Varia Williams: The good life
What is your greatest childhood memory?
Two words that best describe my childhood are “bare” and “sport”. When I think back on my youth, one thing is undeniable and that is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many good and not so good memories come to mind. My first Kadooment Day at nine years old was bare sport, running ’bout with my brother Khevyn and turning everything into a competition was bare sport. The school plays, cadets with my sistren Alex Jordan, everything about the Railway Building at Queen’s College – yes, bare sport.
What is your most fabulous moment?
Becoming a mother really makes you stop and rethink all the former fabulous moments. Somehow standing ovations, getting called to the Bar, receiving the art prize in second form, travelling to Africa and India, swimming with dolphins and Oscar nominations (slipped that one in) seem a little superficial and self-indulgent. But really, I think my most fabulous moment is yet to come – everything before has prepared me for it; I am ready now.
What keeps me passionate is . . .
The children in my life keep me passionate. Every single one of the Mustardseed Kids brings me great joy – especially the newest member – the three-month-old Zindzele. I do love working with children. Their imagination, youthful energy, limitless potential and general silliness is inspiring. They make me laugh and keep me wanting to learn more and to be better.
My biggest regret is . . .
There are many things in life for which we should stand up and say aloud “I disagree! And here are my well-thought out reasons”. I walk around with many such objections and opinions in my pockets. My biggest regret is not being more of a front-line activist. Not writing more scathing letters to the editor, not demonstrating more in the streets, not being more of a revolutionary . . .
The person who has made the biggest impact on my life?
Probably my mother – almost every day someone lets me know how much I am like her – which is lovely and problematic at the same time. I mean, who wants to grow up to be their mother, really? But she’s the person that has most influenced my sense of community and conscious living, also my free-spiritedness, my rebellious nature and the silliness that is always just under the surface.
A life-changing moment happened when . . .
Sometime in 1997 when I was in between my degree and going to law school, I made an active decision to take control of my life. It occurred to me that I was skating on by, accepting mediocrity for fear of failure and just making choices by processes of elimination. In 1997 I decided what
I wanted to do and who I wanted to become. It was truly a crossroad I was at then. I decided that I would in fact go to law school and finish my legal qualifications, I would act in a play,
I would sing a calypso (which I haven’t done yet), I would follow my dreams and I would take over the world and claim it as mine.
My most treasured possession is . . .
When I was travelling to Namibia to teach a Drama-in-Development course to children in rural districts, they didn’t speak much English so I had planned to use a lot of music in my work – it being the universal language and all – I didn’t know what music to carry so I brought all of my music with me (no iPod). Transiting through South Africa, my music was stolen. When I discovered it was gone, I cried like a child, like if my mother had died. It was a lot of music! Anyway, that experience taught me not to get attached to “things” that can be stolen, destroyed in a hurricane or burnt in a fire. My most treasured possession now is Zindz, my son.
How did I ever exist without . . .
My cellphone. My cellphone is my office. I can’t fathom how I was walking the earth before without being connected. Oh, and a Tardis (time machine).
What I love most about myself now is . . .
Perseverance. My ability to make it through these questions without once slamming the laptop shut and cussing the universe for the time spent which I will never get back astounds me. I love me! No, but seriously (thanks Alex), it’s got to be my charming sense of humour!