things up for my own entertainment. However, I am going to make an effort to start more meaningful conversations rather than having so many trivial ones.
It gets so repetitive after a while! I’m glad I’m not the only one. I know it comes with the territory but sometimes I just want to have a real conversation of any sort.. Any good conversation helps out weigh the trivial ones, maybe if we all stop allowing the generic conversation it will stop being the norm (even a bit)!