Strange Times

Aleisha Blowers

My sense of belonging has been in limbo for two years,

And I don’t think it’ll ever change. Backwards and forwards between two homes, It’s all a little strange.

Where do I belong? What do I do?

At this very moment I can’t go home, Back to my mother, my father, my brother. But this isn’t my home, I’ve moved out remember.

I’ve been inside for two months,

And this doesn’t feel like home anymore. Not without someone behind each bedroom door, It’s all too quiet.

But when I’m with my family that doesn’t quite fit either, The feelings have shifted, it’s not how it used to be. Not that it’s bad it’s just, Different.

My sense of belonging has been in limbo for two years,

And I don’t think it’ll ever change. Backwards and forwards between two homes, It’s all a little strange.

(Written mid-May 2020)

Home, to myself and many other students, may consist of two places: Home-home and University-home. Since moving to university, my sense of belonging has become slightly hazy. Sometimes, both or neither ‘homes’ feel like ‘home’. This feeling has amplified over lockdown, which I’ve spent in Norwich with one out of six of my housemates; before returning to my Home-home (respecting the guidelines implemented by the government, and the safety of my family) after hand-in. Not only was I torn away from my relatives for two months, I was also torn away from my university-family.

Spending lockdown in a big six-bedroom house, things become a little too quiet after a while. There were no sounds of bathroom taps turning on and off, no opening and closing of doors, no footsteps above my bedroom ceiling. The house that has become one of my homes for the past two years, was too empty and no longer felt like home.

Now that I am back at Home-home, the contrast is bizarre – not having to climb three flights of stairs to get something to eat, and always being around people who were not my university housemates.

Whether you have been living in a house for two or twenty years, there is a certain form of nostalgia that comes with reminiscing about the memories made there. When life hits you with something so drastic and critical (i.e. a global pandemic sending us into a national lockdown), it is hard not to reflect and dwell on the past, when our future is so uncertain.

I am constantly taking in the similarities and differences between my two homes, and how significant each home is to me. I have decided to submit to Storehouse with this piece, in relation to my interest in documenting life through photographs. The photo set displays a pair of photographs, the left side taken in Norwich and the right side at my family home, with each set capturing the same activity taking place in different locations.

I understand that I am very lucky to be able to move to-and-fro between both homes easily. I know that many others live too far away, to spend a weekend at home during term time. Despite the convenience, no one ever tells you how truly difficult it may be to find a sense of belonging. Constantly moving between two places, coping with the fact that you may never truly feel settled.

Words: Aleisha Blowers, Fashion, @a.j_creative_

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