Yesterday, we were on our way to do some food shopping when our taxi decided to take a ‘shortcut’ into the city. This shortcut happened to be in the vicinity of one of the places designated for registering Venezuelan nationals for the purpose of regularization. And, ultimately for them to legitimately be able to eke out a living here for one year.
The queue was inundated with people and had spilled over into nearby business places. I felt an odd mix of compassion intermingled with irk and profound sadness for their predicament and what their coming here could mean for our country. There were so many of them that in my mind’s eye it seemed to immediately dwarf this small island nation’s populace. Since this process began, the daily news reports further allude to the fact that there is an on-going massive influx of those South Americans. There is as yet also many, who have confessed to go on as unaccounted for due to their being holders of improper documentation and / or a criminal entity. As the taxi crept along in the resultant heavy traffic and I peeked at the sea of faces, I could not help thinking to myself that they were boldly taking away from the citizenry the very identity of our nation and in a very big and very blatant way. It is a case of too much too soon.
I understand and empathize with their plight but it is absurd to think that such a small country as ours could ever adequately assist them. There simply is not enough space and resources.. ?? A cursory glance at a world map and yuh cyah even see Trinidad an’ Tobago yet the number of Venezuelans seeking refuge here is growing exponentially and at an alarming rate. I have an inkling that Fridays’ deadline for registration will not deter them from coming here.
I applaud the state’s extending of humanitarianism but it is being conducted in an appalling, ad hoc manner. I suspect though that that decision was mostly based on the numerous ‘bilateral’ energy agreements that Trinidad and Tobago share with Venezuela or something along politically motivated lines. In my opinion it appears they have bitten off more than they can chew. Trinidad and Tobago is already beset with problems. The type and number of crimes being committed is of grave concern, the public health care system seems to be perpetually lacking something and unemployment is rising as both private and public sector businesses seek to downsize or render defunct in light of uncertain economic times. The state of affairs in Venezuela has captured the attention of the international community. Instead of knuckling down and coming up with viable plans to allay the concerns of locals, the nation’s leaders decided that the best course of action at this time is to proffer assistance to Venezuelans..?
Already there have been crimes directly linked to these people, murders to be precise and lets be real – it is no secret that South Americans have incurred an infamous name for solicitation here. That being said, I am certain that there are many good Venezuelans here but T&T is not prepared in any way, shape or form to accommodate a glut of refugees. According to an article I read recently from the UN Refugee agency, when the one-year amnesty period expires- these individuals are not subject to some edict which stipulates that they must return to their native land. What then? Whatever happened to charity beginning at home? Is it not mete and right to safeguard the welfare of your own before making such a grand gesture? I am not a xenophobe- rather a very concerned citizen.
I like rainy days yet even with the prospect of it being a rainy Sunday morning, it was hard mustering the courage to open my eyes and get out of bed. There was present, that fleeting moment prior to stirring that I seemed to be in a sort of trance of utter forgetfulness. It is a peculiar and most comforting feeling. It feels like I am identity-less – a stranger in a foreign land. It feels like my mind has been cleansed of the darkness that otherwise threatens to overwhelm me. In that brief moment, I know what can only be described as a sort of primordial, tabula rasa. I am imbued with sage, innate knowing and unconditional love for myself. I feel simultaneously attuned to something much bigger than myself. I feel invincible. I feel like infinite possibilities are available to me. Me! I feel free. Then I do something stupid as I begin to segue from sleep to lucidity- I begin to panic just a little — who am I? Where am I? Am I dead? Is this a dream? Is this JUST a dream? Then.. I begin to remember it all. It unfurls in an unceremonious flood. Taunting with grave asperity is each thought. I am devastated to find out that the feeling of sheer relief was the product of wishful thinking.. ? My mind begins to wander on my unfulfilled hopes and dreams. One.. by one. At this point- I am thoroughly devastated to learn that I am even alive. There are many things I wish were different in my life. I believe that they will make me happier, restore a sense of vigor and re-establish a purpose for my existence. I take the earthly steps needed to bring about those changes but I still seem to be screwing it all up as evidence of my earnestness in trying to improve my life is just not showing up. It is said you have to be in a better feeling place before things will change but it feels like an insurmountable feat. How do I do that? How can I find a way to feel more good than bad before life improves or even if it never improves? My thoughts run on my father who tried to take his own life once. The memory of him lying on the floor of the little laundry room in a drunken and terrified stupor after ingesting Paraquat is still as vivid in my mind’s eye as it was all those years ago. I see my six year old self, a morbid mix of unabashed fear and curiosity peering at him, worn stuffed toy in hand, as someone rings for an ambulance. I am not proud to admit it but I do think about taking my own life– I do not believe life is a gift when one feels this way. Fear of pain and the unknown are what stop me. Even mundane tasks like the routine I established for myself has now taken on the tone of a labored feeling. I feel like I am immersed in the nightmarish version of Groundhog Day each morning. I. just. want. to. stop. feeling. this. way.
The last time I saw a Sour Patch Kids commercial- I thought that it was cute and quite funny. Sadly afterwards, it dawned on me that that is the stark truth of what life with depression can be likened to for me (sans the malevolence, of course!). It is characterized by crippling lows and slight to moderate highs. Common sense tells me never to slight the importance of a morning routine in pre-paving the day ahead so when circumstances permit, I try to rise with the sun, soak up some early morning rays whilst having a steaming cup of coffee & spend some time in quietude connecting with my higher self. But it is all woefully transient. As yet, I find sleep to be the most potent balm. I have contemplated seeking the help of a professional but am terribly ambivalent about that. Of greater concern to me than financial constraint is the stigma attached to persons even daring to purport that their mental faculty is functioning at a sub-par level. Depression is a mostly taboo topic among people of color and of lesser means. Paradoxically, there is a preponderance of folks here that lack tact & / or derive pleasure in ridiculing others owing to cultural and personal upbringing. Ergo, it is no secret that living on a small island, word has a way of getting around town and hamlet. The latter is more than I can handle as a ‘functioning introvert’ so I hide my mental dis-ease beneath a happy facade. In my neck of the woods, depression is something that is overtly frowned upon – it is something that “some people feign getting because they are too damned happy”, one person remarked. Or, it is just a person being dramatic over nothing.. after all – is n’t life meant to be difficult and you just deal with it? I feel writing as an anonymous entity is as good a therapeutic, emotional outlet as any at this point. So here I am. I am Sumi*- dubbed an endearing eccentric. Logophile. Paradox. Atypical boho. This little blog is being created with the intention of embracing my authenticity with candor despite and because of my shortcomings. Hopefully, it will be a source of encouragement, even inspiration to another.
“Forget the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing. – Melinda Haynes