Trini to the Bone: Life of Sin

"Just call me Sin," says Mohammed to people who cannot pronounce her name properly.. -

My name is Sinead Mohammed, but not even my parents pronounce my first name right.

I am born and raised in Princes Town, until I was 13.

My grandfather passed away and we had to move to Couva ‘cause my grandmom couldn’t live on her own.

I had to transfer from St Stephen’s College to Holy Faith Convent, Couva.

Where all my troubles began. Going to a Catholic school. Because I grew up as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

My mother’s grandfather was a Jehovah’s Witness so she became indoctrinated into it. She met my dad, brought him into it. And then they had my brother, myself and my sister. And brought us into it.

Being Jehovah’s Witnesses, we didn’t read comic books, we didn’t watch Harry Potter or read Harry Potter. No science fiction or anything.

It was just your life was the whole religion.

I don’t want to talk too much about the Witness religion because I have very negative views about it. It’s a cult, for lack of a better word.

I agree with BC Pires that all religions are cults, but Jehovah’s Witnesses are really cultish.

We’re not Mormon or Amish but we might as well have been, the way I was discouraged from pursuing higher education.

If I had my way, I’d probably be a singer now. Michael Jackson was raised in a Jehovah’s Witness household, a rarity. I don’t know if he was dis-fellowshipped, but what he was doing was very frowned upon.

I support religious friends in what they believe, whatever makes them feel safe.

But it’s not for me. Religions have always tried to control me.

My mom, Zanifer, goes by her middle name, Wendy, my dad is Terrence, my younger sister is Tyler.

My brother Tevin is married to his lovely wife, Jinnalee. Their son, Logan Bane, is the light of my life.

Yes, Logan after Wolverine and Bane after Batman The Dark Knight Rises. My brother is a huge nerd.

I’m also a comic geek.

When I was younger, I wanted children. But, as I get older – and probably a little more vain – I think, “Ugh, that’s going to do things to my body!”

If (motherhood) doesn’t work out, I want to have a s- -t ton of dogs!

From a very young age, my dream was to have an animal shelter.

It caused problems with my family, but I left the religion as soon as I hit 18 and went to UTT.

My brother, three years older, had already left the religion.

My parents tried to pull me out of school.

I was rebellious and said I would travel (by public transport) to school. I got lost! Even though we didn’t live very far from the university.

Sinead Mohammed - courtesy Jeffrey Wight

When my parents split, I stayed with my dad and, basically, had to take care of myself. That’s when I started modelling. In Trinidad, it’s fairly easy to become a model if you’re normatively attractive. You have enough boobs, you have enough butt, you young enough, your skin look nice enough? Well, you could model!

As a bikini model, they pay you s--t in Trinidad.

The photographers and the creative agency make a lot. Models get the scraps left. Basically nothing.

I became very dependent on my boyfriend to take me to my modelling gigs ‘cause my father (wouldn’t). He was three years older and very abusive, not a nice person.

That toxic and abusive first relationship made me think, “Maybe the Jehovah’s Witnesses are right: worldly people are evil!”

I struggled with that for awhile until the next guy I dated, a Bajan, one of the most wonderful people I ever met. He showed me I could trust people. And that the things my ex- putting me down to control me was just wrong. I was worthy of love.

I’ve always known I wanted to be a makeup artist.

But my mother told me that was a hobby, not a career. My mom feels that, if you don’t have a desk, you don’t have a real job. To this day, she sends me job applications.

I did a diploma in mechanical engineering because my brother was a very successful mechanical engineer, but the two-year diploma took me four years. Because of all the ups and downs I faced at UTT Point Lisas.

It was a horrible experience, a waste of breath to talk about. I hated it from the jump.

I hate the expression, “My trauma made me who I am today.” Because that is giving power to the people who traumatised me.

My abusive ex had nothing to do with me becoming the person I am. The strength I have now is because of me!

He just caused the trauma. I dealt with it. None of my power goes to him or to that school or the people that hurt me there.

My cosmetology course was one year and I was certified to do hair, makeup, skin, nails. I love the beauty industry and worked for a salon very briefly before doing hair and makeup on my own since 2017.

People say, wait, you did mechanical engineering and then you did cosmetology?

I say, “Yeah! And then I did Japanese at UWI!”

I wanted to be a flight attendant eventually and thought a second language would push me over the edge. Despite not being able to learn either French or Spanish at secondary school. I did two levels.

My mom and dad, Terrence, weren’t really completely hardcore Jehovah’s Witnesses because they loved music enough to name me after Sinead O’Connor and my elder brother after Tevin Campbell. My dad is the first person to grab the mic at karaoke.

But in the religion, you are dissuaded from doing anything that brings attention to you. Being in the limelight is wrong.

My parents messed up naming me after Sinead O’Connor, because they never corrected anyone outside the family who pronounced my name however they wanted.

I got Sin-need, Sin-aid, the occasional Sin-dee, hardly ever Shin-aid.

So I tell people, “Just call me Sin!” Easy to remember.

And I’m just as blasphemous (as the name suggests).

One day, I’ll write my autobiography: My Life as a Jehovah’s Witness: A Comedy. By Sin-need, Sin-aid, Sindy Mohammed.

It would be too much to write, though; my name alone would take up too many words.

My interests are ever-changing.

I feel I want to do a bartending course. Maybe I want to be a bartender. My boyfriend thinks I would be a fantastic bartender.

And I feel, why not do all these things, if I can? I have one life.

I’m going to try my best to experience as much as I can. Instead of being stuck in one field for the rest of my life. I want to be a bartender, I want to be a flight attendant, a makeup artist, a model…and why can’t I?

Very similar to me, a Trini could be anything they want to be. So a Trini is whatever a Trini wants to be.

Trinidad and Tobago, to me, is just home. I could live anywhere in the world but, very ironically, Trinidad will always be my safe space.

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"Trini to the Bone: Life of Sin"

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