Injustices, noncompliance, and what we’re really doing in Trinidad
My very existence an act of non-compliance. Even if I make a modicum of effort to be in some manner of compliance, it’s like the universe conspires against me being part of the system because I know I don’t belong there as a truly free individual being. I always get booted out. Even my passport doesn’t scan my strawman name properly at customs, and I honestly haven’t done anything to it.
The Zimmerman trial wasn’t simply a distraction; it was a deliberate show; a direct fuck off message to black Americans; a literal continuation of that which always has been. Business as usual.
I’ve seen my father shuttled in and out and in the system; incarcerated for total bullshit and experiencing recidivism because his odds are stacked. Yet he HAS literal actual roots and family in Zambia (when 95% of my paternal and maternal blood relatives live), and could easily create a beautiful existence if he wasn’t so stuck on Western culture and ideals and aspirations.
He wants to tear it all down; sue every politician in the country (including the president), and fight this perverted justice system—which is understandable, and could be construed as noble or revolutionary. BUT! to do so requires the vigilante to operate *within* the system’s own twisted rules…and to incorrectly believe that you can, um, use the system to tear down the system. Uh…
It’s not voting season now, so I can ask: have your votes really given you a voice, or power? Can you have power and a voice beyond a ballot box?
The court will never rule itself out of order! Think a judge will find himself in contempt? Even if you appeal and fight the system to the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court itself has told you repeatedly it doesn’t give a fuck about you. Who are you going to go beyond? Ask the Queen of England or the Pope? By even going to court, you’re admitting its own jurisdiction over you, and putting yourself at the mercy of a system whose loyalty is NOT to what’s right, but “the crown.” Fuck that.
I didn’t sign up for or agree to all these rules; why exactly should I care about or abide by them? Courts, papers, bills, things addressed to YOUR STRAWMAN or creditors calling your phone about VERY SERIOUS MATTERS. Um…change your phone number? Switch banks? Don’t take loans to feel more accomplished vicariously through your increasing possessions?
I mean, yeah, cell phones come with 2-year contracts, but do whatever the hell you want. My Ultra Wireless prepaid service plan is $39 for unlimited everything, plus international call credit, so…what has T-Mobile and their $100 monthly bills done for you lately that I can’t do? Give you a shiny new soon-to-be-obsolete phone? But I digress.
The system won’t self-destruct. Injustice IS its fuel. America is The Ultimate Oppositeland; a circus ring carnival perpetuated on the blood of the Originals who birthed everyone else.
Grand-scale integration hasn’t worked. Peaceful protesting is docile and outmoded. Praying to white Jesus is foolish. Depending on all Black Americans to boycott something, anything? Good luck getting the message out and coordinating a time and date. (Reminder: anything that needs “everyone” to get on board to be effective will be an extremely difficult undertaking.)
There’s the Pan-Africanism option, but maybe picking up and moving to Afrika is a stretch for most black Americans (and the Europeans made it so by design!). Where would you go? How would you just show up and buy land? Ask at the airport? I mean, one needs an in somewhere.
Dread and I are creating something in Trinidad that can enable you to see a viable option in an all-black and brown country that works WITH you, not against. You’ll come and recognize: “WHY was I so attached to that America place, again?” I don’t need all y’all to mass move there with me; I’d just like to share ONE new perspective, and all you have to do is take a vacation!
Yes, your great great grandfathers and mothers sweated and toiled and bled to build this country for free, but to this day blacks hold a stake and loyalty in a land that can NEVER be your friend. It is impossible, because the foundation has been set.
I understand the “Why should *I* leave? My people built this place!” protests to those of us who take flight. Well, your people are *still* treated like worthless field hands, so you have the choice to either a) accept that an inferior minority status comes inherently with American life (not that it’s true, but it’ll appear and reappear forever), or b) recognize that there are MYRIAD other ways of life that are just so much easier.
It’s like being a battered wife with tangible claim to property, but insisting on staying because you built the house. I get the principle, but are the blows and licks worth it?
In truth, I haven’t been in compliance for a long while, and I know that’s why I’ve been able to do what I’ve done in recent years—because I don’t care about the illusory things that many people value.
Your newborn needs a social security number so s/he can get a job when s/he’s 15 and jump on the taxation without representation train? How about demonstrating the sovereignty of entrepreneurship so they can create income on their own terms? You already know retirement-age social security may not even exist 60 years from now; why bet on that?
Does having a 30-year mortgage make you an “homeowner” or does it effectively tie down your entire adult life to a specific box in a specific location…and an obligation to go to work to pay for your box? And then, even after paying for the paper deed for your box, you still have to pay for other box-related obligations or someone will snatch it.
I get it. You’ve invested in some stuff and things (meaning, you’ve signed your name to a piece of paper or ten), so you can’t just do what you want every day. But it’s okay, because you really enjoy your job and receive fulfillment from making your company owner rich for pennies to their dollars. ;)
Cash is mostly useless if it’s hoarded and saved for the “what if” fears of life because there are endless possibilities for what could happen to any of us on any given day. The key is circulation. As long as the money is moving around, it enables us to keep going and build bigger. I mean, my husband and I have built a Caribbean home via $3 packs of incense (among other things) without being beholden to anyone (and, um, without being in the country, might I add!).
Our house has manifested not because of money or loans, but because of an idea, a mindset, a desire for freedom, love, and having a wonderful small circle of like-being partners. In truth, Dread & I have this knack for finding family no matter where we go. Spaces aren’t inherently sacred, but our essences *make* them so.
MY body is the temple.
My home is where my head is.
I’m not really *from* anywhere on this planet, because I’m not attached to any place here. At all.
It’s easy to get tie up, living in America. This is why I leave the place whenever I get fed up of it. It might seem easier said than done, but I’m not bragging when I say creating an independence beyond America has been one of the easiest things I’ve ever done (and am continuing to develop). 7 years of university and countless serving & bartending jobs were way more cumbersome and annoying, only serving to entrench me deeper in systemic trappings.
Dread and I are creating literal liberation from this nonsense for ourselves, and although I know I can’t *save* anyone, I’d love for my life and manifestations to be a catalyst for anyone else who would like to see another way out.
At this time, more than ever, we and other black entrepreneurs can use the support. Everything he & I make is of value, and I’ve learned to be okay with charging people for products and services even when I’m inclined to just give everything away because I have so much. Cash isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it’s a flow of energy which helps other things continue to expand from our cores.
Buy our products. Heck, sell our products here while we’re overseas—the incense speaks for itself and sells with one sniff.
Our home in Trinidad is not just for us and our New Being. It’s to also create a sweet, sacred space for any of you reading this to come and be with us and just BREATHE. I don’t know too many people Stateside who probably know what real breathing even feels like.
It took me some getting used to my first couple times to Trini: “Wait, I don’t actually *have* to do anything?” It freed me up, then, to do EVERYthing.
That’s what I say, when people ask me, “So how’s Trinidad?” It’s FREEDOM.
If you want a job somewhere, you’ll get one. If you want to see your art on the streets, set up for free anywhere you want. If you want to accumulate subjects, degrees and professional certifications, your options are endless and either free or affordable. Need dental work or prenatal blood tests? Come on over and you’re taken care of. If you just want to set up some loudspeakers, play music for the streets, and sell burned CDs, you’ll make a living. People buy. Money circulates. It isn’t difficult at all.
You don’t feel like walking out your door is taking a risk. Police aren’t cruising around scanning license plates, issuing parking tickets or shooting out people’s brains. The most intense police presence I’ve witnessed was a year ago when they set up a roadblock and start pulling over cars (the officers were chillin’ on foot, mind you) that had tinted windows. Heck, the entire armed forces of the country played music in a marching band parade for us last May.
I don’t mean to belittle because perspective is everything, but the crimes and corrupt police that people complain about in Trini are laughable compared to the actual life-ruiner/ender police in Chicago. I actually kind of welcome the Trini cops’ presence; or at least I’m not threatened by them in any significant way. Because we SHOULDN’T be afraid of people in uniforms. Their jobs are to serve US, not be menaces and kill us with impunity.
In Trinidad, whatever you can *think* of wanting to do, you can do it without feeling like you’re battling some insurmountable Goliath entity to your David. People in Trini are wealthy, average, or struggling, but it’s not because of some system locking them out; it’s because they made a choice. And any choice you make, whether it’s lethargy or opening a business, will be supported easily by the universe, and easily supported by the other people around you because they’re used to it.
They won’t say, “Oh, $25 for this bracelet? Can I give you $15?” Nor will anyone turn you away if you live in a shack down de road and come through for a plate of Sunday dinner. Heck, our neighbors would walk across the street to bring me fish broth just because that’s just what we do.
The country isn’t without flaws—NO place is, and we can’t run away from ourselves or internalized detrimental beliefs: they will show up in different forms, as I’ve learned.
Yes, there are the silly newspapers and election/politician dramas, but those are all just mini wannabe versions modeled after U.S./British politics and are just as easy (if not easier!) to disregard when you have a semblance of sovereignty in Trinidad, official resident or not.
I like that Trinis use the term “racial” where Americans would use “racist.” Racial is much more fitting, given that if you find an Indian who doesn’t like Africans or a black who doesn’t like a brown, it’s more of a personal dumbness and beef rather than one group or the other systemically keeping the other disenfranchised over generations. And the white presence is all of like, 1% in the country (nearly nonexistent in our town) and pretty much a non-muhfuckin’ factor.
Yes, people vex and Trinis love to gossip, but you can choose whether or not to partake in others’ personal dramas.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been running away to far-off lands, but I’ve never seen travel as a money drain or a difficult investment. EVERYONE says, “Oh, you guys moved to Trini? Great, now I can come!” …but so far, only one out of hundreds has made the jump. And she came twice is a 30-day period!
But you can do it. One time we paid $539 for roundtrip airfare. You might pay more than that to get from Seattle to Chicago. It’s a simple investment, and once you reach you can just breathe. I ain’t gonna take you sightseeing because our day-to-day existence in Trinidad is an excitement in itself; so different it is from what we’re used to in the USA.
I can make videos, I can write blogs, I can show you photos, but you won’t get it until you feel it. It’s beyond descriptive words, because it’s a different dimension.
The sun has actual vibrations. You bathe in rainwater and will never get ashy. There’s no such thing as organic-labeled produce, because everything just grows there freely without humans having to do that much. You can go to the beauty supply and see 500 different shades of brown makeup as opposed to 2: “Burnt Sienna” and “Cocoa.” Medicinal herbs are in your front yard.
You’ll see that there IS no rush. There will be no dashing across town in a private taxi for $40; you will pay your $4 flat rate and wait until the car fills up with people going your way so *many* people can reach their destinations, simultaneously. Economically-, gas-, time-efficient and more. In Chicago, we’d shudder at the vision of essentially “hitchhiking” around the city or sharing a cab with three strangers—because we’re so disconnected and made to mistrust one another.
We melanated people operate on a different frequency; America has jumbled us up. Trinidad will demonstrate it to you instantly, once you step out of the airport and breathe the air. You will feel how out of sync you are with your natural rhythms (that are still in tune with the motherland, no matter how disconnected you might be). It takes a few days of being in Trini to actually slow down and enter that chill mode; for your mind and body to sync up with your surroundings. It’ll be disorienting and maybe uncomfortable, but the negative vibes need a-purging.
"Their" rules are not your rules. Disregard them; they apply not to you. Let go of false hopes in illusory ideals.
In the wake of the trial’s verdict, if you’re looking for a black entrepreneur to support, we’re not hard to find. Our Crystal Pyramid Metaphysics & Designs creations are all magnificent as you know. We do a lot of wholesale if you’re interested in being a Chicago liason; and the festivals we sell at are usually full of other like-being brilliant artists.
All we know how to do is re-invest in ourselves and the Great Work and the reaffirmation of blackness on this planet—in Trinidad and the U.S. at large. We got the Earth Blues, yeah, but we know how to make the best of all worlds, with the intention of sharing it with anyone who wants a piece. Yes, we have to make peace with ourselves internally, but we can’t forget our own control over many externals.
Again, this isn’t about running away from problems; it’s about recognizing the available playing fields and choosing one of lesser (WAY LESSER) resistance. Just because some were brought in chains doesn’t mean they have to remain. I can deal with America’s madness because I know I can just get the fuck out soon, but so can you. ;) I’m just sharing another option. And if you don’t dip out physically, at least try to, mentally.
It’s about having an opportunity to breathe and exist in a melting-pot universe full of beautiful blackbrownness—the freedom to blend in and be assumed as The One and not as “the other.” To see the possibility of insta-manifestation of thought; to understand that people will like or not like you honestly because of who you are, not your brownness.
Your image and presence is celebrated and appreciated; to dance and drink naked in paint in the streets is your birthright.
If you have any practical ideas to share, reflections, questions, or a business of your own…the lines are open! I know I’m already building with plenty of you but there’s always room for more.