Happy International Women’s Day!

One of the best ways to celebrate International Women’s Day is to say Thank You to the truly awe inspiring women in your life. From gratitude springs humility and empathy. With these we can grow a more bountiful world for everyone.

In that vein, and to celebrate the diverse awesomeness of Women, The Coloured Collective would like to thank all of you lovely readers for following us. We have met so many brilliant women through this blog.

Also, a few of our contributors here at Coloured Collective would like to take this chance to send out a few shout outs of gratitude.

From Christen James

I was trying to be less cliche than going with my mother, but there is no one else on this planet that I could spend the rest of my life saying “thank you” to. Thank you, mammy, for the very early lesson on being independent. This truly has shaped me into the woman I am today and strive to be. Thank you for your quiet reassurance yet always having the right thing to say, but most of all for telling me that you’re proud of me. I not only aim to be everything that you wanted me to be but also all that you wanted for yourself. I am living my dream by living yours.

From Ramona Wright @mswrightsays www.mswrightsays.com

To Adelaide Smith, thanks for being the woman who made me into the woman I am today.  You raised me with faith and unconditional love.  I love you and miss you everyday Mom (RIP)!

From Lisa Rajkumar-Maharaj

Corinne Hebden, thank you for being an amazing Midwife. You brought my baby into this world and shepherded me safely through the process. Your wisdom, heart and professionalism made an indelible mark on my life. 

If there’s someone you want to give a shout out of gratitude to, feel free to do so in the comment section. We’d love to hear more stories of amazing women.

 

Thoughts from an immigrant Mom

I have these flashes of memory sometimes. They are intense, visceral kernels of memory that, for a singular moment, take me back home. My favourite moments are actually the the most mundane memories. Just the other day, I was talking to my partner when all of a sudden I remembered standing in a big parking lot in Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad. The parking lot is opposite the tennis courts my friends and I would to frequent. For a moment, though standing in my Toronto kitchen, I could feel the gentle Marabella breeze and see the swaying palm trees that line the perimeter of the lot. I could remember smelling the mild saltiness of the air and feeling the exhilarating warmth of a great tennis workout. That memory was not particularly significant. It is valuable to me only because it was a perfectly ordinary day that belonged to another incarnation of my life. Those perfectly normal moments from when I lived in Trinidad – the moments I took for granted for their plainness – those memories are now irreplaceable nuggets of nostalgia.

My daughter is 5 months old now and in having her, I’ve reopened a trove of memories and emotions that I’d long forgotten. When I was young I didn’t think I’d have children. When I allowed myself that fantasy though, I imagined taking my child to see practices at steel pan yards or to play traditional Red Indian Mas in south Trinidad. I imagined pushing her on the swings at San Fernando Hill Playground or rolling about in the sand at Mayaro Beach. Even in my dreams, I find myself thinking about my childhood and the places that meant something to me. Though I’ve been in Canada for a long time, still, the stories of my life are layered onto the most mundane places, in Trinidad. Places where I loved and laughed. But I don’t live there anymore. And in some senses those places no longer exist.

The truth is though, that my daughter will likely grow up in Toronto. These streets will be her stage. I might take her to visit those places. But really? She’d just be visiting. Her story will be vastly different from my own. This is part of being an immigrant. I have not yet made this place mine, but she certainly will by virtue of the fact that this is the first world she will come to know. I wonder about that. I worry about that. It took me 10 years to figure out how to dress appropriately for winter. How in the world am I supposed to guide her in a land that I don’t really know myself?

I look at events across the border and I worry; what if one day she’s not wanted here? I made a gamble by trading community ties and familiarity in Trinidad for freedom and safety from crime here in Canada. What if that gamble backfires and this place becomes more dangerous to her?

I’m encouraged by the new found community here that motherhood has shown me. I’m encouraged by the liberal values that Toronto exhibits. In the present political climate, though my gamble is currently safe, I mourn for non-white immigrants in America and Syrian refugees everywhere. In them I see my own worst fears played out as the caprice of nations sell out human rights and dignity. I wish I could promise my daughter certainty. Certainty however, appears to be fools gold.