We are the same, no matter the island, we share the same foods, cultural beliefs, religions, and languages. Yes, some may speak English, Spanish, others French but Caribbean people share a bond that began long before a ship dropped Africans along the chain with its native people. This I believe is why it never matters the island, I always feel a semblance of home when I am anywhere along the Caribbean Sea. This same desire and longing for those like me is why my natural gravitation to Puerto Rican, Dominican, Jamaican and anyone from the Caribbean was normal. Spring Hill was full of families from the northern states, especially New York, New Jersey and Michigan. They came for the great weather, non-existent crime and the ability to get a house with a pool for a fraction of what a house cost up north. Everyone had the same type of parents, rules and food, I didn’t need to question the norms because they were the same as my own.
My actions and new friendships were another betrayal of my blackness. I was told that I only love “Spanish Niggers” fact is, I love all types of Niggers since we talking, but the ignorance of the misinformed led them to believe in order for me to be “black” I should make my association with black American Floridians a priority. This I simply would never understand, black is black, brown is brown, where a person was born is a non factor, and why was any of this important anyway? Why was I being harassed because of who I chose to associate with? I didn’t have to explain to girls why my mom said no, their mom said no as well, I couldn’t spend the night out, they couldn’t either, if they didn’t know your parents, and trust you wouldn’t get molested, it was a no! I also didn’t have to explain my food, I knew if they came to my house they wouldn’t turn their nose up at the pungent smell of curry that I seemed to carry wherever I went. They didn’t call me an African booty scratcher which I still don’t get because how could I not be black enough, but be African and since we all have an ass, yes, it requires scratching.
So once again, Nyri, who does nothing but try to fit in, attend classes and find people who understand what a good pot of peas and rice tastes like, is once again shunned, now for being friends with other children from the Caribbean because they were Spanish niggers. Glad I stayed true to my feelings, and did not destroy budding friendships and romantic encounters simply behind the jealousy of others who didn’t know me, and decided to pass judgment on a culture they did not seek to understand.
What they didn’t know was that I already struggled with my own cultural awareness and insecurities that stemmed from feeling like a discarded child. Being born to a Jamaican father who I closely resemble and see my face in his other siblings, yet I have no memory of him ever being a part of my life. He has a large extended family and siblings who have a plethora of pictures, but I can’t recall speaking to him once or ever seeking to know my plot in life or if I was even alive. Yes, I had a dad, a great dad, but that never quiets the voice that whispers that you are somehow not enough because you had a parent who didn’t care to have a hand in your life.
My mother, as I got older, seemed to be self absorbed in her own emotional issues, without ever a thought about the many trials that her own children experienced based on her decisions. I had enough shit working in my brain, I didn’t need teenagers trying to isolate me for simply gravitating to the culture I grew up in, music I enjoyed, foods I ate, and friends I chose. I have always felt like a square peg, and here once again, I felt like I had to start over in what felt like a new country, a new school and with codes of blackness I have yet to understand.
Much love from the brown girl, sharing short stories for Blogtober! Keep writing, even if no one is reading ❤️