I was chatting to a buddy the other day, we’ll dub him Nig. Now Nig hasn’t know me as long as many in my life but he quickly diagnosed me as quick to anger (someone at work said I was passionate, so here on forth we’ll refer to my temperament and emotional quotient that way). I’m always shocked by the confident assertion of those that have only known me for five minutes that I am a Ragin’ Bajan.
Full disclosure: I have a temper that makes the Big Bad Wolf look like a sugar plum fairy in The Nutcracker (those of who have been following my blog for the last 3 years will know this and those of you personally me, know that I me temper flares quicker than Donald Trump tells lies and once again I digress) but in recent years that temper is reserved for what I consider cardinal sins – 1. any infraction against a member of my family (save a select few that can rot) and especially my mother and Godbrother (upsetting them, will land you with an ass cutting and me in prison), 2. shorting my coins purposely which won’t incite physical damage but I will deal with you swiftly and in writing that will damage your reputation and make you prefer that I went the route of the ass cutting referred to in point 1, 3. any demonstration of hate directed at people based on gender, age and race. 4. poor customer service will send me in to apocalyptic fits, evoking either a thesis length letter and/or an in-person cussing that embarrasses all who are with me (my family can attest to this)
So when Nig pointed out that I was quick to anger, I will admit that my nose was a bit out of place and I was preparing to defend myself as a cuddly, kind innocent who rescues dogs from trees and helps old people across the street but then I had to pause. Firstly fool (that’s me talking to myself by the way) I don’t even like animals so I got the analogy wrong but I have helped a few elderly people in my neighbourhood. But it really made me sit and catalogue some pretty epic moments that have defined my life and my relationships (the things that my friends sit back and laugh about twenty years later):
– there was the time I cussed out American Airlines so stink they gave me enough miles for two round trips to Toronto
– the time I wrote a letter to Macy’s about the Mac counter in South Shore Plaza about the abysmal customer service so I received over $200 worth of free makeup
– the near fight in the grocery store with my father’s girlfriend’s people (steupse)
– the complaint letter about a carnival band in Trinidad that went viral (the precursor to this blog)
– arguing in the drive-through at McDonald’s at 10:58 AM because they stopped serving breakfast prematurely (I mean when you are hungover, this really is unacceptable)
– some of the things I have done in anger, I cannot repeat because I value my freedom (and to be safe, I am sure there is a statute of limitations on the acts of teenage angst)
Look, I did a lot of shit when angered but then I remembered the positive things that “passion” drove.
– letters published in the Boston Globe defending my Caribbean culture in the face of ignorant and misplaced racism about the celebration of Carnival
– getting my mother into the hospital before sepsis took her life (FUCK YOU Carney Hospital!)
– assisting quite a few people get jobs by directing my writing towards a positive goal
– most recently, I used passion at work to turn my rage towards lifting up those who don’t have the opportunities and the energy that I had to insert myself where I wasn’t invited
For a great deal of my life, I have aspired to be a warm, fuzzy maternal figure and sometimes I am. There was a quote I read some time ago that you are who you want to be. But I think the point is there is a place for pushy women like me, women that can use passion to move mountains.
When I was a baby, my mum went to a psychic “Cousin Mary”. Mary told my mum several things that have come to pass. One of them was about me. Cousin Mary said I would go on to be an activist and for most of my life I have laughed at this prophecy because most of my rage has been directionless and without shape. It would wrap itself around whatever foolish comment someone made or blunder our governments found themselves in yet again.
So after talking to Nig, I asked Mummy if she thought I was indifferent about any topic and she said I was incapable of indifference. Mummy Reds is a laid back woman (until you mess with her reality tele, air conditioner and lottery tickets) and can take or leave any argument without sweating. So when she answered the way she did, I felt a bit stung but realised that my inability to be indifferent has a place. My passion, though sometimes it scares me, can light a flame in others but serves as a reminder that we don’t need to be the same and it also serves to remind any of you that if you ramp with my family, I will give you the cut ass of your life.