Monday, July 11, 2011

Who and Where

This may not be the time and space to discuss who and where, but this represents the crux of the matter. It’s no secret to some, but not all, that your environment influences not just your behavior but your feelings.

I usually think of this when identity issues arise. Maybe it’s just a theory but I feel a schism between my Trinidad and Tobago personae and my New York personality. The former influenced by nationalism and the latter by individualism. I seek to synchronize the two.

More recently I find myself applying the thoughts on who and where to my course of study. If you didn’t know I’m doing Post-Graduate Studies in business. Sitting in the class I find myself saying, this would be fine, were I not here. Needless to say I find issue with the hyper-capitalist ideology underlying a lot of what we have covered so far.

When I first heard Beyonce’s Run the World I found it difficult to relate to it on any level. Then the feminists started slamming it over its misinformed thesis. They sounded off on FB about the injustices women undergo and questioned the impact of countering such a belief.

What I have always felt is that she captures the essence of some powerful female entertainers like Shakira, MIA and even Alicia Keys without losing her own story of success.

Notably, more female leaders have been elected in the last year. Too we continue to see the world of Sports expanding both on the field and in the commentary booth.

Yes, there are still injustices but maybe its like saying because so much of the World is at war, there is no peace.

A friend was visiting from NY last week and that’s always a good excuse to go out. I sometimes need an excuse. We went to Elements 5, a Pride Party at the YMCA. Among the highlights was a cross-dresser performing the very, Run the World. I connected with the song in a way I had not before.

In the Caribbean we dance with our waists, call it wining, wukking up or wotlessness. The gender constructs allow for women to be more expressive than men in the dance arena. An overbeaten argument in some circles but one that is not worse for the wear.

It’s undeniable that heterosocial environments restrict some men’s movements. Lest you want to be thought less than a man then you only wine so much. In Barbados I think you’re safe from the attacks if you just make sure you aren’t in fact wukking up on a man. Not even I escape the entrenched biases against men’s expressions.

Before I lose my point the drag act brought the song to life in a real way. The irony of course being that it was a man performing. I fell in love with the song, though.

In this case, the environment allowed me to connect with the song without having to censor my movements and so I wasn’t oppressed and felt free and something that I had not in the past liked became a source of great joy. In essence it isn’t who but where.

Denzil Mohammed wrote on Naipaul in the Sunday Guardian this week.

My most recent thoughts on Naipaul came after the publication of his biography The World is What it is.

It has been commented on mostly for his admissions of spousal abuse, patronizing prostitutes, infidelity and its generally salacious moments. I wonder if living in Trinidad and Tobago he would have so easily divulged such personal and controversial details of his life?

This is not to question his commitment to the truth or his ethics but more how what is no big thing in some spaces is treated quite differently in others.

The challenge it seems is to, live your life, as some casually suggest, if only it were so easy.

Now mind you, any perceived threat to being who I want to be at any given point is more mental that material. We do know, though, that mental slavery and oppression are real and not things many of us escape. Believing that some do escape means that the who is in part responsible. We too know that travelling and reading, even movies can change our perspective and so again our environment influences who we are.

I do feel free but in a strange way, when I exercise my freedom, I feel as if I'm getting away with something and I have got away with a lot, at least until now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this attempt to create some space for myself in this place.

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