Posts Tagged ‘afro-caribbean’

Digging Deeper

It seems like every time I begin one of this posts, I start off with, “It’s been a while…” So I promise I won’t say it this time 🙂

I’ve been thinking recently about my heritage. I was born and raised in the Commonwealth of Dominica (different in location, people and language to the Dominican Republic), one of the lushest  most beautiful, mountainous, forested Islands in the Caribbean. Therefore my heritage includes the Indigenous  Kalinago people (or Caribs) on my mother’s side and the black Caribbean on my father’s side.

Anyway my sister told me about this novel written by a Dominican author- Marie-Elena John- titled, Unburnable.

I finally read it! Why did I take so long?

The book is about a Dominican born Lillian living in America, who goes back to her native land to face the ‘demons’ of scandal and secrets that have tormented her throughout her life.  Now I must say that I the harshest critic of things concerning me, so this book was read without bias.

This book was literally unputdownable! A word misused by reviewers obviously paid to say nice things about a particular piece of writing. I love the way it was written. I’m a visual person, so if I have difficulty imagining what I’m reading, I may (won’t) not finish the book. But it only took me one day to do so. The heart wrenching stories of these three women, Mathilda-the grandmother, Iris-the mother and Lillian-the daughter were very well interwoven.

I think what I most loved about the book was that I was reading about my own. The descriptions of the Dominican Catholics, reminded me of real people and stories from my grandmother-a staunch catholic (or as she would say ‘poto cyatolik!’) in terms of behaviour etc. When Lillian said, “To be catholic was not so much a religious denomination, it was more like at ethnicity” I understood that. When Lillian explained that Dominica was not the same as the Dominican Republic, I could relate to that!  And when the scene of ‘professional wedding goers’ was described, I  did that! So a lot of the book felt relate-able.

My only criticism is open ended finish of the book. I hate being left hanging unless I can make up the rest easily or I can tell, the second part is coming up.  The ending felt a bit ‘hurried up.’ Such a sad story needed a more suitable end. I’m not saying there had to be a happy ending, but at least some closure for Lillian and the readers like me who immersed ourselves on this emotional roller coaster of a book. I Felt the injustice for the Carib people, was sad when Simon wouldn’t listen to Mathilda, disgusted when John saw Iris at the Wedding for the first time. When John’s mother in law and her sisters took revenge on Iris, I had to take some tome to compose myself before carrying on, etc. So for such a deep story to end the way it did, was a bit of a disservice to the book.

However, it’s still one of the best books I’ve read in a while. My Rating: 4 out of 5

So I’ll be doing some reading into my country My Ancestral line etc and will be posting some of my thoughts and findings as they filter through.

I’ll be reading another book based in Jamaica-The book of the Night Women, by Marlon James. I’ll be reviewing that one as well.

 

The year of the butterfly

1 Corinthians 13:11: When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

A few weeks ago, I was looking at myself in the mirror and suddenly the realisation hit me, “you’re not a kid anymore you know Mavia, you’re an adult! You’re a, (ever so hesitantly), woman…”

For those of you who aren’t freaked out by this, I’ll let you in on something else, I was actually 23… only for a few more weeks though.

While looking myself in the mirror, that day I realised that all the time, I had been looking at myself sectionally rather than holistically. For example, If I were to look in the mirror, I’d look only at my face, or only at my chest etc., but not as a whole. I may have had all the adult parts, however, my baby facial features were always so hard to get over. I’ve often heard people make remarks like, “when I look at her I see an 8 year old,” or, “you’re 23?! I thought you were 12!” and these people are serious trust me.

I used to think that having this child-like look was a blessing as by the time i get to 50, I’d look 40 etc.  But I see now that this look is not only deceiving to others but also to myself. Let me elaborate:

  • Everywhere I’ve moved I’ve met people who seem to have this need to protect the “delicate little flower” that is me. Hence people always fought my battles for me to my own detriment as when aloneI couldn’t adequately defend myself.
  • I would be underestimated as to my capabilities and I would in turn underestimate myself.
  • I wouldn’t be taken seriously

But as my 24th birthday fast approaches, I have vowed to myself, not to project this childlike aura I seem to do. I hate change, but change can be good. They say you enter adulthood officially at 21, well I’m sorry, but I seemed to have missed it. So on January the 5th, I’m turning 21 again, symbolically, as I’m really turning 24.

I will change my speech, the way I hold myself, My appearance, the way I think and interact with others, I will defend myself, have an opinion, stop watching so much telly go back to reading more, develop my relationship with God and view the world as my oyster, rather than a jungle to hide in.

My 24th will be my “metamorphosis,” I hasten to add, not like our Mariah. Typically, the word metamorphorsis implies an abrupt change, however, if you notice, all animals, before going through this stage spend a period of time in its previous form, preparing for that change. Likewise, I have been preparing for the occurrence, reading, planning, reflecting, and practising.

Recent events have only confirmed my need for this change and I know you’ll agree when I say it’s time I grow up! Don’t worry, my values are still the same and I have not, “turned back” or “conformed,” I hate conformity. You’ll still recognise me, I’ll just be the grown up, more responsible me that you all still love.

So please join me as I celebrate my very late blossoming into an adult or symbolically a beautiful butterfly.

sin cera

Mavia