AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Ciara Mohamed and I am a life coach.
In our case, Mohamed is spelled with just two ms instead of the usual three. I have no idea why. I’ve had to correct the spelling all my life.
I’m definitely from Port of Spain. St Ann’s is, like, my home and I love it. It’s a magical place. You’re so close to, like, the hustle and bustle.
But you’re, like, tucked away in this forested, mountain with wildlife. And you just drive out and you’re in the city.
My dad, Sharif Mohamed, is Trinidadian. My mum, Marie Kavanaugh, is Irish. They met in a champagne nightclub in Ireland and started dating. My mum was 23 or 24, my dad was a good bit older.
She loved Trinidad. It is very similar to Ireland, culturally. The people are very warm, very social. All the s----talking, liming and drinking is the same. Trinidad is like a warmer version of Ireland.
I was born in Trinidad but my mum started bringing me to Ireland every summer when I was, like, one. It’s a very special place for me. My mum’s family is there.
And, again, it’s very familiar for the Trinidadian, the people being so friendly, warm and down-to-earth. I really love the culture.
My mum being white, my dad Indian, they were, like, a biracial couple, and race wasn’t an issue in our house in Trinidad.
I definitely became more conscious of race in Europe.
In Ireland, I was aware I was seen (as) different. But that was more “exotic.” People thought I was Spanish or Italian. I was never called “Paki” in Ireland.
When I was 13 or 14, I was called a Paki at school in England. And, after 9/11 happened, I became very conscious I was looked at differently because of my surname.
In England, given their history of, like, colonialism, it wasn’t this big slap in the face to be called Paki. It was very, very hurtful, to be reduced like that – but it wasn’t a surprise.
My mum and I moved to England when I was like, nine, ten.
School was amazing and so stimulating. I got involved in drama, writing. It definitely helped shaped the person I am.
Then we were in Barbados for two years and then I went back to England to do my GCSEs.
Everything is a miracle to me.
I have a real thing for mob movies. The Godfather is one of my favourite films. And I agree with BC Pires that the Sopranos is an 86-hour film.
I’m very happy to watch Netflix but I love the act of going to the cinema. The best way of watching a film is in a cinema, with many other people around you. It’s a communal experience.
Social media sets a very, like, unrealistic and, like, unattainable standard of what beauty or “normal” is.
So much work – lighting, makeup, photoshopping, editing – goes into the images we’re being bombarded with on a minute-by-minute basis. I don’t look at Kim Kardashian and feel bad about myself. Because I know she has a chef, a personal trainer (a whole team behind her). The image she tweets out in a second is, like, three hours in makeup and hair.
I got into and was all set to go to law school. My mum is a lawyer.
But I didn’t go because my dad got ill. So I went back to Trinidad to take care of him.
It was hard, but good. Spending that time with him brought us closer together.
My dad likes being spoilt. He was grateful. Though it’s not like he verbalised it.
My kind of “why” in the world, the thing I want to achieve in my work is, like, empowering people and helping them live their most authentic lives.
With law, you can do a lot to change people’s lives. But, at home, taking care of Dad, I was thinking, I can’t take on a three-year degree…So what can I do now?
My mum suggested coaching.
The impulse to make people feel empowered, authentic and be their best selves. is behind everything that I do.
You would get a lot of the same boxes ticked with coaching (as with law or psychology). I fell in love with it. I studied for about a year online and qualified as a holistic life/executive/career coach in March. You can specialise in whichever niche you like.
A coach doesn’t have to be an expert on life to do the job. The aim of the coach is to help the client get awareness of where they are and where they would like to be. And the necessary steps they have to take to get there.
I’m not 30 yet and I have clients ranging in age from 30 to 60.
I don’t have to know anything about investment banking to coach an investment banker struggling with a decision whether to invest in this property or that app.
My job, as a coach, is to get him to understand himself, his options and the best outcome for him as a result of his best decision.
We do a series of exercises to help him understand his values, strengths, what he wants for his life. Working within that context, (we assess) the pros and cons and values of app and property, and how they fit in to who he is and what he wants.
If BC Pires says to me, a life coach seems to be something between a bartender and a psychologist, I say, “That’s a good analogy!”
If BC Pires says to me, a life coach sounds like a paid friend, I say that would really diminish what coaching is.
As a coach, you’re completely objective. I have, like, no investment in my clients’ lives. Like, I would never be in a position to sway them either way.
The only thing I want is for them to make choices promoting (becoming) their most authentic selves. That wouldn’t happen in a friendship.
The best thing about coaching is, like, seeing people being, like, their most authentic selves and living that fully.
The worst thing is that it can be a bit tiring. Not emotionally draining, tiring. If you find yourself drained, it’s because you’ve been doing your job with everyone in your (personal) life, your family and friends.
I think “home” is more of a feeling than a place.
I feel at peace with myself and in my life so it really doesn’t matter where I am. All of Europe is open to me.
But I do love the Caribbean culture, lifestyle, people and the weather.
To me, a Trini is a spontaneous person who values happiness and freedom. And just, like, embodies life itself.
I want to say Trinidad and Tobago means “home” to me, but I feel that is not sufficient.
There are aspects of Trinidad, elements that aren’t good for you. Doesn’t mean it’s not “home.”
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com