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I go in for my first ever surgery tomorrow and as I sit here just a few hours from it, I’m anxious, scared, grateful and above all else reflective.

I moved to the USA 12 years ago this July. I was a 21-year-old kid with a passion for exploration and life. I’ve never had a sense of ‘home’ as I’ve found others to. I love Ghana, I love going back to visit with my family but I don’t feel inordinately attached to it and even less so Nigeria. This has meant that in my 12 years abroad, I’ve very rarely had a deep feeling of homesickness. I talk to my mom daily, I know what’s going on with everyone to some extent and I’m living and loving life for the most part.

But tonight, I find myself reflective on what it has meant to live the last decade away from my family and my home country. If I had stayed, would I have a closer relationship with my younger brother? Might my mom understand me better and have a greater acceptance of who I am and view my choices in life as valid? Could I have been one of those people who get to say…”this is my friend since 4th grade?” I didn’t get to see my dad for the last 6 years or so before his death. How did this impact me? My two grandmas who died within a year of each other, I hadn’t seen them in about the same length of time and wasn’t able to go to their funerals. What does that say about me? Did I make a mistake by leaving home to pursue my goal of seeing the world.

I don’t have all the answers hence, therapy. But I do know that while some things might have been better, several things would have been far worse. For one, I would never have been able to come out as a queer woman in a relationship with a woman I love in the truest sense of the word. I would never have learnt how to use my voice and seek my self especially when it does not conform to the norms of my culture. I can say for a fact then, that leaving was the best thing that ever happened to me. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss the idea of what could have been had I stayed. So, tonight, on the eve of a journey never traveled, I am reflective.

I am also thankful. So very thankful for the life I do have, for my partner in life who remains solidly by my side through it all. Thankful for my FRamily – my small but loving group of friends – who’ve got my back and give the best care packages. Above all, I am thankful that I can live with integrity, authenticity and openness.

XOC.