7th of June is a special day to me. It's particularly special this year, since it's the last day to register to vote in the EU referendum. But more generally, it's the anniversary of when I first moved to London - as of today, it's been eight years.
I was 18 years old and didn't really have a plan for when I packed my bags. All I knew was that I was moving to London, and I couldn't wait. Without being able to articulate it or even being aware of it, I'd never really felt at home in Sweden. I grew up in care and had moved around a lot, and somehow it always felt like there was a thing about Sweden everyone else simply knew about or had been made aware of, that I hadn't. I just couldn't connect, and in no way did I feel like I belonged in Sweden or that it was my country. My relationship to Sweden is complicated to this day, though finally feeling as though I've got a home - London - has drastically improved it.
My lack of belonging in Sweden ultimately meant that it was as though I wasn't part of the social contract. I couldn't see my adult self ever work, study or live there. That wasn't the case with London. In London I could reinvent myself. No-one knew about my messy childhood, or that I'd been a bullied outsider for most of my life back at home. I could turn into me, and finally felt that I too had the prerogative to challenge people of authority, certain situations and understandings, and everything in-between. I went to university, which I doubt I would've done in Sweden, and I now work in my chosen profession that I absolutely love and don't think I ever would've felt entitled to approach had I stayed in Sweden.
In short, London turned me into me. It allowed me to break free from the past I hadn't chosen for myself, and let me choose a much brighter future. I seldom entertain the thought of what would've happened to me if Britain hadn't been part of the EU, and I hadn't been able to move over. It's safe to say my life would've looked completely different, and I doubt for the better.
Today marks eight years since I first moved to London. It's also the final day to register to vote in the EU referendum. I can't vote, but if you can, please make sure your voice is heard. If you haven't yet, please register here: