Dear Editor: Trinis must break free from empty social rat race

“There is so much more to life than Instagraming our night on the town every week. We’ve become obsessed with curating the perfect image of our lives.

“Deep down we know it’s a farce.”

The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 by Kenna Clarke:

Photo: Partygoers capture the moment with a selfie. (Copyright Radioactiva)
Photo: Partygoers capture the moment with a selfie.
(Copyright Radioactiva)

Trinidadians are huge Liars!!!

No for real. We’ve been lying to ourselves for so long that we’ve actually started believing our own lies. The one place where this is on full display is on ‘D Avenue’ every weekend.

We fool ourselves into thinking that we are having a great time when in actuality things couldn’t be further from the truth. The next time you’re in Paprika, CoCo Lounge, etc, I want you to survey the crowd at one of these establishments.

Without preconceptions and prejudice, try to observe the behaviours of everyone around you. It’s always the same archetype that dominates the club scene. Usually it is a bunch of dudes in groups of three or four, standing in close proximity but not really interacting to a bunch of girls, also in groups of three or four.

Everyone is too cool for school yet you can still see the unease in their eyes. Even though our outward behaviours may appear to be cool and collected, our eyes betray us.

They continually scan the crowd looking for an excuse to break up our self inflicted cliqued segregation. That fleeting moment when you finally spot someone you can relate to, that is what keeps us coming back to the club week after week.

It’s a chink in our armour of hubris. You can almost palpably feel that people are desperately trying to connect.

Photo: Patrons line up outside a swanky nightclub. (Copyright NightClubs In NYC)
Photo: Patrons line up outside a swanky nightclub.
(Copyright NightClubs In NYC)

Deep down we all crave some sort of human interaction and are merely trying to find it the only way we know how to. We deliberately surround ourselves with people yet still feel like an island at times.

This phenomenon is not limited to single persons at clubs either. For many, a relationship is merely a tool to keep loneliness at bay. The majority of us are so scared to openly ask for what we want that we often jump head first into relationships so that we don’t have to face ourselves.

As I carefully peruse the faces of those around me, I refuse to believe that everyone at this party is enjoying themselves. Their smiles would have you believe otherwise but it’s all a front.

We put on a façade hoping that if we fake it long enough, it’ll become true. If we ask ourselves how many of our top 10 most memorable moments took place at a club/fete, I’m pretty sure it’d be none.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that parties are not enjoyable. But we don’t enjoy them nearly as much as we convince ourselves that we do. We’ve been conditioned into thinking that our best chances of expanding our social circle is on a Friday night with drinks in hand.

After all, we’d be surrounded by tons of attractive people who’ve also artificially lowered their inhibitions with the help of alcohol. Seems like a recipe for success.

Photo: Ladies night!
Photo: Ladies night!

The reality is often vastly different from this perception.

We’ve bought into the image of partying as the ultimate fun experience but there is no substance to it. This is because many of us don’t truly know what we like. Clubbing has become our default setting. We more or less know what we’re going to get out of it. On a scale of 1-10, it’s a solid six, maybe seven if you’re lucky.

We are too scared and unsure of how to go after the eight, nine and 10s out there. So we go right back to our old faithful.

I honestly think we suffer from low self-esteem as a nation. Our self-worth is derived from our material possessions, so we fight tooth and nail to accrue as much stuff as we can without stopping to question whether we are truly happy.

Many of us are wealthy with possessions but emotionally over-drafted, and bankrupt on inner peace.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against partying. I can often be found in one myself. But there is so much more to life than Instagraming our night on the town every week.

We’ve become obsessed with curating the perfect image of our lives. Deep down we know it’s a farce. Wining is our cathartic release. It is the only time when people seem to be free, even if it’s for a fleeting moment.

Maybe it’s because while ‘wukking up’ we allow ourselves to connect with another being. They are totally in sync with us. It doesn’t matter if the person we are dancing with is a stranger, friend or frenemy but, for those few minutes of ‘teefing ah wine’, someone gets you, albeit only on a physical level.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago soca entertainer Swappi tries to rouse the ground during halftime between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 17 November 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago soca entertainer Swappi tries to rouse the ground during halftime between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 17 November 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

If we truly want more out of life, we have to be willing to be vulnerable. Why not try something new? Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Do something you’ve never done.

We have to become comfortable with being vulnerable. Vulnerability forces us to grow and growth never happens within the confines of our comfort zone.

One way to broaden our horizons would be to travel as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be a luxury travel either. In fact, quite the opposite is recommended. There are so many more ways to experience the world than the traditional resort packages sold by travel agents.

We should always seek new experiences. Adventures can be had on any budget. The ladies are far ahead of us guys in this respect as they are usually far more willing to try new things. I have never been to a salsa night or gone to a culinary class where the ratio of girls to guys has been less than 5:1.

For my guys out there, take a break from incessantly discussing football and put yourself out there. Lionel Messi does not concern himself with the intricacies of your daily life, so why are you all up in his?

Regardless of whether you love them or hate them, Manchester United will continue to disappoint. Too many guys are damn near facsimiles of each other, only interested in football or ______ (insert sport here), money and chasing skirts.

Photo: Argentina captain Lionel Messi (right) and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama share a light moment during their Group F contest at the 2014 World Cup. (Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)
Photo: Argentina captain Lionel Messi (right) and Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama share a light moment during their Group F contest at the 2014 World Cup.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)

Nothing is wrong with any of those—heck I partake extensively in all those things myself—but you’d be surprised at how much more enjoyable stuff there is out there. You’d get a lot more interest from the opposite sex if you expand that list a little.

Or learn a new language, women love that stuff. Plus it has the added benefit of expanding your mind.

Forget what your friends think, be your authentic self. At the end of the day, you have to be the master of your own life. Your brethren can’t be the captain while you are the first mate of your own ship.

Put yourself out there and don’t be fooled by machismo, there is strength in vulnerability.

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  2. I feel that line about Man U was for a certain admin in this group.
    To prepare him for the inevitable.

  3. Wining is our cathartic release… loved that line!

  4. It’s a global thing …we do that sh%t in london big time. This is the age of Instagram / snapchat /twitter etc ….everything is instant gratification. The lifestyle is fake just as the friends your hanging out with.

    • It is a global thing. And I will go further and add that it is not new. I/we did it in London even before the age of all these social media platforms. There are many sentiments expressed by the author that I can relate to, and so from that standpoint, it made good reading.

  5. This happens everywhere … why single out trinis… there are lots of other trinis out there who enjoy different activities to clubbing or liming in bars.

  6. While I’m not hating on the type of social events presented in the article, I agree with the points highlighted by the writer. The social scene in our country has become so monotonous, that it seems like the same people doing the same thing over and over AND over. Yes, persons are entitled to their freedom of choice and there’s the ‘to each his own’ argument blah blah blah, BUT I’ve seen time and time again persons who chose to engage in different types of social events eg. attending a wine & cheese event or an art event at a gallery- being told that they are ‘coasin on Trini culture’ or ‘deh feel deh white.’ Please note that different is good. Having different life experiences IS good.
    With respect to the writer’s mention of ‘salsa night,’ my decision to be part of a dance school and attend such events (I foresee many more in the future,) have definitely broaden my horizons, lessened the fear of trying new things and piqued my interest in dance.
    Contrary to popular belief, learning to dance (esp. Latin,) does not make you less of a man, or make you GAY.
    P.S: as I’ve discussed with my dance instructor on previous occasions, if men knew the nature of these events- the fact that yes, the women outnumber the men and you can literally dance with EVERY woman in the party (without another man wanting to shoot you, and being respectful while dancing OF COURSE,) they’d be flocking in droves to learn to dance.

  7. Hahahahahaha I didn’t know the writer was the anointed life coach of Trinidad. Much better advice would be to stop being up in people’s lives and minding people’s business so much.

  8. I can’t imagine so many bloggers are bashing Trinidad and Tobago citizens, for doing what we do best, and that is “socializing”. (and by the way, our form of socializing is not empty). Is it because America is big and bad, why a limited amount of our citizens (namely T&T nationals) cry down everyone else? Americans are so stingy (which we are not), that one of them applauded the music band I played with, and while he was very encouraging with his language, he made us pay for the beers (and other beverages) that we drank. I have not known any citizen of Trinidad and Tobago to do that to his acquaintances, even if he only knew them for a minute. I humbly beg all you “fresh water” Americans, to desist from bashing our very social and generous citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.

  9. “There is strength in vulnerability”, love it.

  10. She read my mind!!!! This is especially true at carnival time. Pretending it’s not true only serves to keep us limited in our development. We can all benefit from expanding our experiences.

  11. What took them all so long??? Finally!

  12. I broke away from that type of social interaction a long time ago and was criticized and bad mouthed by those who I once fraternized with. The whole scene became mundane and unfulfilling to me , maybe because I outgrew it or it was not my thing. Still, I understand those who need to indulge, but it helped me realize that I wanted something deeper. There is no harm in the occasional lime, now and then.

  13. ‘Plenty merchandising but no one buying or selling’ is how a foreigner described it to me. He says there is a reluctance to truly connect with anyone outside your clique yet everyone is dressed up to attract attention. He think it is a lack of self confidence as well.

  14. Trini bashing again. Lot of people throughout the world get together with coworkers and friends and hang out after a hard, stressful week of work, for some its YES their form if human interaction, associations that’s important to human social development.
    Its only due to the www that these interactions are now being recorded and seen, we have river limes, BBQ, guys get together for small goal, and B Ball, on evenings after work. I know if a group that meet every Friday for Badminton then have a few beers after. Men talk sport because that’s what they like and you know what they may appreciate a woman who can converse on that level. Lets stop this bashing, this “empty social rat race” may not be for many, but who says its empty, typically looking only at the negative on closer observation one will realise nothing stays the same, and that’s why we have freedom of choices people.

  15. So damn true…….well dressed, well-spoken folks with empty heads. This environment in my humble view is a major contributor to failed relationships and marriages.

  16. Although it may not be an indication of anything but can anyone here tell me how many times daily they see public affection being displayed by couples ? Not at carnival eh , i mean year round .

  17. New Technologies , like how we became the #1 nation searching for Porn sites ?

  18. Please. This isn’t unique to Trinidad and Tobago and isn’t a reason to criticize the country. Instead how about celebrating how quickly we’ve picked up new technologies?

  19. Also we guys have to have a couple drinks to talk to a girl .I personally find that besides the men , trini women are not brave enough . If you travel to places like new york women will actually come up to you in the club and strike up a conversation and try to hook up with you , here they will watch each other all night .

  20. Same thing I’ve been saying for years. Half the time they are ducking the landlord because they partied the rent money away.

  21. I wonder why the author thinks this is a Trini problem? I have a sneaking suspicion that you would find this across the globe….Quite possibly because I have done fairly wide traveling…

  22. Sigh.
    This guy is about two tequila shots away from a Brokeback Mountain experience.
    Is liming he against? Drinking? Having few friends (or at least too few to create the critical mass to really turn up a lime)?
    What’s his beef, really?
    Alcoholism and the attendant problems it brings to modern day living?
    Or does me prescribe stayin home and drink?

  23. I was confused by the point being made……Trinis party because their lives are empty (but the writer says that she has nothing against partying)…….guys need to get another interest other than discussing football (even though the writer claims to engage in footbalk talk)…….

    I agree with Nicole Ulerie that if it doesn’t directly concern you why are you so moved to write a letter to the editor about it.

    I am well past my “party phase” but if there are those who choose to spend their Friday nights clubbing and then feel moved to post it on social network then power to them!

  24. To each his own yes. I dont really have an issue with people people liking the party scene. God knows I’ve had my full share of it! My pet peeve is the older generation who stuck on Frozen and refuse to just “Let it Go!” 😉 Nothing worse than hair-thining middle-aged men dress up in skinny jeans heading down to Paprika and Coco Lounge. 😀

  25. I wouldn’t be so harsh personally. How Letter pages work is that someone has a Eureka moment and wants to share. I don’t feel like I am the target audience anyway really. My party days are long gone.
    But I think everybody knows someone who just seems to live to be out and mingling. Once they can afford it and it isn’t messing up the rest of their life…

  26. I’m not sure I agree with the conclusion but this was a wonderful read. And i was delighted to discover that the author is a man; until I got to the paragraph that conceded that “The ladies are far ahead of us guys in this respect,” I was unsure about the author’s sex.

    The candour, the penetration and the insight were more than refreshing but the clincher was the essential truth of it all. I’ve never been on the Avenue since it became what it now is but I sense that what drives it is a huge charade waiting to have its cover blown off.

    That’s now done – temporarily!

  27. Honestly the person who wrote this article, seems to be a very insecure person. Long before social media, Trinbagonians have ALWAYS been a very social bunch. If it’s one thing we’re well known for, is lime, and fete, even during a category 4 hurricane. To assume that every person who enjoys themselves going out on a weekend, is not really happy, is ludicrous. How could you really tell what someone’s eyes are saying in a dark nightclub??? Why should this issue bother her??? It’s such a nonissue. She should concentrate on her own happiness, and leave others to find theirs, how they see fit.

  28. The good news is, many in the ridiculous social rat race will mature and move on. It is in large part a “youth thing”. One or two kids, some serious adult problems like illness, loss, death etc. and people start to realize what is truly important in life.

    Some of course will still remain the rat race, keeping up with the Jonses. But many will drop out and become authentic people. That is why in marketing, the focus is always on getting the NEXT GENERATION hooked on the nonsense.

    • 1. I am too old, but ive heard the young people already moved on to snapping etc, and facebook is now old school…
      2. There is also the possibility that some of the many will upgrade there selfie skills to selfie pics of them feeding kids and drilling for water in africa (i know of 1 trini doing this right now)
      3. If you think you can accurately determine where 10 percent of the world’s 8 billion are going with these social media trends (including leaving to have a life) you can probably become the next billionaire

  29. Well if it were a Trini thing surely u could have used some trini pictures in the post? ?

  30. I wish I would live to see the day people would stop letting what others do concern them so damn much

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