We Need to Own Our I

We Need to Own Our I

I have no recollection of the first book I read. All I can tell you is that books got me excited to read, to dream. to write, and to see the world.

It was very obvious that the books available before the age of 10 were all about children and adults who did not look like me but I didn’t necessarily think this was wrong. It was just the way it had always been. The children in these books had different color eyes and hair but they were having adventures I was not having. I won’t try to psychoanalyse my 10-year-old self.

Getting to secondary school and discovering Caribbean literature changed my life. Not so much the stories but the images of brown children on the covers and illustrated inside. Suddenly there was the motivation and the permission, if you would, that the stories I was dreaming up of people who looked like me belonged in books.

This was a major impetus for me to write and later on becoming a published author. It also catalysed my desire to do the things I imagined and to act as if the opportunities afforded to others was mine for the taking as well. It really is what drove my entrepreneurial path.

Where am I going with this as it relates to the title of the post?

It has never bothered me more than now, the way Caribbean people use the word “We”. It is our way of speaking in an inclusive manner when really it is about us and our opinion. We crouch our issues and concerns in large terms as if to say, all who are reading or hearing this believe the same thing I do. WE need to own our I.

You will read When will WE begin to do xyz? Really, why should I? It isn’t of interest to me and the XYZ you are concerned about doesn’t affect my life. It will only become a care of mine when YOU do the work to make it so.

It really is time to stop tossing out ideas for the WEs of the world to pick up. If it is bothering you then that is the core of the energy you will need to become the solution. Time to stop the imaginary “We” conversations and say “I will”, or “I am”. “This is how I feel about XYZ and here is what I am doing to educate and bring about a change in behaviours as it relates to XYZ.”

When I am tempted to hide behind WE, I ask how can I contribute to making a change to the status quo?

It is a much more empowering position to take in your own life and in the world around you. Change does not come by pointing fingers for your imaginary WE to fix. Change comes when you and I get to work and do our part to be the diference.

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