Apparently people didn’t find this on the site but it is under “Welcome to Our Blog-Fayemarie Anderson Carter”.
So…who am I? First off, I am a woman. I am a citizen of the world and I belong to no one. I have faced unbelievable circumstances all my life and even before I was born. Basically, I shouldn’t be here. My mother had a difficult pregnancy and was on bed rest the last months. With all the precautions taken and advantages of having a father who was a medical intern, it still didn’t prevent me from being born premature and kinda dead for a while. That should have been the clue to the world “Watch out! She’s a fighter!” Well but, I didn’t always know that and many things knocked me down and there were times I felt hopeless and helpless.
I had a very confusing, complicated childhood. I felt like I had each foot in a different world so that I was constantly trying to balance between them. There were a lot of misconceptions about my family and our intentions. It went from “You’re white, you don’t care”; “You’re rich; why do you care?” to “Oh you’re poor, who cares?” Despite all that, I couldn’t help but grow up with an intense feeling of obligation and sense of civic duty. I was a quiet child (the irony, I know) so I was often unseen as I observed adults (many of whom, became leaders of our communities) discuss, argue, make plans and sound ridiculous. I was in the back of a government vehicle once, when an adviser to a minister (no names) actually recommended that we remove social studies from the elementary school curriculum and I was just stupefied by this intense stupidity. His estimation of social studies was “it is a waste of time”. With this attitude, we wonder why we are where we are????
On the other hand, living in Dangriga, I couldn’t very well insulate and isolate myself from the realities of regular folk. First of all, I lived smack dab in the middle of town. All the shops, the police station, the banks, churches, schools, government offices and the hospital was right there within a two block radius. Secondly, I didn’t want to. I wanted to play “toad” and punta and “bathe sea”. I wanted to crack my supa seed with the door stop by the church. I wanted to “plait” my hair and “walk bout street”. Even if people wanted to think that I was not part of the society because of my parents, my ancestry (I lived on a street named after my paternal family for goodness’ sake) anyone who looked closely would have seen that I faced many of the same issues everyone else did and then some. Not only did I have to wait every day for my dad to see a patient so I could get $10 to buy bread and milk, people wanted us to donate to everything. I always got picked, in school, to donate the most expensive item like a chicken or the cake. Multiply that times 4 Anderson children and that was half our weekly grocery budget.
I was often ashamed and proud at the same time. Crazy making, I tell you. Case in point. My dad loves to spread Christmas cheer to those who wouldn’t otherwise know it. I understood that about my dad and actually, I am so guilty of it myself. The price for that? I wrapped hundreds of gifts for everyone else while my Christmas gift was the bloody Christmas dress I needed to wear to church. Some gift. LOL. Or how about that time I got a blanket, or the time I got a fan? (I was glad for it don’t mind me) but I was a kid too dammit and I wanted toys! I really did only have two church dresses. My snobbish middle class friends loved to make feel me inferior because they had the latest styles from “States” and would tell me things like “Gial, u noh fraid da dress staat to talk?” Stupid, mean girls.
The blessing of this kind of upbringing is that I learned to empathize. I learned what it feels like to not belong and I didn’t belong anywhere. Too po fi di rich pipple, too white fi di po pipple and when I moved to the States, not white enough for the Americans. So, I learned to like myself. I had to. Nobody else did! I read and read and read. I would get lashin’ because I was reading books and not washing the dishes or I let the clothes get wet on the line because I forgot to pick them in. I learned to make toys out of old seasoning cans and match boxes; I turned them into doll house furniture. I made dolls out of mangoes and tried to sew my own doll clothes (I say try because I often made them too tight LOL). Books were like gold to me. Everything I read, I depended on the library for so that the highlight of my year, was when the ship came from England with new library books. I read about Judy and Maisy and nothing was more hotly traded than the latest Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. When I was actually GIVEN a book, I treasured it and read and reread till it damn near fell apart. I still had the books Mary K Carridi (I called her Aunt Kath, back then) gave me until 1998 when I left them with my parents, not knowing that they would be following me not a few months later. Sorry, Kathy, but I think the books, a copy of Jack and Jill published in 1898 and B is for Betsy, were lost in one of the hurricanes . Those books, the latter, especially, gave me dreams of another kind of childhood, filled with pink clouds and fantasy, sweet memory for sure.
Today, I am married to an American and I have two girls, 19 and 10. I have lived in different countries and states. Just look at my Facebook page and you’ll see all the colleges/universities I “visited” 🙂 I graduated in 2006 from Adler Graduate School with an MA in Counseling Psychology but I haven’t written my thesis yet (long story) so I may never actually get that piece of paper :P. Fingers crossed, I’ll get it done soon now that I am a work at home mom, again. Before now, I worked in the Bloomington, MN school system as a contracted therapist/case manager in a special education program. I worked with children and families struggling with challenges that come with diagnoses of emotional/behavioural disorders such as ADHD, ODD, Bi-polar, Depression, Anxiety, Autism.
I was asked by Aria Lightfoot to be part of this blog addressing the issues facing our Belizean people and I didn’t hesitate for more than a second. Politics have scarred my heart but I decided to take a chance anyway and be a part of what I hope becomes known as a “revolution”. I hope to impart knowledge and insight but mostly compassion and empathy for our fellow citizens. We won’t get anywhere if we don’t understand that we are all in it together. Blue and Red makes PURPLE and that’s where we are: bruised and battered.