There are a lot of different reasons why I left my home country. When I visit my former home (I have very much started to think of this as home now), invariably someone (the old neighbor from downstairs, the lady at the little grocer’s on the corner, or some skeptical co-worker) asks me: “Is it better over there?”. My answer is an unwavering “Yes, otherwise I wouldn’t have stayed.” It was a choice that benefited from a lot of luck, a lot of circumstances and hard work. But never really a choice I regretted.
Sometimes you can see a little light of recognition and a thoughtful “Yes, life is probably easier there.” I nod and let it drop. Am not sure that ‘easier’ would be my word of choice, but there is no point in continuing the discussion. Sometimes a skeptical “But do you like it?” follows. “Yes.” The same pointless discussion.
My personal theory is that it is about a person’s worth in the eyes of others – be it state institutions or random people you meet. Yes, I sometimes get the disappointed “ah” and slight cooling of attitude when I say where I am from. But mostly they can’t tell or by the time they find out, that particular label does not matter anymore.
In all other respects though… I am not made to feel that I am worth any less for any reason. I am not invalidated because of any beliefs or life choices. I am not lessened by a clerk behind a counter. I am not feeling like a nuisance to a cashier. I have not once been catcalled on the street. My new co-worker casually mentioned his engagement to his boyfriend during lunch the other day and no one batted an eyelid before congratulating him.
Meanwhile back ‘home’, a bunch of apes in Parliament refined the paragraph of the Constitution to define family as being based on the marriage between a man and a woman. Three million other folks had signed a petition because they couldn’t sleep at night for worry of who fucks whom. (I honestly don’t think they worry much about love in any form.) All that was done in the name of preserving traditional values, under the approving nods of priestly beards.