September had always been a month of transition for me growing up in Canada. It is the month that I started back to elementary school, high school, and then university. It is the timing of my professional exams, when I transferred to England the year after, and moved to Ireland many years after that. It was certainly the change of seasons last September that prompted me to apply for the working remote visa in Barbados and to sell my house.
In Barbados, there has been no change in the season. The heat and humidity from July & August continue through September. I spend as much time in air conditioning and the ocean as I possibly can. Maybe it was out of habit that I looked for a new place in August and moved September 1st. Yet, it continues to be a month of change for me. I finally let go of my Canadian phone number. My friend sold my car at home and the next day my landlord sent me pictures of the one that I am buying here.
I don’t know what these decisions mean, if anything, for what comes next. I am trying not to think about the upcoming transitions, but I have a sense that they will be big. For the first time in my life, I am attempting to step into the unknown with grace and to not control it. This is very difficult for me.
Canada still feels like a home, even if it is not my only home. This year in September there is another change; Canada has added a statutory holiday. My heart goes out, as today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is a day to honour Indigenous people who were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools. These people were stripped of their traditions, culture, and self-respect to “kill the Indian in the child.” This day is for contemplation and acts of reconciliation, which work to repair the intergenerational trauma that Indigenous people in Canada continue to experience.
I have a sense that my new home could use such a day. Black people were also stripped of their traditions, culture, and self-respect for many years. What is their intergenerational trauma? Why aren’t we talking about this in Barbados? Or does the conversation exist, and I haven’t made myself part of it?
There is no Reconciliation without Truth. I did not grow up knowing about the Residential School system in Canada. I did grow up hearing disparaging comments about Indigenous people and the contemplations about why their communities seemed so broken. The children and grandchildren within these communities didn’t understand why their elders struggled because they couldn’t talk about the atrocities they experienced while at residential schools. So perpetuates the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
What intergenerational traumas will the pandemic leave if we can’t talk about it? The unknowns of the pandemic continue to make most of us uneasy. We want it over with, but we can’t figure out a clear vision for a future. Many can’t even talk about vaccinations, not to mention what we are going to do on the other side of this! Who is to say that my truth is the same as yours? As September, the big month of change, ends I intend to keep my mind, heart, and ears open to hearing others’ truth. Without Truth, there can be no Reconciliation.