being raised in barbados wasn’t all sunshine and palm trees

my reality is different from some of my family members it seems.
i’m starting to realize that.
even though i love my grandmother,
it is no secret that she was abusive to us.
i think many caribbean people faced a shit ton of abuse.
the last conversation i had with my father made me realize something

He was abused by my grandmother too.

she kept me at ransom from him.
now he was lazy and a coward in many aspects,
but he was only allowed to get me for the things i needed.
since my father was the big sports star in barbados,
he was around a lot of vixens and randoms.
her fear,
as my cousin told me last week,
that someone would hurt me since she didn’t really care for him.

I guess I can see that.

my mother,
who was a model and just as popular,
needed her to watch me since she wasn’t ready to be a mother.
it seemed that if she didn’t follow those rules,
she would have to find someone else to watch me.
so that started her having more control than my own mother did.
i guess it worked out for her since i only saw her on weekends.
this allowed my grandmother to do what she wanted with me,
which meant i HAD to attend the jehovah’s witnesses with her.


no ifs,
ands,
or…
i was told that she was so deep into that religion

She wanted to pull me out of school because she said Armageddon was coming.

she always used that paradise thing over my head.
everything was “you won’t see me in paradise“.
i was always bored and fell asleep once i got there.
always asking to go to the bathroom so i could go wander around.
i hated the experience.

my grandmother would beat me for everything.
i was a very inquisitive little fox so i was always into everything.
school wasn’t my favorite and if i didn’t understand my schoolwork,
i would get beat for it.
all of this caused me to rebel which would lead to even more beatings.

I’ll never forget she tied me to the bed and locked me in the back bedroom.
i screamed my head off until I couldn’t cry anymore.

there were great times in barbados but that is some of what i endured at her house.
sure,
she loved me and provided a lot for me,
but she had a unique way of instilling fear and punishment.
i’d like to think i was fearless because i kept on doing it.
she would call my father when she was fed up,
but i wasn’t scared of him.

How could I be scared of someone I don’t know?

my cousin cried last week when i brought up the abuse from my grandmother.
she even admitted the abuse she faced under my grandmother,
but she kept harping on how much my grandmother loved and protected us.
she felt i was being disrespectful to her legacy.
it’s not that i don’t love my grandmother,
because i do,
but that doesn’t mean i don’t recognize that some of her ways have affected me.

Comparing me to other people who were smarter or “better kids”
Keeping me in this strict bubble

Beating me for asking questions about her religion or not being “smart” with schoolwork

those things have affected all of us that were raised under her.
my father hasn’t healed from the shit he was put through either.
i’m the one who has decided to stop the generational curse.

Author: jamari fox

the fox invited to the blogging table.

3 thoughts on “being raised in barbados wasn’t all sunshine and palm trees

  1. Caribbean parents buy heavily into that “spare the rod and spoil the child” rhetoric, so we got licks as we call it in Trinidad for everything even in schools it was condondoned, it’s only in the last couple of years that they have banned that type of punishment in schools and that beatings are seen as abuse 😔

    1. ^I WAS GONNA PUT THAT TOO!!!!

      how we would get lashes at school by the teachers in front of everyone.
      if you were really bad,
      you’d go to the headmaster’s office and get beat with a leather belt.
      the amount of screaming you’d hear from the headmaster’s office was frightening.
      it was scary to even go in there to get a pencil LOL

  2. A friend of mine —from Jamaican background— joined the military and sailed through basic training with ease. Officers and drill sergeants yelling at him and getting in his face didn’t phase him. He said “I grew up in a Jamaican home. This was nothing.”

    Caribbean parents are abusive as fuck. Beatings are as normal as bathing. I come from such a background (my dad is Barbadian/“bajan”) and l know of what you speak. And I grew up JW, too which adds a whole other element. We need healing and wholesale restructuring of child rearing and discipline.

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