If you are a familiar reader to my blog then you would know that last year summer I decided to branch out from the regular beauty blog posts into more insightful, reflective blog pieces. I felt it was a way for you all to get to know me a little better as well as for this platform to be a therapeutic vehicle. I came about this topic via courtesy of my Youtube channel. As some of you may know, I have posted a few “Accent Tags” on my channel – which has illicit its own unique comments; on one particular video I noticed several comments regarding my “ethnicity”. This has sparked a debate amongst a few viewers and I found some of their comments to be thought-provoking, “She’s definitely White, her skin is as White as mine”, “no, she’s obviously Indian”.
My initial response was to reply to these comments quenching their curiosity; however it dawned on me how irrelevant my skin colour was…why was this a debate? And further, what if I am neither one nor the other but a combination of each? Most importantly, when has skin colour ever come into play in being Trinidadian? As some of you may already know (should not be a surprise since my accent is Trinidadian) that I was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago – I had a modest upbringing filled with sacrifice procured from many generations which is why I am always humbled and blessed with everything in my life. Coupled with my loyalty and fierce protection of my parents and family; it bothered me despite this trivial debate – that the colour of one`s skin still matters in another person`s eyes?
This discussion prompted several memories when I moved to Canada in my early teens. I can distinctly recall how unhappy I was during those initials years at school; while I was happy to meet other Caribbean school mates, they did not reciprocate that emotion. I was `too white` according to many of them and my ‘accent’ had to be ‘fake’ which was echoed by many as I walked quietly down class room hall ways. I never really had many friends despite my friendly disposition however it never bothered me much, my goal was to gain the education my parents fought so valiantly for me to achieve and to return to Trinidad to live a happy, comfortable life. Returning to the land of paradise is what kept me happy all throughout those years; although high school proved to be the worst of them all.
I was the outlier, an anomaly, I did not go to school dances, or class trips to Montreal, nor did I segregate myself into a ‘clique’ as many do in order to find their identity. I simply kept the company of those who approached me with questions and kindness but I never really reached out to others in hopes of gaining social acceptance. Perhaps unconsciously I knew it was a wasted battle.
In addition, to my lack of being able to be categorized during my High School and University years (based on the colour of my skin), by my fellow country men and woman, I was confronted that I did not do the traditional “Trinidadian” things (in their eyes) which provided further proof to my lack of authenticity. Allow me to elaborate; I did not attend “drinking” parties, nor did I sit on the many laps that were propositioned to me as I walked by; nor did I accept invitations to house parties, or dates. I did not smoke, or drink, or had any interest in it. I liked reading (still do), so you often found me in the library with my head in a book; I liked makeup and fashion so that combination also did not fit the box in which my own countrymen were trying to place me in. I spent my formidable school years learning that I was ‘different’, it was always said to me or whispered as I walked by. It stuns me that all these years later, that somehow I evoke a similar debate……why as humans do we feel the need to constantly box another person in or categorize them? Due to my experience I have always said to those around me; love me or hate me but I’ll always be me. Authentically.