later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?
~excerpt from Warsan Shire, What They Did Yesterday Afternoon
These lines from Warsan Shire’s poem echo in my mind, especially across the earlier months of 2020 where foreboding news came from every corner of the earth, as I was unexpectedly suspended in Tokyo when the pandemic caused flight cancellations and global restrictions on travel.
Is it still ‘home’ if it feels unfamiliar? Is it meaningful if it is only temporary and changing?
Being ‘exiled’ while experiencing the unfolding events and the anxieties of the previous months, raised many questions of where I felt secure, cared for, what I missed, and made me question what a sustainable and fulfilling mode of working and living might look like. The reconfiguring of spatial and temporal realities was significant – it affected how I have come to understand anew distance and connection, time and healing, kinship, and solidarity.
With this opportunity to rest, recognise, and reset, I wish to rethink where I situate my attention and energy, and how I intend to dig deep and build.