Living in Grenada, I grew up in a culture where many households consisted of the man being the breadwinner. I was taught that a woman’s place was in the home, playing a caregiver’s role for the family. The women seldom had any gainful employment and groomed to be wholly dependent on the man.
My lessons included learning how to cook, clean, wash clothes and take care of the children. Without these basic domestic and caring skills, you were told you wouldn’t get a husband. Not only was this shameful, but there was never any emphasis placed on a woman’s independence to achieve anything for herself. These personal limitations were all about dependency and control. There was no authentic self-awareness, freedom, or self-worth. The bullying, emotional and physical abuses were meant to keep women trapped with no escape.
At the tender age of 17, I became a sugar baby. I went from being a tomboy to being desirable by many men. I recognized that my sexuality would get me out of the jaws of poverty, but I didn’t know that it could also lead to my demise.
I thought nothing of taking gifts, money, and food from different men. It was effortless and, in my mind, well deserved. Never once did I think about the consequences of my actions.
Though I was able to care for myself and my family, and for once, being poor didn’t seem so bad, I was deluding myself. Because of my youth and inexperience, I had no idea that eventually, everything would blow up in my face.
One of the men I accepted thousands of dollars from in clothes, food, and money found out I simultaneously communicated with another man and got furious. He demanded repayment of $5000.00, or he was going to kill me!
This naïve 17-year-old foolheartedly believed the family would chip in for the repayment. Boy was I shocked when no effort was made for the settlement. The family informed the man that reimbursement was not possible and he would have to kill me.
My life came to a halt as I was stuck in my little village awaiting the arrival of my demise. But, as fate would have it, God had greater plans for me. A few months later, I got great news from my father, saying that he just purchased my ticket to migrate to Canada. I was spared from threats of someone killing me to embarking on a whole new life.
On the flight from Grenada to Toronto, I promised myself that I would be an independent woman. I would buy my own things and pay my own bills. I would never allow a man to prevent me from having financial stability or self-confidence.
My accomplishments are all mine. I managed to succeed without a man providing for me. I did it on my own. I worked hard for everything I’ve achieved and refused to accept a thing from a man for personal gains. Living off a man leads to the demise of one’s soul. Success feels so much more rewarding when you are the motivating force. In 2003, five years after the incident that almost took my life, I was forgiven. The only repayment requested was 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin” album.
Women’s role in our society is changing for the better. Women are no longer willing to be dependent or subservient to a man. My daughter is not forced to learn life’s basic domestic skills with the hope of attaining a husband. Instead, she is being taught advanced life skills to be fully independent and live on her own terms.
Our society can influence who we are as human beings, but our minds can dictate change with great desire. Being independent is being you!