Today I finally saw the interview with the lady who got the house in Trinidad. You know the one – the entire country has been in an uproar about how ungrateful she is. She was given a place to live in rent-free for three years… how dare she complain? Still, I listened to her, read her body language and I’ve got to say; I get it. She said she wasn’t asking for anything… and I believe her! To me, it just looked like she was venting frustration.

Nobody else seems to have seen things that way though. People saw only the external image that this lady projected. It wouldn’t have taken much effort to read between the lines though. Just a little effort… just a little empathy. But empathy is a funny thing.

I know what it’s like to have people thinking you live on a cloud; to feel like you don’t have the right to say you have real problems, just like everyone else.

Yes, I’m getting my degree… living in Europe, life is grand… right?
But everybody knows… and there’s so much pressure to succeed and I have no family in Europe and I think I’m failing Economics and I spent all night studying and I collapsed in my room this morning and when I came to, I realised that I could have stayed unconscious on that floor ALL DAY and nobody would have noticed, nobody would have called… because I am surrounded by people but I have nobody…

Yes, I just got engaged… but I’m broke, my fiancΓ© and I aren’t legally allowed to live in the same country, marrying him might mean giving up so many things, including my career… and the last time I saw him we had a massive fight. Please stop asking me about dresses and diamonds.

But you can’t say that. You’d sound ungrateful… so not only do you have to suffer, not only are you expected to suffer in silence… you have to suffer in silence and appear ‘THANKFUL’.

I’ve posted about this before on my blog… almost exactly a year ago. Sadly, although the world is now one year older, we don’t seem much wiser.
I’d like to make a plea for you, my reader, to practice empathy. If you’re already scoring home runs in the empathy game, maybe share this article so your friends can see things from a different perspective. Let’s make the world a more loving place. Let’s try to walk a few yards in someone else’s shoes once in a while.

How can we ever become a more harmonious, less criminally-inclined, more advanced and progressive society if we administer judgement where we should administer love (or at the very least an open mind)?

As for Ms. HDC House, I think she’s just tired and confused, adjusting to a completely unfamiliar situation in which she doesn’t feel confident. At the very least, she wants to know how to provide for her children and it must drive her crazy to feel like she can’t do that. I didn’t see ‘attitude’ or ‘ungratefulness’. I saw stress… I saw fear covered by bravado, confusion cloaked in pride.

“If I have no money to travel, what would I do? Walk?”

She once ran half a mile in the middle of the night to get help to save her son’s life. She’s not giving ‘attitude’. She’s asking that question in earnest. If you’ve never been in a situation where you didn’t have money to cover your basic needs, maybe you wouldn’t understand.

She wished (out loud, to a journalist… and you just don’t tell a journalist these things, but I digress) to return to the way things were; a life she could understand, even if it was a harder life in many ways.

Trinis World – let’s try to be a little less judgemental in 2017, please.

xo
J

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