Ok, so let’s get vulnerable. There’s this thing I have known for a while but hate to admit... I worry I’m hard to love. I know I’m easy to fall for; undoubtably. I’m gorgeous, I’m resilient, I’m highly intelligent, I’m very loving and caring. I’m the epitome of who Maya Angelou referred to as “a phenomenal woman”.
But you see, it is that which causes me some anxiety. I worry I might be too much sometimes. Perhaps it is my childhood and even present day experiences with the women in my family that constantly tell me “you’re too much” “yuh mind higher than yuh baxide” – essentially the Jamaican way of saying you are too ambitious. Can you imagine? Why would anyone ever say that? Why would that be a staple in our vernacular??
The remnants of colonialism shows up in such microcosmic ways that we often overlook them. It could be explained by the fact that our enslaved ancestors felt they had little hope, perhaps they felt it was pointless to dream??
Since moving to Canada and making Nigerian friends they have often joked that back in their home country it is often said that Afro Caribbean people were the “lesser” folks of their society that got sold into slavery or used as payment to end local wars. It sounds offensive, but I think there might be some truth to this belief. It is likely that my ancestors were slaves even among our own people. For to have such downcast attitudes to dreaming big cannot have come from only 5 generations ago. It is a deeply rooted belief among my people.
I remember celebrating when I earned good grades to go to what is considered the best high school in my parish and when I went to my mom shouting and dancing she said “a weh yuh a gwaan suh fa? Guh sidung and stop do yuhself suh” 13 years later and those words still burn.
Why would she say such a thing? I despised her for it. I’ve been an excellent student all my life. I’m an amazing daughter who has never been celebrated by her mother. She has never expressed her pride; verbally nor otherwise.
This pain, this disdain, this lack of pride and faith in self ends with me. The generation that will be birthed from me will never question my pride in them. They’ll never hear from me that their dreams are too big. Never.
They say that when trauma happens to an individual one of two things happen – they either continue the cycle of trauma or they live so intentionally so as to end that cycle permanently. I chose the latter.
Dear mom, God knows I am still trying to forgive you. In writing this, I let go a little more of that hurt. You owe me so many apologies and whether or not I ever get them, THE CYCLE ENDS WITH ME.