IMAGE: Belonging

I’m on an intercity train, bound for Galway but for now still stationary at Heuston. My cloth mask is on, the air conditioning is gusting, a child in the row ahead of me is listening to noisy cartoons through headphones, and elsewhere a group of sunburnt young ones are loudly discussing nipple piercings. It’s a time and a place for basking in the moment.

Does it still count as holidaying at home if you never felt at home in Ireland in the first place? I moved back here three years ago to start my transition. It made sense at the time: beginning a new life by returning to the source, taking on fresh vulnerability by returning to a place that almost felt safe.

I assumed it would be a temporary arrangement: that I’d get myself in order and then go off somewhere else, emergent from my shell, the world my proverbial oyster. Perhaps that’s still true, but I’ve been given time and space (mostly time) to think about my relationship to Ireland while stuck here this last year and a half.

The full piece can be seen in the autumn 2021 print edition of IMAGE magazine.