Sargasso Sea is the area of the North Atlantic Ocean that lies between Europe
and the Caribbean. Ships often found
themselves caught amid this space and it was concluded that the people on these
ships would be stuck between two cultures, due to the central location of the
sea. This centrality forms the basis of the novel Wide Sargasso
Sea by Jean Rhys, the protagonist residing in an unfeasible space between
two cultures. The novel is about colonisation, a battle with identity and
belonging. Upon reading through the narrative, I recognised the correlation
between Antoinette’s life and my own.
My life has always been a perpetual navigation between two conflicting
earliest memory is of me sitting in my grandfather’s window, leaning against
the glass, marvelling at what appeared to be life; the effervescent world
grandfather was a barber, the front of our house had been converted into his shop.
It was positioned on a busy road with a convenient bus stop beside our front
door. Sometimes the line of people awaiting the bus became so long that passing
cars would slow down to inspect the source of commotion. Others walked by,
momentarily glancing and then losing themselves in their strides.
couldn’t access myself because the darkness was too alive in my veins and I didn’t know how to get out of my body.
I had to massacre this sadness; all
I could do was bleed it onto paper to forge a sense of vacancy in my body. I wrote endless myopic words, I kept going because
sometimes it was a way for the secrets to surface, the only means of survival. Just
words on a page, letters touching, infinite spaces between them. Sometimes the
letters didn’t have any correlation and other times they met like long lost
lovers under the sun.
I immediately wondered
why the bus driver could not have waited an extra few seconds for everyone to
be seated before perilously manoeuvring the vehicle back onto the road. I held
onto the metal pole for dear life, searching for the least suspicious-looking
person to sit next to. I needed to make a quick decision because the driver was
going to turn left in approximately three seconds and there was a high chance
of me losing my balance and being unable to retain my composure. I fell onto
the closest seat and greeted my neighbour who proceeded to unapologetically
mock the vivacity of my hair. The scent of Calpol and cigarettes lingered on
his leather jacket; it must have been a wild night.
thinking about our capacity to experience emotions, the extent to which we
allow ourselves to feel them, the magnitude of their depth, and their
in various intensities and frequencies, but how do we measure them? How do we establish
whether to feed or disregard a sentiment? What is it that determines how much
of the emotion we are going to allow ourselves to feel? Are we confining and
desensitising ourselves from our own sentiments through this process of
extraction? By eradicating our capacity to feel something or not feeling it in
its entirety, are we internalising pain and storing it in our bodies?