I guess that means I have not really settled down yet

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I left China to Singapore 2007 and after 12 years later I have established my own family with my husband who is from Australia with our two kids. Though living in an Asian country, I do feel missing home all the time or rather compare things against those back home or anywhere I have been to. I guess that means I have not really settled down yet. And I don’t know where I will be settling down in the future.

A phantom that inhabits me wherever I go

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I am in the cafe and veil myself in the proficiency a cup of coffee and a laptop presents. Today I am ok, but I have dragged displacement about me like a weight or like a phantom that inhabits me wherever I go. Only in the creative process of my work is this distilled and centres me like an internal compass, and I transmute the phantoms in the act of being an artist. I am the daughter of two migrants, each from separate countries who both fled or were war damaged. I was born in England but moved to Ireland over 20 years ago. I have negotiated 4 cultures now but belong to none. I look to what dissolves these boundaries that people are so fixed on. When I make work, I am exhilarated, it is the only thing that dissolves the unbelonging I have felt all my life. The atmospheric silent invisible treacle that can bind me is also dissolved when I meet others like me and it has taught me to find a meeting place and empathic listening in all people I encounter and somehow people give me their stories. It’s like I have been an atmospheric barometer all my life to work out the nuances of what is going on. This habit comes from being a child in situations where you are having to learn ways of being other people have embedded in them from being born in a place of belonging. I try not to dwell on displacement anymore, but it is a dwelling, it is where we , the others, dwell.

Love people - even the 'hard-to-love' ones

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I have educated myself out of a pattern of 'fixing' others, wanting to please others and into a space of self care, with compassion for self AND others. I have overcome bullying and discrimination in the workplace, made many friends along life's path and disconnected from the toxic people who have come across my meanders. I am eternally curious, love learning, love people - even the 'hard-to-love' ones. I savour the many simple moments of joy in a day, and seek to create and share more of these with others....life is too short to be bitter or miserable.... there are times of sadness usually the loss felt when love of someone so strong has died....and there have been many... I don't wish, I dream and do!

A world without borders is what we should strive for

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

Originally from a small town I have mostly lived in big cities in many countries all my adult life. I carry with me memories of inspirational people from many places and an awareness that now more than ever a world without borders is what we should strive for.

I believe that I am finally home

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

I have traveled the world to find my own self. I believe that I am finally home.

It marked me forever, being different

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I crossed borders literally and metaphorically. Before EU my biggest fear was immigration police. I have encountered them and I had luck not to get into trouble on multiple occasions. But it haunted me in everything I did, it marked me forever, being different, not being allowed to do things as non national, as an alien. I made the journey to change my life and I did, but fear always followed. Being told' this is my country' by a native, being told I cannot do certain things because of an accent marked my psyche.

I was getting used to the sound of explosions

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I left my country because I was afraid I was becoming insensitive to violence. One day, I went to my regular bus stop, and a corpse was lying on the floor. It was very early, there were not many people out on the street. I just waited for my bus.

Then it hit me...something was wrong, and I got scared I was getting used to the sound of explosions and the news of massacres. To me, dying from natural causes meant being killed. I needed to remove myself from my beloved country because I still wanted to feel.

I didn't fit in with the culture of my parents or that of those around me

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

Growing up to Indian muslim parents in the UK always meant that I didn't fit in with the culture of my parents or that of those around me in the UK. It's always been difficult to fit in with others and I've always felt that it's an ongoing struggle, though am now comfortable to know I'll never fit in and to be content with that.

A print of myself into your memory

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

When I am down. I fall deeply down. I mope in my thoughts. Sometimes I confide in someone. Sometimes I keep it to myself. Last time I used to vomit out the words into my diary. The thing is, I seem often happy. Really, compare me to any other more unfortunate people around the world lacking in food, water and shelter, I am considered well-off enough. I do not need to worry about the next day and how I can survive. But yet, sometimes I feel down. I've seen more than one friendship that I've had fading away in front of me. And sometimes (maybe because I don't necessary ask for it) , I wonder if I mean anything to anyone. If I am gone one day, will I be missed? Will they just mourn for me until a month or a week is over and put it aside in their mind? Why am I here again? Is there a reason I was born? What if I am actually unneeded? Then what is the point? Is my life meaningless? Those questions are the reason why I try so hard to leave something behind to show that I existed. A print of myself into your memory. A good deed done for a random stranger. Reaching out first to help people. But then again, the things you do for others, they might not always remember. They move on with their lives. And that is just how it is. But what can I do? For now, I don't really know. Because the future is uncertain, although I wish there was some way to know.

I wasn’t planning on it, but we fell in love

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I had just gotten out of a very serious relationship because I wanted to travel and he could not understand that. I was traveling and felt like I had figured things out - I was going to explore and after, move to my home city, start working there and “settle down”. Then I met this guy and everything changed. I wasn’t planning on it, but we fell in love. We did long distance for a bit, I moved to be with him in London, and then we moved to start a life together in Singapore. While this was not how I saw my life going - I’m happy that I was open to the new path and I’m so happy I went on this unexpected journey with my now fiancé, future Husband.

The vast and unexpected mountain that is life

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

It was my 30th birthday, and while I have had some or happiest times in Singapore, it is occasions like this where the absence of friends and family from your home country is felt most deeply. It’s as if I could feel each and every step of the 10,800 km that separates you from the home in which you grew up in. As I sat up on my bed, and walked across to my kitchen, my girlfriend was instructing me to go back into the bedroom. I had no idea what was in store for me. She soon called me back into the living room, and said: “I have a very special day planned for you my dear, all I ask is that you keep an eye on your phone.”

She did not disappoint. Over the course of the day, I received 60 different video messages from friends and family across the world. I was overwhelmed with happiness. It’s as if at that point technology had help us overcome those 10,800km, and I was sitting at home in my family living room opening cards and sharing laughs all together. It turns out my girlfriend had spent the preceding weeks contacting each and everyone of the people closest to me, and asked them to send across a message. While it was the videos that brought about that moment of unexpected happiness, I cannot underplay the thoughtfulness of my partner in bringing about this moment. Her actions bring me moments of unexpected happiness each and every day, and I feel so grateful to have this person by my side, scaling the vast and unexpected mountain that is life.

I felt unimaginable joy as I descended the hill

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I climbed 2700 ft up a hill in Yorkshire. Ingleborough one of the highest peaks in The Dales. At the top I saw a huge steel cage. Locked in were Ravens and Blackbirds. Scattered on the floor were dead new born lambs for the birds to eat but no water. I went up to the cage and saw the sad eyes of the birds. I felt great sorrow. In an instant without thinking I went around the cage and saw a panel that could be moved. Suddenly my small body filled with strength as I pulled at the panel of steel bars. With all my might I strained and shifted the panel just a few inches. The birds flew to the gap and escaped flying upwards. I shouted ''be free my friends'',  as they circled above me. I felt unimaginable joy as I descended the hill. A small Robin Redbreast followed behind me for a long while. Sweetly singing as if to thank me. I discovered later that farmers trap Ravens to protect newborn lambs and also feed them dead lambs that didn’t survive birth. I still feel the joy I felt when I see Ravens.

It would be striking up a conversation with a stranger, where I would share that instant chemistry with and enjoy their attention, connection and the impromptu friendship and vulnerability.

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

It would be striking up a conversation with a stranger, where I would share that instant chemistry with and enjoy their attention, connection and the impromptu friendship and vulnerability. That gives me an unexpected happiness - as it gives some sort of hope that this conversation and acquaintance could grow into something more? A guilty pleasure/confession is feeling very satisfying, watching people who offended me and hurt me get their Karma pay-back, which always makes them suffer x10 more than what they did to me. That makes me happy and scared of my own self at the same time. The other confession is that there are some guys that would come across to me as intelligent and arrogant and hard to get - I like to use that chemistry I have with them and act completely uninterested and cold - other times low-key flirt - and just play with their minds. I need to stop doing that though.

All I can see is shadows of past dreams and windows gloating at me

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I was once sure of what I wanted, when I was a child. But as I grew up, I realised my options grew with me too. So I tried to narrow them down to a few routes. And I started walking on those routes. And so, I walked and walked even as the ground started to feel more bumpy and I started regretting and doubting. Was it because, I really wasn't as good as I thought? Why did I feel stumped the more further away I went and my shoulders heavier with the weight of doubt and insecurity?

When I was young, whenever I felt downtrodden by my failures, somehow I had the drive to go on. In the past, things were clearer to me, which road I would take and not look back. But now, I look down and the road has stopped. Countless times, I have looked back, unsure of my decisions. Now I am blocked by my own fear. I see people far away, achieving greater things yet they are so much younger than me. I know it doesn't actually matter the age as long as you keep trying, but with each tick-tocking, I feel rushed. Rushed to not disappoint my younger self, to reach somewhere, to achieve something. As the time passes, the sound grows louder and faster. And yet, I find myself on a standstill. Turning back from where I am, I no longer know where I want to go, the directions in my mind are a jumbled mess. What am I going to do now? The roads are no longer clear to me. All I can see is shadows of past dreams and windows gloating at me , the success that seems unreachable, that I didn't try hard enough. That I wouldn't make it anywhere. That I am nothing. So I close my eyes and try to sleep these feelings away.

I am in love with someone who is not married to me

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I am in love with someone who is not married to me. He makes me laugh and he gives good advice.