You are a first generation, Afro-Jamaican woman living in [[Toronto]].
Nevertheless, you try to be aware of the space you take up and learn as much as you can about Indigenous ways of knowing and living.
You live alone and are also a student in your final year. The end of summer is approaching and you are getting ready to close the lastest chapter of your life. At this time you begin to be introspective about who and what you are and what it means to be who and what you are in the spaces you occupy.
Life is good, you're getting by but every Saturday begins the [[same way]].
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/l4xqfPijezreAy45a/giphy.gif>//Off to the grocery store!//
You reside in a community where many of its members are living on the margins. Grocery shopping is difficult sometimes. It's hard to get food that isn't close to expired so you have to travel to a different grocer in a nicer community which is more expensive.
Everything is overpriced (because the [[cost of living in Toronto]] is so high) but still, you [[browse]].
You feel a tap on your shoulder.
"Hi love, where are you from?"
Here we go[[...]]<img src=https://news.vice.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ViceNews_TorontoRent_v2-01.png HEIGHT="1200" WIDTH="700" BORDER="0">
Source: Vice Money, <a href="https://news.vice.com/story/can-you-afford-to-live-in-toronto">'Here's How Much it Costs to Live in Toronto</a>"I'm from here."
"No, where are you really from?"
"I'm from Toronto."
"No, what is your background?"
"No, where are your parents from?"
This conversation is <i>really</i> [[tiring]].As you try to sidestep this frequent and annoying conversation (that, through conversation, implies that you are a person that does not belong), you answer, "Jamaica".
You are now subject to listening to this person ramble on about how grateful you must feel for your parents immigrating to this country to give you a bEtTeR lIfE.
You finish picking up your groceries and head back to your [[house]].While at home, you begin to prepare for #CaribanaSZN. 2017 marks Caribana's 50th anniversary and you want to see how far it has come. You decide to do some [[reading]] on what has transpired since its conception.
Though Caribana celebrations are a cultural export of Carnival in sweet T&T, you've always felt like it was a positive space where people of the Caribbean and its diaspora can openly celebrate Caribbean identity. But as you sift through the headlines, you remember this familiar feeling of joy and [[uneasiness]].
<img src=http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f46/mdsd02/Screen%20Shot%202017-07-20%20at%2012.34.46%20PM_zpsvngfh2vc.png>Though Caribana is the time for Caribbean folks in Toronto to celebrate self and community, there is a lot of baggage that comes with it: our bodies are subject to heavy survillance, we are used to continue to siutate Toronto as a "[[diverse city]]" and the parade has a seriously bad history of displacment through the constant re-routing of the parade.
All the while, the city has done little to make us feel like we [[belong]].
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/nNXhkcOq5N83u/giphy.gif>Luckily, the city's Caribbean community is very strong. You have friends of the diaspora who feel the same way who have organized spaces where you and others can feel like you're at [[home]].
Source: What A Bam Bam, www.whatabambam.splashthat.com
Source: Toronto Star, <a href="https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/07/19/black-experience-project-exposes-canadas-big-lie-mochama.html">Black Experience Project exposes Canada’s big lie: Mochama</a>—''Your iPhone goes off''—
You're late for your eyelash [[appointment]]!
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/HfHC7vmjxNqec/giphy.gif>You were born and raised here but have never felt truly connected. Part of this is because the city operates on stolen land.
"For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the [Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), Ojibway/Chippewa and Anishinabek]. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island."
Your existance in relation to this land and the Indigenous folks of Canada/Turtle Island is something you think about every day. It's difficult to call a place home with this kind of [[history]].
Source: University of Toronto, <a href="https://memos.provost.utoronto.ca/statement-of-acknowledgement-of-traditional-land-pdadc-72/">'Statement of Acknowledgement of Traditional Land (PDAD&C #72)'</a>
Indigenous territories provided by: www.native-land.caYou finally arrive and the eyelash tech gets your ready for some poppin, new weave for your [[eyelids]] (aka eyelash extensions).
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/8h1Zhv62CVXEc/giphy.gif>You begin small talk. The eyelash tech tells you that they have started investing in overseas business.
"Where abouts do you have your eye on?"
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/2WksCdjwEQU8g/giphy.gif>"Yeah, but it's not going too well."
"Well, the partners there think they know everything. We came in with our business plan and they should feel grateful that we were thinking of investing our money [[there]]."
"To be fair, they've probably been operating since before you made a proposal to them. If they didn't agree to the terms, it's most likely because it wasn't going to be beneficial to them."
"Yeah, but they don't know what they're doing. It's a third world country. When people invest from abroad, they should be jumping at the opportunity"
Suddenly, you are okay with not having your eyelashes on fleek. You pick up your things and [[go]].
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/l46C7mUzRAca62Rtm/giphy.gif>You look at the time and it's 4:00 PM. You know what that means: dinner at mom's [[place]].
<img src=https://media.giphy.com/media/fGAhKOEcAhkek/giphy.gif>The reggae's booming.
The curry goat is on the stove.
And your grandma is also present complaining in the background about something as most Caribbean grandmas [[do]].
Perhaps home is fixed to a particular geographic location. Perhaps it's a feeling or maybe it's something that can be cultivated amongst certain people.
Wherever it is, this space with these women is what I've known to be home. And perhaps we can stop wondering about it for a few moments or at least until dinner is over.