There is something unexplainable, unclassified and uncontrollable that infiltrates our stratosphere every year around Carnival time that sends T&T women into a realm of fun, freedom and frenzy.
This vibe supersedes all creed, race and class. The very slim, the toned, the heavy set, all ages, all backgrounds, this aura is infectious and has them jumping out of their seats, screaming, waving; swaying of hips and parading on the streets like beautiful queens in a masquerade are the symptoms interspersed with massive preparation, hungry anticipation and strategic planning for the climax, the real fever, known to all as T&T Carnival!
As I sit and type this story I am seeing excited women passing before me with pretty plumed head pieces in their hands and they are chattering about buying their mas boots. I get a pang of nostalgia, mixed with tabanca. It's a physical reaction, not just mental. My toes wiggle and I wince in pain, my head begins to hurt and I feel feverish. I am not playing mas this year.
It's going to be one of the few years since I was 18 that I am not going to be parading in Port of Spain to the sweet vibrations of soca in the company of family and friends, just as frenzied as I am, every February of every year. I have always loved Carnival. Growing up I did everything except mas, from calypso singing, to Midnight Robber portrayals to costume designing. Carnival was always in my blood. Indeed I can't explain it, the feeling that overcomes me around Carnival time. It's not liberation, it's not euphoria, it's not energy, it's much more - an unpublished feeling you get that every soca tune you hear you feel to dance even if you are at work or driving along the highway. Will I be able to stand my ground this year and stay away from my favourite time of the year? I can't help it, I might just have to hold up on the US shopping trip to which I allocated my Carnival money ...Carnival calling me..."Lorraine..." I am a Carnival woman, and the funny thing is there are more like me in this great land of ours. Here are their stories:
I plan for Carnival a year in advance. In fact I live for Carnival. I eat right and exercise whole year round to fit into my costume because I want to look my ultimate sexy at fetes and with every body part toned and teased for my bikini and beads and Monday hot shorts. You see, I work hard every day, I am a manager at big firm and I don't get much free time so around Carnival I take my vacation and unwind. I feel liberated as a woman around Carnival time. I feel free, I let my hair down, I feel beautiful all dressed up for the masquerade. I get professional make-up, I go all the way, bikini wax and all. After Ash Wednesday its business as usual. For me it's much more than wining down the place, it's about releasing your stresses and embracing your culture as a Trinbagonian. I am a Carnival woman, I can't help it. Call me crazy, call me anything but don't call me around Carnival time I won't answer; try back Ash Wednesday!
When I hear soca music like I does go crazy. Is as if I can't control my feet, my hips and my waist. They have minds of their own, oui. Carnival time is my time. I am in my 50s I am not a spring chicken but I still love my fetes. I dress up and look ravishing to go my favourite calypso tents; you name it, I there. I does move with ah crew of family and friends. Once we have a cooler with drinks, transport, comfortable shoes and rhythm we good to go. I could sway to anything from soca to long time calypso. SuperBlue is meh boy, Machel is meh soca godson and All Stars is meh band, I liming in de pan yard right through with meh bottle and spoon. Oh gawd oye, ah cyah wait for Carnival Monday and Tuesday, I playing with MacFarlane. I am a Carnival woman to meh bone, do an x-ray and tell meh what you see!
Stilettos-check. Matching handbag-check. Make-up and extra lip gloss-check. Hot-for-days outfit-check. I am almost ready for my fete. I am so excited to go out this Carnival. You will imagine that I bought this outfit a year ago at a sale in New York just to go to this fete? It was as if I was dreaming about Carnival. I even practise dancing in my outfit to make sure that I don't get any wardrobe malfunction. When I feting I am not a poser like some of the Carnival divas. I keep it real for Carnival and I buy my own ticket because nobody owns this bumper. Once the band say jump, I jumping, once they say wave I waving, I just come out of hibernation for Carnival alone you see. After I go to this fete tonight I have to go to work tomorrow. But no worries, I don't get Fete-lag, I conditioned for Carnival. I take my vitamins in order to prepare for these moments. I don't play with my exercise and food either after all preparation is key. What can I say, I am a Carnival woman, according to Patrice...nothing wrong with taking a wine...everybody!
Everybody laughed at me when I told them I did my nails and toes to play mas this year. They don't realise that this is my favourite time of the year. I took a bank loan to pay for my costume and prepare for Carnival 2013. Yes, a bank loan. I am sure you are probably turning up your noses because you are saying that it is a highly unnecessary investment. But let me ask you something: What do you spend your money on? Do you always spend your money on Maslow's hierarchy of needs- food, water, clothing, shelter etc.? I'm sure you spare cash for leisure and enjoyment. A car, a trip? Whatever you spend your money on depends on your likes and interests. And to be honest that's your business. I spend my money on my mas and my Carnival and guess what, that's my business! So yes, I paying quite a penny to play mas with the best band in T&T. My logic? I am a Carnival woman and I spend my money where my heart is, I am sure you do the same!
Carnival is always a comical time for me. I found myself wining on a vagrant for Jouvert two years ago!
Hmmmm, I run away and get catch in a fete last year!
I am sitting in this hairdressing chair doing my braids and I hearing SuperBlue on the radio and I can't sit still. I bubbling on the chair. I can't wait for Insomnia breakfast party this year. I ent even buy my best kit yet but I excited. The hairdresser asking me what I will do if I get water and powder in my hair and I tell her frankly- "Just wash it next day!" Everything is everything for me for Carnival. Do you know what is one of the meanings of Carnival? Nathalie! I am a Carnival woman with a best braids hairstyle!