AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Paige Zara Bishop and I’m a crystal girl who sells incense.
I’ve lived in the West and the East and I went to school in Chaguanas, so I feel kind of in-between. I’ll be 28 this year.
I live up Mt Hololo Road now. When I was 25 or 26, my mom, Carole Anne Bishop, moved to Tobago. That was my 14th move in life.
I also feel heavily connected to Tobago ’cause my family is from there. Maybe I’m from all over Trinidad and Tobago.
My mom was a single parent and it was just her and me. No father.
My dad, Brent Bailey, would visit me on and off when we were in Maraval. I was about five.
But we lost contact when my mom and I moved again when I was seven. I took that to heart. I was very angry for a very long time, until I decided I didn’t want to hold the anger any more, so I worked on my relationship with both my parents.
We still have a lot of healing and growing (to do) but I now I feel I’m in a pretty good place with them both.
Initially, I wanted to be alone, because I saw my mom’s struggle.
She did really well, but I saw the toll it took on her, and I didn’t want that for myself.
I didn’t see men in a good light at all. I would like to bring a child into this world that is not tortured or emotionally neglected.
My last name is Bishop, but I did not go to Bishop’s. I went to Blackman’s Primary for a year. Briggs in Belmont. St Xaviers in St Joseph when we moved to Aranguez.
After my primary schools, I stayed in Northview College, St Augustine, for three years and then went to Trillium International School in Chaguanas, a small Canadian school, 12 people to a class.
I got a distinction at Trillium. We did classes I really liked, (such as) anthropology, sociology and philosophy. Things to make you think, not just cram information into your head.
I graduated with a small scholarship to go to a university in Canada. But I went to UWI.
My mom didn’t have a job, so I was working as a swim instructor and was focused on making money to live. I didn’t really like the subjects.
So I left UWI without completing my degree and I have no interest in going back. What I want to learn, I don’t think I can learn at university.
I don’t worship anything and I don’t need to pray. My religion is love. Unfortunately, religion is there, which I understand, that need for control.
But I am no longer a part of that. I believe in incarnation. Like BC Pires saying that my atoms could have been Charles Dickens! Exactly!
My mom lives in Curepe, the last place we lived together.
She kicked me out when I was 22. I was a professional dancer then, keeping really late hours, and I wouldn’t (message) her.
So she was really worried about me. She couldn’t deal with it any more and said, “You’re going to have to find your own place.”
It was the best thing she ever did. I had to grow up.
For six years. I danced professionally (including) for Ravi B, 3canal. I was on many stages in Trinidad, Tobago, Guyana, dancing with bare-to-nothing clothes on, wining.
That just became too sexualised. People were expecting too much of me. I didn’t want any (more).
So I left the dance. Now, I may get an opportunity to move from sexualised to spiritualised dance (based on crystal therapy).
It’s a big step, makes me nervous, but it’s a step I’d like to take.
Racially, I have everything but Indian in me.
My father’s mother, from Tobago, is black. His father is from Barbados. He was kinda red, not really white-white.
My mother’s mother is from Portugal and her father is from St Kitts. So I’m really mixed up.
My eyes change colour according to how I feel. Really dark blue when I’m excited and hyper. When I’m sad, light green.
I’m not sure whether I feel “New Age.” But I do feel old. Like an old soul.
I have four large tattoos.
I started doing them after serious breakups. The pain I went through in the relationship was the pain in the tattoo.
It was not as intense as the emotional pain but I kinda found the emotional scarring wasn’t enough: I had to demonstrate that in art.
Maybe my tattoos are like a stamp: this is not going anywhere; it’s not going to fade; it will always be with me.
I was a very angry child – I don’t know who I was angry at – and as an adult, I was angry at the world. Whoever (approached) me in the wrong way, I would slice them with words.
It affected me. I didn’t want to be angry at the world any more. I wanted to be carefree.
I wanted to be free. I found (a job) at a crystal store. And I just gravitated to crystals.
I got a new perspective: if you truly want something for yourself, you have to make that change within.
People say cannabis incense makes them calm enough to fall asleep. I haven’t experienced that myself.
Nobody thinks I’m from Trinidad. I don’t look the part at all.
And I don’t feel I fit into Trinidad. I don’t feel I fit in anywhere.
Music no longer touches people’s souls. Taking selfies for Facebook is the only thing that matters in Carnival now.
I feel like I’m an old soul because I feel I should be out there, enjoying myself. But Carnival only irritates me now.
It’s kinda hard for me to connect to the question, “What is a Trini?”
Because most people don’t believe I am from here.
Am I a Trini? Most people nowadays think I’m Venezuelan.
Before, they thought I was from the States or Europe. People would fight me down: “You lying, you not from here!”
But I am from here. I am a Trini. I know Trinidad really well, I love the people and the culture.
I don’t feel like I’m a Trini but I am a Trini. I may not look like one, but I am one.
To me, Trinidad and Tobago is one big melting pot. And everybody can just chill together. And be accepted as one.
No, definitely me included. I am in the pot as well.
Read the full version of this feature on Saturday at www.BCPires.com