I CONFESS: He smeared my name and my country’s
THESE DAYS THERE is the craze to put all your personal business into the public domain.
The use of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and all the other social media ways of highlighting yourself and what’s around you has certainly caught on in Barbados.
We are clearly no different from people anywhere in the world who follow what the stars, the influencers and all those whom we like and would like to walk in their footsteps. So, sometimes without thinking, we are uploading and posting things which may seem bold and fashionable now, but which can become nightmares a few years from now.
I am now a social media junkie, but can nevertheless speak to the dangers of too much exposure.
I am now in my 60s and many years ago lived a carefree life, as anyone in their late teens, early 20s and even into their 30s would be wont to do. But because I did not know better and trusted people, I suffered later on in life. I cannot say how important it is to be careful and cautious. I speak to my children and grandchildren almost daily on this issue. I believe wider society to be my children and grandchildren. I would not like to see anyone suffer through foolish actions. But, it seems as if it is ordained that folly will occur.
Flashback to 40 years ago as a youth in my late teens. I was anxious about the future. I had just finished school and landed my first job. It meant the world to me. The money was not much, but suddenly I could do a number of things which previously eluded me: more shoes, more and better clothing and even save a little money.
I had lived in a closeted world to that point. I knew nothing of the cinema, the drive-in, going to a restaurant. My world was church, spending times with my relatives and a few friends within my district. I was innocent and naive.
I remember meeting a guy at the bus stop on my way to work and we quickly got to exchanging pleasantries. After about two weeks of talking he invited me to the cinema. I was excited and accepted the offer. We enjoyed the movie and simply talked and had a friendly association afterwards.
The next time he invited me out he had a car which belonged to a close friend of his who was a student here like him. We went to the drive-in, my first time to view the movies this way. One thing led to another and we ended up in an intimate relationship.
The relationship did not last, and I felt hurt and dejected, as I expected things to go according to the script in the movies. It would be love and a never-ending relationship.
He moved on and I moved on. I soon developed a relationship with another guy whom I also met at the bus stop. He too was a student, being on a study break from his job overseas. This relationship developed into something special and extended, if you can call short of two years such.
We became intimately involved and I visited his homeland. I was introduced to his family and even stayed with his brother and sister-in-law while there. His parents were Christians and neither he nor them felt it appropriate for me to stay there. I subsequently learnt that given my poor background, the parents were scrutinising me rather carefully.
They had visited Barbados and had friends here and apparently on checking did not come up with my family as being part of an established family.
The relationship did not end like the movie script I expected. In fact, it moved from being a love story to being a horror movie.
A lot of what we experienced together, and what today some brazen young people would want to post on the Internet or YouTube or some other aspect of social media, this former lover took to broadcasting by word of mouth.
He sullied my reputation. I got to realise many years afterwards, when a woman whom I knew from visiting the guy’s homeland and indeed marrying another fellow from there saw me at the airport in Miami, Florida, where we were in the departure lounge waiting to get to Barbados. She indicated that I looked and seemed happy despite the fellow having broken off with me.
Actually, it was the other way around as I had gone into another relationship. I did not understand why after so many years I should look dejected and unhappy. However, she told me she was unhappy having had a horrid time with her husband and had recently [at that time] gone through a divorce. I, on the other hand, was, and still am married.
During our extended talk she related what that guy and his family had to say about me. But the part which hurt me was when she said her husband, while cussing her and pulling down Barbadians, would always refer to me as an example of “wutless Bajans” and spoke of the things I did. She related them; some true, mostly shameful on reflection, but much of the talk was coloured with downright lies.
But this was the picture painted of me. My rejection of what was said, the allegations made and character assassination could not be changed at that time. I just imagined then and to this day how many people would have the wrong and tainted view of me.
I am a confident and assured individual. Much of it has to do with my husband, who has been very supportive even with the knowledge of what took place many years ago.
One of my sons lived in that country where that former boyfriend still lives. My son was there on a work assignment and his wife and young daughter were also there. I remember my husband and I visiting and his hosting a get-together for a few work colleagues and people he had met there.
When my son returned to Barbados about two years later, he indicated that he had a very hard time. He said people told him some awful things about Barbadians. He vowed never to go there again unless for very brief work assignments.
He said someone sent him pictures and wrote him letters about Barbadian women. His father asked him if not about Bajan men. He said never, except to say Bajan men were generally stupid.
My son never explained. I never asked anything further. I can only speculate.
Thank God, my entire family remains close and tight-knit.