As I watched my mentor’s twins celebrate their birthday surrounded by all their day ones (friends they had known as long as they had been alive) in the house they had grown up in I felt a pang of ennui.

Moved around so much in my teenage years, I swear down I still got motion sicknessChe Lingo

This line from the song South off Che Lingo’s new album The Worst Generation resonates with me so intensely it feels like it was written having watched my life from afar.

My family moved to Nigeria when I was 12 and although I grew to love my time there and the perspective and experience it gave me, it was a lot for a young boy who had only ever known and thought of North London as his home. Yes the move broadened my horizons for the better but like with everything in life there are trade offs.

It’s all well and good to move back ‘home’ but no one tells you beforehand that going back to the motherland, you might not get the friendly welcome your childish optimism expects. You might instead get brandished as different which for a child trying intensely to fit in, is the last thing you want.

Moving brought me out of my shell and strongly encouraged me to learn how to make friends and so I became adept at first impressions and fitting into different circles. What is harder though is leaving those circles and friends when you move school every year. What’s even harder is maintaining and blossoming those relationships across towns, cities and continents.

Eventually I came back to the UK but I couldn’t shake the branding. I will never forget my cousin off-handedly remarking that I sounded ‘so African’. What she didn’t know, couldn’t know, was the weekly effort I put into having conversations with my sisters. Conversations where we would exaggerate our British accents in a vain attempt to hold on to that part of our identity because of a fear of being met by such a remark.

That’s why videos like this irk me.

Weary of being that guy, it actually is that deep. The experiences of children of the diaspora are relatable and can be humorous but there is real trauma there that should be addressed and healed from.

I got so used to moving I began to think of myself as someone who enjoys moving around and being nomadic. It was only through therapy and self awareness that I realised that wasn’t the case. My wandering is not because I enjoy the roaming, it’s because I’m looking for solid ground and stability.

Being used to something is not the same as enjoying it.

I enjoy meeting new people but I love the company of my good friends and long for the day I have a house big enough to host all of them. One so dope and inviting that they spend whole days there, leave to freshen up and return within hours. A home to provide stability and solid ground for my own future generations.

Peace and Love,

Aharoun the Author


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