Ayrïd Chandler

Brief for Open Call on Home: There are physical and metaphorical places that give meaning to the word ‘home’. What does home mean to you? How does it inspire or manifest itself in your artistic practice? How has your idea of home and your identity been challenged, misconstrued, and/or transformed over time?

Wrong Home

“Why you eh stay in foreign? What you come back here for?”

It’s been 10 years since I returned to the country where I was born. My navel string definitely bury here. There is an invisible chord tied loosely around my ankles and wrists that keeps me anchored to this piece of land.

I just moved to my 10th dwelling, I can’t call it home just yet. When I was a child, I grew up in a bungalow development plannings in Couva, a townhouse sharing walls with each neighbour, left and right.

One. By my 11th birthday we moved to town, to “better”, a 3-storey house, incomplete and empty, to be filled with something. Two. Divorce and darkness drive us out. Three. Eviction. Four. By 18, I was off to college, the privilege of being an only child in a middle-class family in the early 2000’s, oil money still booming the economy and making things affordable. Five, but it don’t count. Back in that piece of land those chords didn’t even have to pull me, I came running, arms outstretched, ready to feel the warmth of her bosom. The renting cycle begins with my first roommate/friend/sister. Five. Feeling grown and ready to be on my own, move to my first solo abode in a not so safe neighbourhood. Six. Desire for companionship growing stronger than desire to pay affordable rent. Human male companionship not found. Canine male will have to do. Seven. A second attempt at family, second chance at Two, hope bottled up with dog in tow. Eight. A search for comfort, security, a cocooning of sorts, selling everything in search of home. Nine. Realistic intentions, space to live, love and entertain, space to be, space to share, the end of a solo longing. Ten. Ten places to call home, seeking that warmth that you read about, that you see in your favourite sitcom, that you are conditioned to associate with where you rest your head at night.

I have searched for that feeling all of my life, my fondest memories still at One, and I’ve concluded that home is this land. My nomadic lifestyle does not allow me to claim one house or apartment, not even a person does it for me. This land. There is an energy in this place that I cannot find anywhere else. It is where I belong. It is where people understand me and I understand them, even when our words don’t make much sense. It is where a nod speaks volumes whether respect or warning. It is where our chaos becomes a thing of beauty, our lack of decorum is us being our true selves, no BS. Where you can walk the streets and never feel alone. Where creativity oozes out of our very being and the lack of respect from authority just makes us scream even louder “Look meh!”. Where a man will cuss in a bank line, frustrated with the system, go to the corner shop, drink a beer, and then go about his business because this is home and he choose this and he accept that reality and so it is. This home not pretty, it not picture perfect, it not spik and span. It have all kinda shit in it, but the shit make you appreciate the good parts even more. You work hard or hardly work all week long and then on the weekend you celebrate like it’s the last weekend of your life, and then you repeat the cycle all over again. Here we don’t care who you are, you get what you give. Every day is a new day to try again.

“Why you eh stay in foreign? What you come back here for?” Foreign have nothing for me. It have comfort, opportunity, and ease but it just as empty as Two, it lacking the soul, it too perfect. I love my land. I love the ugliness, the way we live, the sweet hand, the mix up ness of it all. I love being one of us. The way we don’t care about anything, but care about the neighbour pickney who not feeling well. We are walking oxymorons, chindian, dougla, and everything else in between. We hate each other, but we love each other. We not made for a politically correct world. We are so incorrect. And it’s beautiful. We are beautiful. I have to love us, because nobody else will.

What are some racial misconceptions / ignorant remarks people have made at you, about your culture or your identity?

  • Corrupt
  • Backward
  • Ugly
  • Lackadaisical
  • Lazy

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