I can’t help but compare my emotions over these places, to that which one would feel over two lovers.
Trinidad is home. I have never known another place. It definitely comes with it’s challenges and bacchanal, but it is home. Some shit might be bubbling in the government one day, and then the next day a Cooler Cruise would make you forget all the curse words you spat at the 7 o clock news the night before. Sometimes it can be unbearably hot, or be flooding outside after a 2 min drizzle, blocking up traffic for a whole day. Then sometimes the road is clear and the breeze is perfect and the radio is playing non-stop Reggae and Soca and you don’t want to come out of the car even after you get to where you were going. I love this country. I love being from here. Not just because it is pretty and exotic (though good Lord this place is gorgeous) but because of the calalloo mix in our personalities and how we live, love and fight. But just like a beautiful lover who you have shared your life with forever, there comes a time where the years of neglect and frustration take a toll. Trinidad is everything, but yet at times, still not enough. As a fashion creative, Trinidad has not fed me with the nourishment for which I have hungered. He has made promise after promise but I have grown tired waiting to see a change. So I strayed.
I went to New York for a weekend, to do another fashion styling course. It was love at first sight. I was swept off my feet and knew in an instant that my relationship with Trinidad was about to face the change I had been contemplating for a while. New York jolted me to take action. This serendipitous weekend made it easy to say goodbye to my one true love; ready to munch on this Big Apple despite all the stories about apples having their own poisons. There is an energy in New York that creatives all agree, electrifies us. I never had to explain myself. People just got me. It is so easy to find your tribe. There is so much activity and excitement and overflowing energy that makes it irresistible. I ran away for a summer fling with the city, but now I am head over heels in love with that place too. I find myself calling it “home” when I speak to my friends there. I am so comfortable there. I feel so much like myself there, as though I have lived in New York for years instead of one short Summer visit. I didn’t want to come back to Trinidad. I bawled and cried in that airport, begging New York to remember our chemistry even if I don’t return soon.
I never expected the emotional thunderstorm that poured over me on my return home to the Caribbean. I thought I was returning to say my goodbyes and pack up shop. For the 2 months I was away, I never really missed anything about the place. I lie, I missed the food immensely, but I could find good Trini food in Brooklyn so I wasn’t too distraught. But it wasn’t my mother’s food. It wasn’t coconut water from a man who chopped the nut in front of me with a cutlass so sharp that I would flinch at every swipe. I came back here and can’t even sleep in my own apartment because the memories are too strong and I burst into tears at the thought of leaving it behind for someone else to live in it. I want to cry over everything. My family has been so amazing to me since I got back, showering me with avocados and home cooked food. My parents have been all over me, making every second and every errand easier and easier. I forgot how nice it is to be spoiled and pampered by Caribbean parents. Everything is debilitating. Every minor detail that I run into here that I don’t have in New York, makes me wonder if the small things matter more. I wonder if I should give up my big dreams to stay in the comfort of my familiarity. Of course I wouldn’t, but I’d be lying to say that I’m not tempted.
Now New York seems so far away. With Visa applications, 7 to 1 dollar conversions and the evaporation of my life’s savings, I wonder if he even really wants me, or if he used me for an ephemeral good time. Will he still love me when I return, or will I go back there and be lost, like the way I felt I was before I ever stepped foot in the concrete jungle.
Trinidad is a place you love more only after you leave and return. Day to day here is not the beach vacation you think it is, but after being away long enough and coming back, it definitely seems like paradise. I’ve been through a lot emotionally, professionally and physically this year. A friend said to me that I’m healing and that’s why it hurts. It made me think of my new tattoo. The shit itches, is a pain to take care of, looks gross at the moment and I don’t even think I want it anymore. It’s kind of the same isn’t it? Our growth and healing periods are the most painful and exhausting times of our lives. I know this first hand, but no amount of experience can prepare you for what it feels like. I know in my head how to fix things, but how does one curb one’s own feelings? Fuck feelings, man. They suck.
Image from menssatorialfashion.com