Where is Home ?

Where is Home ?

Everyone should normally have a place to call ‘home’, right? Well… when you live in the west without having western ancestors, western features and a ‘western’ skin tone… the answer to this question becomes… complex.

But before going too deep, let me set the scene for you 🤗

As-salâmu alaykum, I’m Dia. A 28 year old muslim woman. Originally from Senegal, but born and raised in France. Okay, I’ll give you that, the answer shouldn’t be too complicated as I only have to choose between these two countries to answer the question. If only it were that simple… 

Let me explain. In my short but not so short life, alhamdulillah, I’ve been asked a lot about where I’m from, usually by people that don’t look like me. When they ask me ‘what’ I am, I automatically and confidently answer “French”. But then, as their confusion becomes apparent, they either question me further or the discomfort from their reaction makes me go into more detail.  “Oh, yeah, I was born and raised in France but my parents came from Senegal which also makes me Senegalese, I agree”. They now seem satisfied with the answer, so the subject of conversation can now evolve. 

Why do I instinctively answer that I’m French, you could ask? Well, this is the country where I’ve always lived, the country I know best, the country where I have most of my people and landmarks. Indeed, I’m not caucasian at ALL but, are Caucasian and French interchangeable? This is not how I see it. To me, France is a melting pot. This is the image I have of it and this is one of the reasons I enjoy living in this country and why I call myself ‘French’. Which is legally correct. On paper, I am French. So why do all these people seem so concerned when I tell them I am? Oh, right, I’m black in a culturally white country so I must be something else. And, I am something else. I am Senegalese and PROUD to be! Some people could think the contrary when this is not the first answer that comes out of my mouth. But I’m grateful for my origins, my history and my genealogy. I really am proud of being part of such a beautiful country, with it’s incredible cultures and principles. 

By the way, I’ve been to Senegal several times already (as a matter of fact, I’m planning to go back again in a few weeks in châ Allah) and I always enjoy being there. Among my family, among my people. When I’m there, I feel like THIS is the place where I truly belong. Not only that, but in Senegal, everywhere I look I see people that look like me 😄 But… since being white isn’t all that makes a person French, to some people in Senegal, looking alike isn’t enough to call me Senegalese. As a matter of fact, to some, even sharing blood isn’t sufficient to call me Senegalese. And I’m reminded of it every time I visit. By who, you ask? By the very people I go to visit. To them, I’m not Senegalese enough. What am I even saying? To them, I may as well be white. Guess what they call us, those of us who are originally from Senegal but born and raised in the West? They call us ‘Taiwan’ as in ‘made in Taiwan’ as in a replicated copy of the original. It has the potential to be heartbreaking but it is so funny I actually don’t mind 🤣 Plus, we have a name for them that tickles them a little, so I guess it’s quite fair. We call them ‘les blédards’, which translates to ‘someone from the bled’, ‘bled’ being any place in the world where your people come from but where you don’t live. Usually found in the southern hemisphere.  

So…where is home? Well, home is ultimately wherever I feel like it is, no matter what people around me think or say. Home is here and there, there and here. Home is where I feel like I belong. And I’m a woman, subject to change in hormones and moods, remember. So, in conclusion, I have my final answer and I think I have the best of both worlds. I get to chose where home is and I get to chose when. And I’m deeply grateful for it. All praise is due to Allah. Alhamdulillah ❤️

-Dia 💕

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