(2) Of all days of the week, Sunday's were my favourite days. For it was on this day, and on this day alone, that the miniskirts and the cropped-tops which spoke to a new generation of female Caribbean sexuality were exchanged for white, knee-length skirts decorated with the most elegant and traditional looking of laces, frills and embroideries. The days where the old wilfully became the new; where large, uncompromising hats of various shades of white, and cream, and gold were taken out of their boxes and allowed to boast religious propriety and style of the greatest degree. I am a proud Afro-Xaymacan Muslim woman, born in diaspora, of Central-Northern Clarendonian roots, and I am in total and complete love with the isms and schisms of my heritage and culture, irrespective of how unglamorous, or simple, or traumatic, or convoluted or uninspiring it may seem from the outside.
(1) I am a proud Afro-Xamaycan (Jamaican) Muslim Woman, born in diaspora, of Central-Northern Clarendonian country roots. My ancestors were hard-working, honest people with an rural upbringing that conspired to take them from Xaymaca to Cuauhtēmallān (Guatemala) to Xamayca to Cuba to Xamayca to Harlesden to Brixton, back to Xamayca; back to the solitary hills of the Frankfield countryside which housed the thousands of Afro-Carib ghosts seated amongst the ranks of the ancestral guides. Their tongues and their hearts ladened with the harmonics of Patois, and Spanish, and Yoruba and English and inner city urban slang. Despite being raised in the concrete jungle for the greater part of my life, the Xaymacan countryside always represented a space of great imaginary potential; a spring of true, genuine and authentic knowledge hidden in the crevices of the sugar cane plantations and the pupils of the spiritual wayfarers who cultivated them. This slow, analogue world of Julie mangoes, and coconut trees, and donkeys, and machetes, and fires ignited on surface of sulphurous waters nourished the deeply reflective, deeply sensitive parts of me with such a profound and unhealthy intensity, that not even I could have anticipated the ways in which my body would go on to reject and mourn every recollection of my days spent in solitude, after the ties had been irrevocably severed. Even now, in this moment, I find myself deeply missing the simple mercies that the Countryside had to offer - the midnight darkness tinged by the luminous bottoms of the fireflies, the malnourished dogs who evoked feelings of empathy and universal concern, and the river Mosquitos who sucked every last bit of fresh, English blood out of me. : @marianneolaleye