Higglers

The play set in the downtown area of Kingston provides the life that most higglers in Jamaica experience on a daily basis.

We are first introduced to Girlie who we can assume is the leader of the turf that she shares with Pearl and her nemeses Tony. Girlie who shows dominance in the group we later find has a troubled past. Where she is exposed to the harsh realities of life of an unfaithful father who shows no remorse for his exploits with her other nemesis Devine.

One could go further to assume that the name is a reflection of who she really is. A woman who like many other women is capable of being a softer version of herself; once she meets someone who treats her well. Fast forward to the current situation where she finds comfort in an abusive relationship with the bad boy Trevor. Who also is in relations with her friend Pearl and other higglers in the market.

Her responses are another example of her defence mechanisms to survive in her environment. Such instances are her convenient devotion in the morning to ward off evil spirits, her dismay of lost clients with her stinging answers and her childish behaviour at another higgler’s attempt to win customers. In which she gets rowdy and when she’s not able to get her way calls for her man Trevor. Who is her defender when she feels overpowered or like any woman can’t get her way.

Her friend Pearl may be considered the peace maker of the group as she does her best to cool down the area when when things get heated in the brawls between Tony and Girlie and other conflicts that may arise. Though she is the more subdued of the two, she is able to lure her way in the view of Trevor to be tricked into thinking that he is the only one for her.

For these two women, they represent the time when Dancehall was the new ‘in ting’ and image meant everything. As higglers your appearance can help to draw the crowd. One thing you learn from them is you have to be sweet with your words or else you loose the customer completely. By extension, not only are their words sweet but sexual appeal is what helps to get them selling. As they appeal to the egos of the men and women that traverse the arcade.

On the flip side you’ll be met with negative utterances that are just defense mechanisms for the potential sale they would have. These utterances are examples of the pride they feel working as higglers. Your decision in preventing a sale is impeding on their time to make money. An example of this is with Girlie’s interactions with Devine. Who is unable to understand the fact her husband Tony  truly enjoys his job in the arcade. As her thoughts are clouded by the assumption ( which later turned out to be true) that he wants to see Girlie.

Tony on the other hand provided a different perspective on selling as a higgler and this brought a wave of magnetism with it and he honed his craft. As he observed his crowd and made his findings worked for him.  This level of thinking we learn at times may cause those around us to resent us. As we are above their level and in a sense ‘show dem up’ on their inabilities. Unfortunately some of these disagreements turn in dangerous situations that may not only involve the aggressors but also their families and friends.

With the love situation that ensues in the play; Tony is Girlie’s night in shining armour. Her recognition of him after she was robbed is evidence of this. They later realized that the disagreements they had were barriers to a match made in heaven. Soon after Girlie’s behaviour changes and just like a happy child her perspective of the world changes.

Girlie represents the many young girls that live in our system who fall victim to many forms of abuse. Who have to  wear their body armour to defend themselves from the evils of this world. Unfortunately, not all women are blessed to meet people who are genuine and partners who treat them like a lady should be treated. They find themselves in a cycle that is repeated by generations to come. Until we decide to work for higher heights and strengthen communication and represent our peers. We will always feel sad, dejected and mistreated by the system. A system that if you’re not careful can kill you- literally.

The Misidentification of Man

I was given the task of taking care of my younger brother, the house and my education at a young age. I was always a quiet child taking solace in my own time. This made me a significantly domestic young man. My first encounter of discrimination was when I was a child when my brother and I were younger. We were being introduced to my step father’s side of the family. My step father looked at my younger brother and said

“here is my son” and said to me “this is Troy (which is my nickname)”. My mother just stood there and accepted it, that I was just Troy… at that moment I felt that I was being misidentified.

Having saved my mom from suicide twice, had saved me from self sabotage making me altruistic. It was sort of a wake up call… With acts like that, it gave me the rite of passage as a youngster growing up. Staying up late, going out with friends-the works.

On the other hand, my orientation became the concern of many as I was not interested in a girlfriend did not want one. I was labelled as the girly nerd, because I was engrossed in books rather than manly things. Men are respected for having masculine abilities.  People did not see man, they saw a girly, quiet, too distant man in the form of a boy. Society had it switched.

In high school, I was able to set my mind to working  hard and making my family proud.  I am good at anything I put my mind to. In my school environment it was no different, teachers considered me to be narcissistic in first encounters and I had this sarcastic manner about it. I was not respected until they saw my grades.

Everyone in my family has some amount of disrespect for me because I’m different– I’m considered a disgrace. I’m too intelligent because I know stuff. I have to be gay.

Recently I took a taxi, I usually walk with a knife and whenever I’m entering taxis I take it out and have it close to my side, to avoid people saying that it’s sticking them. I was in the taxi, and there was a guy, who had on a really good pair of shoes that he wore well. I was staring at the shoes and felt him looking at me- I looked like a cruff then. I looked at him and followed his eyes, he saw my knife in my hand. Apparently I forgot to put it up. I asked “are you feeling threatened by me now?” He said “slightly, but hearing you speak. I know that you are not like the others”. Meanwhile, there was another guy who was at the front screwing the whole journey. Why? Because the guy with the shoes was gay. I was only judging based on his dapper shoes.

The scholarly definition of Respect is an epistemic virtue. Respect to the common man is relative and often times feelings are attached to what people see. I see Respect from the very root of the word. To look  at something clearly for what it is and not to attach your views or feelings to it. To see it clearly as it is in its own right and not in any predisposition.

 

***Name withheld to protect Identity

Are you Prepared?

As young adults we often try to find ways to establish some level of independence making it meaningful, adventurous and sane at the same time. However in my time here on this earth I’ve noticed that many persons are ‘kicking the bucket’. It’s inevitable but it hurts when it’s those close to you.

My question is; how any of us have taken into consideration things like investments and savings and both life and health insurance?

Recently, schoolmates and family members have departed this life and it had me thinking; did they put things in place, making life easier for family members who would have to deal with their belongings and funeral arrangements?

We are at the age where we can apply for these things. Instead of thinking about when the next big party will be have you considered putting aside that money for a life insurance plan? For your own place? or even if you still life with family, your own monetary contribution?

Though it’s good to have fun and enjoy the life that we are living, it’s also good when we can have these things in place to safeguard your future. I know many persons will say that it would be hard to maintain and they don’t now what to do or where to go. Use the time to consult a family member, friend or even visit one of these institutions and search around for clarity. I believe that as we age, these are things that we should contemplate, making life easier not only for us, but if something should happen, our family can relax a bit.

I remember watching my family sort out funeral arrangements for my grandmother, though she was a stalwart in her community, if she did not make the necessary preparations, we would have issues laying her to rest. This is not only about death; say you’re on your way home and someone tries to rob you and you get hurt in the process. If you are not covered by an insurance plan or even have the money to cover the costs to see a doctor. How will you receive assistance?

Yes our family can help, however at the end of the day, they all have their own issues to deal with, and eventually the help will stop.

Nothing in this world is given to you.

As a young adult, I implore all persons my age, older and even close to it to consider these things. If you have already done so Big Up Yuhself, but there’s nothing more than being able to help yourself, making life easier for not only you but others who are also affected by your actions.