Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Displacement for the Always Already Displaced

Eight more days of transit, and I can't wait to arrive. The importance of journeying notwithstanding, a combination of stability and uncertainty might be better than having your goods in two or more places. So many split selves.
This is the longest relationship I've had with a house outside of my parental home. Just over four years is not a long time, but encompassing my transition from a shaken twenty-one year old girl to a more realistic and self-assured person has been a significant shift. It may not be the rosiest period of my life, or the most memorable s/pace, but it has been meaningful in its own right. Its space has allowed me to experiment, to fail, to stand up again and to celebrate with good friends. It has given me room to manouevre around my own developing self, which I'm sure will continue to grow and learn.
The comfort zone established by this house and its radius has also generated a spatial inertia over the past couple of years that I have been craving to move beyond. I only have to shop in a new supermarket or buy coffee from a different cafe or drive down an unknown street to feel alive and adventurous. The hassle of un-cluttering and financial-physical-psychological stress aside, I am looking forward to this change. It is a small step towards tangibly letting go of a past that once felt like a giant leap. Lest I forget, changing countries/continents is a bigger ask. How could I have come to fear displacement? It is not the absence of roots, but an excess. A potentially constructive, creative excess at that. The Always Already Displaced need not be detached entities floating amoebically in deterritorialised discourse, we should feel at home everywhere.
It annoyed initially that this change beckons just as I am approaching a full draft of my doctoral thesis, and a not too distant submission date. However, my time management skills were probably in need of a force beyond control of this magnitude. And my intellectual-emotional energies, narrativising the project in the final chapter, were also possibly clamouring for a more recent, more embodied experience of displacement. This is not to say that the previous displacements have been forgotten, only that they have become souvenirs. A notebook here, a t-shirt there, and some furniture to deal with. Also, there are the episodes that have been consciously erased. Tears and troubled waters are now being mingled with hopes and dreams. A changed external configuration, an altered path of everyday existence may or may not make a difference to old habits that have turned into hindrances. But this time I'm looking out for light, not for ample space. If I can open my bedroom blinds in the new house, I will have let the outside in, the inside out.

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