By Farah Theodore
I am Waitukubuli. Tall is her body. So I have been told. My heart bleeds for I suffer the pain of unrequited love, feelings of helplessness and being unappreciated and even ignored.
I am tall not because of bare genetics, I am a child of the universe born out of the depths of the earth, which some refer to as the pits of hell. My birth was glorious, the result of deep and prolonged anticipation when I burst through the crust of the earth, I was noticeably blessed beyond my siblings…I stood tall and stood out. After my arrival, curious onlookers suggested that my voice be silenced, my vocal cords cut because I sounded different…not like the others.
I am she. Waitukubuli. I am known by another name - Dominica. A name given by my colonisers. I've been taught to value the language of my oppressors for they are the languages of love while my mother tongue was cut off because it was foreign, not easily understood and declared the language of the uncivilised. The damage is already done. I still get weak in the knees when my love says - 'I love you' in French, Spanish, Italian or plain English.
I love myself - at least I think I do. I've forgotten what I look like. My siblings and I have a rocky relationship. What makes me stand out is often used to make me feel smaller than I really am. I feel disadvantaged for my home was robbed of its mirrors and I no longer see myself as I used to. I look to the sky, whose reflection can be seen in the waters around me but my own tears have blurred my vision.
I suffer in silence. The pain is so great that I can barely express it in words, I can only groan. On days when my groans can be felt like tremors, my children cower in fear and call me bad. My clouds send down rain in due season and at times when my soul needs cleansing, I cry in torrents of rain...the downpours make my inhabitants feel unsafe. How else can I express myself? My love is like an everlasting fire burning bright, deep within, it runs hot and cool not very far from the surface. I often find ease in letting off a little steam in my southern parts. They love it too, for when they want a little release as well, they bask in the warm waters of my hot springs that flow from my innermost part. Relaxation is vital, for my pent up anger could lead me to vent, awakening my volcanic nature.
I've been told that I am beautiful. I am hardly convinced for I give freely all that I am, yet it is never enough. Its never truly appreciated for they long for another. Like moths to a flame they are enticed by the artificial life offered by the children of the colonisers. Oh, love can be such a terrible thing to experience, all that sacrifice…it endures much, perseveres despite the pain of unrequited love. I have a deep seated fear, that my love will leave me for another, and his in-laws will visit to enslave me once more, to plunder all that I am and I'm doubtful I can endure another heartbreak for I may surely self-destruct. After all it is in my nature - a rebel at heart.
My hair is my crowning glory - or so they say. It has often been the subject of ridicule. Unlike the others who are generally flat, offering the usual…sun, sea and sand…others who are a bit flat and partly rugged, mine rises to the sun, my rich lush vegetation colors it dark, glistening streams make my curls stand out. The sections with a bit of kink and coil makes it appear thick and full. As proud as I should me, it's not desirable…it's undeveloped, not coiffed, not as sophisticated as the flattened shorelines of the others covered by pale sand. Blessed beyond compare rivers for days, waterfalls, gorges, terrestrial and underwater mountains and volcanoes, hot springs even a champagne reef and boiling lake second to none. An island that stands alone with its islets and bird island. The envy of many, loved by few, object of desire by those who yearn to strip me of my beauty and devour me until I become a memory.
Maybe it was my virgin forests, raging waters and fertility that attracted the natives. I considered them among my first lovers who ravaged those before and whose offspring stood by me when the colonisers arrived. We cared for each other despite our primitive ways and we've endured till now…with the remnants of these Amerindian peoples still living today. I was able to bear more by force for is wasn't long that others were thrust upon me. The dark part of my story…bearing my own oppression and the violation of others. My native people - I have a soft spot for them. Here in the nature isle, that which grows naturally and we consume such as tobacco, herbs, and cannabis were deemed forbidden by those who control us and showered us in the devils juice instead. Rewrote our history and partook of my land and resources while the people were in a drunken stupor.
Still waters run deep. My story is not over yet. The end is uncertain but evil runs rampant…a silent war is being waged and I feel helpless. I'm often visited by nightmares of new generation colonisers visiting my shores once again…this time not with arms but bearing citizenship. If my reputation is worth anything, I am in jeopardy for my character is being undermined by the schemes of the less deserving.
I have a love…young, vibrant and strong…full of hope and whose smile makes the darkness cower with fear. I pray this one is real for I may not survive another heartbreak. I hope this new found love is trustworthy for I will need to set my affairs in order to preserve what's left for my future generations.