Trinidad is Not a Place

It has been two years, two months and two days since I’ve last published a blog. So long that I’d actually forgotten the URL to this blog. And the log-in. To my own blog.

Incredibly aptly, my last post began by admitting that I have a tendency to drop off the map in just this way, specifically because – feedback aside – I have a hard time believing that my self-appointed role as Captain Obvious is at all necessary.

But that’s not why I dropped off the map this time.

I stopped writing because I lost my voice, figuratively speaking.

I went through some things. Unpleasant things. Things that I didn’t want to write about, because I could barely talk about them. And while I went through them, I pulled into myself. I marshalled my strength in order to push through them and I turned away from the issues of the day. But I didn’t become oblivious to them.

While I dealt with my own struggles, I watched my nation (and the wider world) struggle through things I couldn’t wrap my mind around. As I toiled, I watched out of the corner of my eye as this country (and the world) took giant steps backward, as people lined up to treat each other horribly and I knew that nothing I was seeing (and nothing I was enduring) was happening in isolation. I knew that all of the ugliness was interconnected because it was all stemming from one source: Us.

Y’all, we’re gross. As a species, we are nasty and selfish and pretty damned stupid.

And, generally speaking, we’re not much better as individuals, either.

It’s the only thing that can explain how we can want people to care about our own struggles while we couldn’t care less about anyone else’s. How we can line up to apply for visas to countries that don’t want us while simultaneously trying to deny entry to people who are fleeing horrifying conditions in their own countries. How we can cry over children mistreated abroad while turning a blind eye to the children right here who are falling through the cracks (read: chasms) in our own decrepit systems. How we can stand in solidarity with international movements designed to uplift the downtrodden while we applaud State-sanctioned executions of our own disadvantaged.

We’re idiots.

I know we’re idiots because if we had a single iota of common sense, we’d realize that we’re each directly responsible for improving life on this island, on this planet, via the ways in which we interact with each other.

Yes, it’s trite, but consider this: we spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about/lambasting the government, the police, the healthcare system, the education system, customer service, etc. as if these are living, breathing, sentient organisations focused solely on inconveniencing us in particular. What we miss is that these organisations are made up of people.

They’re made up of us.

WE go to work each day and do the bare minimum, well aware on some level that we’re screwing someone else while doing so. But we don’t care.

WE are the indifferent doctors, the apathetic teachers, the callous police officers, the lackadaisical ministry employees.

WE are the problem.

I have to believe that we know this in some sense. That we make no real effort to address it is an eternal confirmation of the old aphorism “We like it so”.

But I don’t think we do. I think we’re stuck and I think we’re drowning.

And we’ll continue to drown, until we recognize that Trinidad is not a place.

It’s a people.

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