Do you desire to be beautiful? To have courage to follow through on your dreams? To stand for something? Maybe leave a legacy and be recognised as a leader in your field?
Are you a stay-at home mum, yet inside long to step out of the confines and boundaries of “being a mum” and let rip? Do you dream to create magic and transform the cut-out paper dolls you style with your daughter and open up a boutique selling your own designs?
Is it possible to dream big? To have bold ambitions and desires for yourself and your children? Or do you think that dreams are just for children and grown-ups who haven’t grown up?
Let Me Tell You About My Parent’s Dream
My parents came to the UK from Grenada in 1959..part of the so called Windrush Generation…that pioneering group of souls from the West Indies, lured to England by rumours that the streets were paved with gold and glossy images of regal Britain and afternoon tea with the Queen.
Yet when my parents finally landed and stepped ashore a different reality awaited them. Cold racism. Signs and billboards saying “No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs”.
My mother left Grenada a qualified highly respected school teacher. Bright full of adventure. Growing up in Grenada, one of seven, life taught her to be resourceful, to dig deep, work hard and be a good girl. She did what she was told and achieved success, yet none of that mattered. When she landed in the UK all of that was stripped away. All that remained was her dignity and faith.
My father, he had dreams, he dreamed big. He dreamed of owning a house in England and like his peers to work hard and return home in 5 years. Maybe build a home or two Back Home.
Dad loved to tell me and my brother, John, stories. I recall as a child, looking up in awe as Dad reeled of stories about his time in Vietnam, fighting Hitler, chasing saber-toothed tigers or singing the blues with Louis Armstrong… all dreams and stories, yet filled with passion and intrigued. Curled up in bed I would dream that one day, I would wrestle a saber- toothed tiger, travel to Mississippi, swim with the dolphins or find a genie tucked up in my bottom drawer. Maybe I could drive a bus and travel to France or hire a van fill it up with provisions to give to the poor and needy in Africa.
Like my parents, I was young and the world was my oyster.
Fifty Years Later…
Fast forward 50 decades. What has happened? What has happened to my father’s dream my mother’s desires? Have they achieved their dreams or are they still renting a room in a two-up two down in Hazlebank Road?
My parents are living their dream. Five years stretched into 36 long years. Years filled with horrors which I, as a second generation Black British Citizen can’t even fathom. The battles my father fought were real. Every day was a fight. A hand-to-hand fist fight of making ends meet. Stretching the £19 per week he earned as a motor fitter to feed his family, pay bills and put a down deposit on a home. My parents struggled and fought every negative emotion imaginable to mankind.
Looking back I wonder how did they reach out, recharge their batteries and still have energy to overcome the negative people and institution primed to keep them, and me in “our place?”
How did they manage to feed me and John, put us through school, make home cooked meals every day, and buy everything they wanted with cash. Not credit credits or bank loans. How did they manage?
They took a risk, had a dream. Every day my Dad would speak to me and John and say “One day, I am Going Home and build a house.” And he would vividly describe his house and how he would live life Back Home. Every day he breathed and shared his dream. Every action he took was directed to meeting his dream. Years passed.
Dad Had A Vision
And he held fast to this vision.
Today, I am proud to say my parents are living back home. In Grenada. Proud homeowners of not one, but two homes. They left their home in the UK to me and my family. They buried my brother, saw me through a divorce, and were ripped off by friends and family in their pursuit of following their dreams.
Yet, for the last 15 years or so, every day at 5.00am mum and dad wake up, get dressed and go to Grandanse Beach, meet up with their friends to swim and socialize. Mum is 78 and Dad 79….blessed with grandchildren, good health and wisdom to know that all good comes through God.
What About Me?…
As I sit and write I ponder and reflect. What about me? What dreams, goals am I chasing, desiring to fulfill? What choices am I making so that I do, can reach my goals, my desires and hopes for the future?
What legacy am I creating to leave for my children’s children?
As I gaze around my living room I smile. My dreams are all here, alive in front of me. The way is clear. I am writing. Sharing my story with you. The world truly is my oyster. That pioneering spirit to make the most of what life offers me, to stand up and fight all isms…racism, sexism, terrorism, fearism…that drive, spirit which led my parents to leave their homeland and travel onwards is what keeps me focused, keeps me alive, determined to follow through and be all I came to be.
What Keeps You Alive, Focused and Following Through?
I would love to hear who inspires you, what keeps you going and what legacy you wish to leave your children. Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below. Let’s stick together and create magic.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tina Jinenez