Yes, I have blatantly and shamelessly stolen the name of a song by the same name (by the band The Temper Trap). But it really made sense for this post and I’m silently sending them a shout out. Stay awesome TT.
Now back to what this post is about. Rarely in my life have I felt like I belonged. I’ve belonged in moments, in situations, in gatherings, in relationships, in pictures, but I’ve never really felt like I belonged to a place. The first 18 years of my life were spent in Karachi; a volatile, loving and confusing city in Pakistan. The next chunk of my life was spent in Florida, a lazy yet bustling, comfortable yet multi-cultural state in USA. The latest portion of my life is here in Dubai. In all three places I found people and situations that took a piece of my heart. But none of these places gave me a feeling of ‘settlement’. None of them made me feel like, this is it, I’m here to stay.
I’ll start with the country that set the foundation: Pakistan. Growing up, I knew I belonged to a family that was unique and different from most. Our structure was different, our rules were less. My family felt like home to me, but never the country. It felt familiar and I related to it. The people felt like they were mine, but I was never part of the framework. I existed within the chaos and the drama, but I never felt like a part of it. I continued to feel like an outsider and soon it was time for me to move.
Florida shaped me. It took a spoilt teenager and moulded me into something else. I won’t be arrogant enough to say that it made me into a responsible adult or a contributing citizen, but it did change me. I grew up. Into something better or worse I can’t say. Just different. I met people that took portions of my heart that I’ll never get back. And I don’t want them back, they’re secure where they are. I connected with family and found a totally new one. I found the joys and terrors of absolute and utter freedom and I learnt the meaning of ‘do everything you want to do because this is the only life you’ll get’. I learnt about letting go, about learning from others, I met new nationalities, experienced unique cuisines. It was where I learnt about liberation and consideration. It’s where I learnt to cherish the family I had taken for granted for so long. And I learnt that the trust that is put in you must be respected and never violated. But I never felt a part of it. I loved it, I cherished it, I revelled in the new and missed the old, but I never belonged.
And soon it was time to experience an all new adventure. A sunny one. A married one. In Dubai. This disposition bought me lessons about coexistence. About making a home and learning to compromise. About joint laughter and learning how to cook and finding out I can’t. It feels like a great place to be, but do I feel like I belong? Not yet.
Could this be that I’m just one of those that can never call one place home? Does this mean I’m restless or just adventurous? Am I curious or just noncommittal? Am I dissatisfied or searching? I’ll never know until I know. Until then, I’ll keep imparting a piece of me until one place holds me until I never want to go.