The Island Alien

On Indian Arrival Day and Identity

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Once again, this time of the year comes around.
And once again, I have my thoughts on it.

Indian Arrival Day always fills me with bittersweet thoughts and a sense of loss.

We commemorate and celebrate the arrival of a large percentage of our current population. Our history would be so different if the East Indian indentured labourers had never come. Trinidad and Tobago would be a different place entirely.

And yet, this day just makes me think about my confusing feelings of identity. I don’t know my ancestors’ names. I know that my mother’s grandmother came here as a child on one of the boats. But which one? What was her name? What about my mother’s father’s grandparents? What about my entire father’s side of the family? I don’t know what I am, and though that might not seem important to some, it is something I struggle with often.

I think about how history is written and recorded. How it is twisted and changed. I think about all the labourers who were denied passage back to their homes. The ones who were bribed and lied to. I think about what it would’ve been like for them, living on barely enough rations, with only enough money left over to buy rum. Where do you think the association between Indians and rum comes from? In a time where depression, homesickness and loneliness were rampant, how else would they ‘heal’ the pain?

I think about the effects of colonization. The pain that still remains. How the white men told the Indian workers that they were ‘better’ than the African slaves,who were dirty and stupid, and how the Indians believed them because at least they were getting ‘paid’. How the white men tried their very best to keep the two races separated, instilling hatred and fear in their minds. I think about how that racist mentality still runs rampant through this country.

This day needs to become more than just a day to eat curry and dress up in pretty outfits.
This day needs to be a day of healing. A day when we can acknowledge and heal from colonization. A day where we hold workshops on dealing with pain and mental illness. A day where we can work towards undoing the racism between Indians and Africans that only exist because of white men.
When will these things ever happen?

So here I am, stuck in the middle of people celebrating all around me. Wondering if I’m having too many thoughts, or too little. Wondering who my ancestors were. Wonder how I can pay my respects to them properly on this day. Wondering if T&T will ever be able to get to a healing start.

The Island Alien

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the last showing of “Takdir: the greatest true love story of Indian Arrival”, a play written and directed by Victor Edwards and researched by Shamshu Deen. It was a wonderful experience. The play itself was beautifully written and directed, the actors were brilliant, the set design was amazing, and the music was breathtaking. 

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On being a Chronic Job Quitter.

I’m starting a new job soon (yes! A real job!), and boy am I feeling that anxiety. Everyone gets those nervous and anxious feelings about any big new step in their life, right? But here I am feeling double the anxiety and nerves, since I’m just a generally anxious person to begin with. All I can think is ‘I really hope I can do this’ and ‘I wonder how long I’m gonna last this time’. Cause let’s face it, I’m a chronic job quitter. Do you know someone like this? Lasts about a few months to maybe a year, then quits and moves on to something else. That’s me. For me, it’s not because the job itself gets difficult. It’s either it gets too monotonous and I get bored with the routine, or I get really fed up with the environment and my coworkers and it starts affecting my mental health.

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life update & toxicity

Oh man. I’ve been thinking a lot about too many things, recently. I feel like that is a thing I say too often. I can never calm this mind. There’s always a thought brewing here, an idea fermenting there, and several dreams and desires frolicking around somewhere. My brain can’t be still. I don’t know what the art of focusing means. The art of avoidance, though? Well, I’ve perfected it. I am the master of distracting myself. I do it so well, that recently, I started learning French instead of facing the things I have to face. Yes folks, I am just straight up learning to speak a new language. And that isn’t something easy, especially for me. I am terrible at learning languages. But here you can see the lengths I will go to, to avoid thinking about something that hurts.

I feel like my thoughts are all over the place. It’s just one of those things about me. Hi, I’m Julie and I’m a completely disorganized, disastrous mess of a person. I do online courses for fun, I start and forget countless DIY projects, I can barely finish anything I write, and I try literally anything to distract myself from real life.

So what’s been bugging me so badly that I’m currently on a quest to become bilingual? Toxic people.

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my mothers

mothers.jpg

The moon is my mother
Raised me up from the ground
Caressed me in her glow
Fed me with her energy
Taught me in her ways:
Humility, reverence, growth, beauty

The sea is my mother
Filled me up with her salt
Secured me in her depth
Nourished me with her tide
Taught me in her ways:
Freedom, peace, fearlessness, beauty

Dated: 28/06/2017


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On weddings and tradition

“You can’t date till you’re an adult! No boyfriends allowed!”

*sneaks around*

“You can’t do that in my house! Not under my roof!”

*“Okay, well I’m 21 now, I wanna get my own place!”*

“Move out?? Why do you want to leave??? Do you hate me????”

*finally leaves home at 24 after finishing school, etc*

“You’re 25. Why aren’t you married yet??? When will I get grandkids?”

Do these scenarios sound familiar? If it’s something you’ve experienced, I empathize. I am Indian. From the Caribbean. Specifically, I’m West Indian with East Indian roots. These are my parents. Overprotective, overbearing, strict, traditional, conservative. I have a question for them that I could never ask them. “If I literally just started dating because I was raised so strict, how am I supposed to get married now and have kids?” Now that’s considered being rude. But honestly, what do you expect from me?
Now, this isn’t exactly my situation, and it might only be an exaggerated version of most Caribbean young adults’ actual life and relationship with parents. But why is it someone can look at this and laugh along? What is with parent’s strictness, then overbearing expectations on their children, especially their daughters?

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