As I sat peeling away the burnt skin off my thigh in long strips, revealing the pink flesh beneath, I promised myself I would not cry. I curled my left hand into a fist, fixed my features into a stoic mask and only allowed one or two ‘firetrucks’ and ‘mother-containers’ to pass my lips. (NB…it hurt like hell -_- ) My husband gazed at me in awe, proclaiming me the most amazing wife: brave, strong and tough as nails, since the world is a tough place and he was glad to know his wife could ‘handle it’.
And I was proud. Proud to be declared tough and strong, “My wife”. So I told the story to my mother and grandmother, who both responded, “Because you are MY child!” And I was proud again. To be claimed as the child of such women of strength is definitely something of worth!
The next morning, as I peeled the stuck-on dressing from the night before off of the raw flesh of my thigh, I reflected on these comments. Isn’t it interesting that as we construct our personal histories, we try to do so in a little vacuum? Years from now I will reflect on this memory, saying how strong I was, and how much pain I was in, using it as a lesson to my children about how this body should never limit you, not in pain nor ability. And in other memories I will acknowledge my pains, pleasures, mistakes, moments of love and hate, and I will speak of the things I have come to learn on my own. In my own little vacuum I will construct a personal history that forgets the persons and circumstances surrounding my growth.
And don’t we all do it? Tell stories from our perspective, guessing at or otherwise ignoring anyone else’s input, or not thinking that perhaps this lesson that we learnt may have impacted on or have been influenced by some other person? How many times do we remember the person whose one word or look or gesture led to our achievement?
This is something I have learnt must be developed in our psyche, not just gratitude for the things done for us in the moment, but a lifelong sense of appreciation to each person who has impacted our growth and development into people worth the salt we are made from. It is my opinion that no matter how successful we are, how rich we are, how beautiful we are, how (insert adjective here) we are, we are nothing if we are arrogant enough to think we have accomplished all things on our own. No man is an island, after all.
Also, in light of election season, it is interesting that political parties are quick to build themselves up and break others down, disregarding the achievements they have been able to build upon. Every five years we do not just recycle persons in power, we recycle ideas and policies, building on what has come before. There is nothing new, just things re-worked, re-worded or re-vamped! We must ever look to the past to adjust the present and assure our future. So why fight each other, when we are supposed to be fighting the inherent problems Trinbagonians face continuously? Stop the race sex and gender talk, and let us begin with the issues!
So, cognizant of the fact that it has taken a village to raise this child, here are my thanks to all who have contributed to my growth thus far.
Ase. Amin. Tat sat.