A good friend told me that I just need to be more brave, and say exactly what I want to, just write the truth. And whilst this has always been my aim, I realise that some of our deepest truths are hard to articulate; more than expression they require courage and commitment. For me, I find it hard to just out and say things because what I feel and have to say tends to go against the grain of society – made up of people – I know it will rub people the wrong way. The reason this holds me back is not so much to do with what people think of me, but rather, whether they will leave me if they knew what I really thought. It’s not about whether my work will be popular – for I share what I have experienced and reflected upon -that is my duty as an artist. It is about whether they would still be friends with someone who lives in a different world to them, lives life differently to them – advocates for change in the society that they call home. Perhaps I feel I am challenging their reality, and I feel bad. But not as bad as feeling as if I have found some answers, clues to a deeper sense of meaning, happiness and fulfilment in life that we’re all searching for, and keep my mouth shut. I am not good at keeping secrets. Not ones that the world is meant to hear. I see it as sharing my blessings.
Having arrived back in England because of the lockdown situation, I just can’t keep quiet about what I have learnt and witnessed and felt. The restless feeling is so strong, now more than ever. When I hold it in I become anxious. And having had a considerable journey with anxiety, I know now that when I get anxious, a certain kind of anxious, it is because I am not telling the truth to myself – I am resisting my true feelings about something.
Changes: new projects, new attitude
Up until now, my works, my words have been quite polite, considerate and diplomatic. It’s partly my nature, and it’s partly not wanting to offend; it’s partly developing my skill of expression and it’s partly the way society and culture has taught me to be. Recently I have been experiencing an aspect of myself that is more aggressive, raw, more wild; less tolerant to offense, unaffected by the appearance of stature or authority, louder, bolder and stubborn when it comes to telling the world what I see from where I stand.
And where do I stand? I stand with feet dancing between city-life, a country home and a small one bedroom with no bed apartment in the Caribbean. I flit from sophisticated to tribal to well-versed to natural. I wake to paradise and I wake to privilege, but they exist at different sides of the globe. These worlds currently do not overlap; there is a discord between them and I feel it in my belly, I see it in reflection. I notice it through fluctuating sleep patterns. This disturbance pushes me to write; find words to fill this breach and to understand it, because I want my worlds to meet. We are humans, we are supposed to be one, have a similar existence; yet the life I have led over the past couple of years is the life of at least two people. No wonder we do not understand each other on this planet. It has taken me until now to simply understand myself, and to stand as one person in both worlds instead of letting each world change me. Both are of me, so instead of choosing, I want to bring them together. The only way to do that, to be me, is to tell my whole truth – and trust that someone wants to hear it, that someone is listening and that what I have to say matters to my sisters and brothers in the world.
Please join me:
All of this to say that I am starting a new series of writing that is not held back. For now I’m calling it Essays of a Rebel Writer, though it is likely to change. If you would like to receive these essays then please subscribe to the Essays of a Rebel Writer mailing list (it should have popped up on the page!). This is the only way to access these works as I am not posting them on social media or publishing them any time soon.