..and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Island life is charming..sure. Everybody knows everybody and there are always familiar faces around.
But that all of this comes at a steep cost. A very steep cost as a matter of fact: everybody knowing your business – and all of it.
Mention someone’s name to someone else, and 9 times out of 10 they can tell you their ENTIRE life story: where they come from, where they live, where they vacation, what they do, what their hobbies are, how much money they make, where they hang out, who they hang out with, who they’ve slept with..and all of this before you even ask!
Oh..the beauty of small island life.
This is definitely going to take some getting used to.
You see, I don’t really want to know everyone’s life history. Really..I’m not at all interested. I like to judge people based on my personal experiences with them..,not what they have done in their past, what their parents have done, or what people think about them.. And seriously, doesn’t that take out the excitement of getting to know somebody? I think so.
BUT, at the same time..this extends further than just how easy it is to find out information about people. As someone “new in town” I’m very conscious of the fact that the people you associate with has a lot to say about the person you are – especially in a small island like Trinidad – where people can’t stand to see someone they don’t know without passing some sort of judgement on them. (I once heard that people thought I was a divorcee with two children after seeing me and my brother and sister hanging out on a friend’s boat. Incredible.)
I am ashamed to admit that I’ve thought twice, and sometimes even completely avoided going somewhere or hanging out with people for fear of what others would think..or how it would be perceived. And that SUCKS..like really sucks! I mean, I shouldn’t care about what people think.. Or should I? I mean this is Trinidad after all – reputation is everything. My co-worker summed it up best when he said, “Trinidadian society isn’t about who you know Danielle, it’s about who knows you..and WHAT they know about you!”
Talk about social anxiety.
I’m soooo not used to this.
Coming from the States – where you hardly ever see people you know unless you personally invite them to meet you somewhere – to living in Trinidad.. where you are forever running into people you know – is a huge adjustment. HUGE! I remember the days I used to drive around Miami,, going in and out of different social circles without anyone really caring or judging me for it. I really don’t feel like I can do the same thing here.
Ahhh.. I’m conflustered!!
Do I obey the “unwritten rules of Trinidadian society” or do I break them? I’m still trying to figure it out. I kinda just want to walk the fine line between both and see what happens.
But for now,
Very few people outside of my family know who I am, where I come from, where I lived, what I’ve done, and who I’ve dated. And I cannot even begin to explain how empowering that feels. Especially when you go out and realize that you are probably one of the few people that other people don’t know anything about.
I wonder how long I can keep this novelty alive.