I’m learning to embrace failure as a part of my growth, my process, and my progress. It’s not a setback. It’s not a step back. It is part of the process. It is necessary and welcomed. I want small failures. Yes, you read that right. I want them. Failure is a tough teacher, but it is a sure one. It can make or break you. So I welcome it. If a small failure in my path deters me from continuing, then I was never going to make it to the end anyway.
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.
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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Hey everyone. This post is dedicated to those who find it hard to remain compassionate to others when there is a lot of tension at work. If you’ve found yourself thinking about others as being very distant from you, or if you’ve been feeling cold toward your coworkers and even your loved ones, this is the post for you!
Personally, in times of struggle, what I try to do is focus and let go of my anger. I think that’s a normal thing people deal with. I want to make sure I can keep myself in check during those moments where too much is being asked of me and I feel like I’m about to snap.
When I was 3 years old, I started singing and dancing. I was obsessed with music and Indian culture. I was told by many people that I had a ‘natural talent’ for singing. I spent the next 12 years singing in competitions, appearing on television, and starting writing my own songs and thinking about the type of music I wanted to create. Eventually, I was told that these things were “hobbies”, and I needed to focus on a more realistic goal.
Dear 20 year old me,
You are so tough. I wish I could be as tough as you are. Somewhere along the line I think I lost some of that raw nerve you had. I mean it’s not all bad, don’t worry. I’m pretty sure you’d think I look cool. I still have wildly coloured hair. I have 7 more tattoos, and a couple more piercings. Yeah, I know, totally rad. Job wise? Eh, well. I’m looking I guess. I was going alright there for a bit, you know. It was pretty okay. But I think I’m taking a break and going back to trying to “be happy”. I’m sure you remember what we used to want to do in life. I’m trying to realize those dreams once more. So I’m back to the drawing board. Literally. I’m drawing again, can you believe it?! And I’m painting, crafting and sewing. But, oh no. Please don’t be upset. I barely sing anymore. And I definitely don’t perform anywhere. I haven’t given up! I’m just….waiting. I wanna finally make my own stuff, like you wanted.
There are things about you I wish I still had. How are you so fearless? I have terrible anxiety every single day. Some days, I can’t even leave the house because of it. I wish I could figure out how you do it. You’re the strongest person I know. I think about the things you go through and know that I wouldn’t be able to do it myself. You are so funny and charismatic. But I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to hide everything like you do. You don’t have to mask all the bad stuff. There are people in your life who genuinely care about you. Don’t be so guarded. I know why you do it, and I know you feel you have to, but your true friends will help you and remain by your side. They’re still here. They’re proud of you. And so am I. I am so proud of you.
I love you,
25 year old you.
I’m going to be doing an entire series of these, to various ages. Stay tuned.
Also, I invite you to join me!
We’ve all heard this proverb. And if you look it up, I’m pretty sure you’ll see it’s described as something along the lines of “family relationships are stronger and more important than friendships.”
But did you know that’s completely opposite to how it was originally intended? The original phrase was “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” and it meant that blood shed by soldiers on the battlefield are stronger bonds than simple genetics. Continue reading
Too often I have scrolled through my Facebook or Instagram feed and have seen a multitude of posts surrounding the concept of toxic people. Specifically, on staying away from toxic people and protecting your peace. But what if you are the toxic person this post is speaking about? Why do we believe that everyone else can be toxic, but not ourselves? It is very common to both want to protect yourself from other people’s toxicity, while simultaneously being a toxic person yourself.
Are you offended by this? Do you find yourself thinking “oh no, not me. I am definitely not a toxic person.”?