I come from country people.
We are resilient, kind, and most of all—resourceful. If you couldn’t buy it, you made it. If it was overpriced, you grew it yourself. In my veins runs the blood of a country bwoy from Jamaica and a pretty brown girl from Guyana. Each knew what it was to fetch water for baths. There were no street lights. Roads weren’t paved. Everyone raised foul and cows. Your neighbor would spank your butt if she caught you being naughty…then mom would give you another cut-tail just for good measure. For fun, children would steal morsels of meat and herbs for outdoor bush-cook. Creativity is a way of life, right down to the way we dress.
It’s not uncommon to see a pastoral, Caribbean woman dressed in what I affectionately refer to a “getup.” It’s the ultimate creative play on vintage wear born out of instinctive resourcefulness. These outfits originated from not always having access to fully coordinated—or even store-bought—clothing. The end result is a mix of floral prints with stripes, polka-dot frocks with flip-flops, and denim tops layered with mesh tanks. When it’s party time, they’d wear lime green pants and an orange shirt. It’s what they had. So, it’s what they wore. And you couldn’t TELL them they weren’t fly. You, see. It’s all in how you rock it.
My rural West Indian heritage has afforded me many strong qualities; among those, a deep appreciation for creativity. On some McGuyver-type levels, country people know how to work with what they’ve got. From scraping together a good meal to getting dolled-up for a wedding, they do what they gotta. And, somehow, the end result is amazingly wonderful.
Shouts to my country people! Big up unnuh self!