Name: Chantelle Blagrove
Age: 27 years old
Occupation: Community Manager (Finance Company) & Freelance Writer
I’m old, I’m 27 and I don’t say old in a bad way because I am so excited about my thirties, you have no idea. I know what my goals and my timelines are, and they don’t necessarily fit with everyone’s typical structure of what adulthood looks like, but you know what that’s cool.
In astrology, there’s this theory, “The Saturn Return” wherein lamest terms the star's energy feel like they force you into a never-ending existential crisis. They say it is people’s hardest years in coming of age because Saturn takes around 30 years to go around the sun and back into the same zodiac sign it was in when you were born. During the Saturn Return, historically a lot of people struggle with mental health during their 27th - 29th year. It’s during those years that you really sit and wonder about what it is you’re "doing". You look inward and start to question a lot of things and if you don’t have a good support system it’s really hard to work through it. So you can see why I’m excited about my thirties, I just can't wait to come out of that. I want to come out of the whole: "Who am I?", "What am I doing?" cycle. I want to know what I’m doing and just own that shit.
So, funny enough I went to school to be a counsellor and then punk’d out last minute and decided to pursue PR and marketing instead. I'm eerily good with people, so I assumed the two would configure easily. I didn’t go to school for it, I just ended up landing jobs that led me in that direction. What I’ve learn’t over the years is that even as an introvert I really love people and bringing them together. (Longterm Daydream), I hope to be able to bring 8-10 creatives together in my cute ass townhouse in Montreal, who don't know each other well and create a space that inspires and connects people. Basically, host a swank-ass evening that is built on the basis of good food and honest conversation. Because that’s what I honestly always crave the most out of life - honest interaction and connection. I want to do whatever I can do to start those conversations because growing up I felt like my need to express honest or raw emotion was a fault. I come from a Jamaican background and even though Jamaican women are known to be outspoken, my culture on a whole doesn't really encourage talking about the hard uncomfortable stuff. You know, the actual root things.
Fun fact: I also grew up in a very Christian household. *Laughs*, so basically I was in a cult from 13 until I was 21. During those years I was really involved. Like, I was really in it. I was a youth leader, I was on the choir, on the streets telling people they would go to hell if they didn't accept jesus as their lord and saviour. At my church specifically, I feel like it was implied to suppress a lot of things. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that it's the same for Christians as a whole, but that was my experience. Looking back I realized that a lot of the bible/teachings were taken out of context, and I was exposed to extremism. What I saw around me was that a lot of people didn't take responsibility for their actions. You would hear sermons like, “Leave it to Jesus”, but the truth is if you sexually abuse your kid you can’t just leave it to Jesus, ask for forgiveness, and then POOF! believe it’s gone. Jesus didn’t tell you to do that. You did that. And now, it should be you that has to put in the work to acknowledge and take responsibility for what you’ve done. To actually try to make it better and to allow the person you victimized to heal and grow. I have always been the person in my family that has spoken up about the "hard to talk about stuff", and the fact that trauma doesn’t just go away. It is something that continually needs to be worked on. I feel like there isn't enough conversation around how Black communities train young black girls to just put their head down and get through life. I want to create more work that disables the notion that because you are a Black woman, life is automatically supposed to be hard for you, and it's your job to just accept it and deal with it.
Truthfully, my upbringing was weird and abusive. And, this is the first time I am actually going to say this out loud. I've been writing about it a lot, I’ve just been too scared to share it. I have a huge disconnection with my mother and growing up as the youngest of 3 siblings that were much older than me, I'm aware that I carry a huge black sheep complex. I think my Mother raised me the only way she knew how, with tough love. I think this is the norm in a lot of Black communities - and you're conditioned to think that your parents beat the shit out of you because they love you. You begin to believe you deserve this treatment, and that it was for your own good. Through therapy, and just understanding on my own that life is fucking hard as shit when you're adult, I don't hold the physical and emotional abuse over my mother's head anymore. I still, however, see the effects that it has on me and the view I have of myself. I can't take a compliment for the life of me, I don't think I have ever been the person who can confidently just say what it is that I bring to the table, and my fake humility act passed down from church to me is just a really longterm form of self-deprecation. I grew up in a household where I was called white for liking the types of art, music, or just basically having the interests I have. I grew up seeing my middle sister feel the need to run away from home because she knew that she would never truly feel loved or accepted because she is a lesbian. I grew up in fear of ever being able to be my own person and sticking up for what I believe in because the bible said that without your parent's blessing you will be cursed. I am still working through the resentment I have with my Mom and how she's dealt with me and my sisters, but I have decided the best way I can do this is by acknowledging the abuse for what it is and ensure I break cycles. I'm tired of carrying this shit, to be honest. I don't want it to any longer dictate the view I have of myself. I don't want to bring it into relationships anymore, and my view of my art.
Honestly, I feel like I'd rather deal with my daddy issues a lot more than my mommy issues. I can paraphrase how fucked up my dad is, how that affected me, and where I am now with it so much easier than I can with the non-existent relationship with my mother. In short, my dad is a deadbeat who fucked out of my life pretty early on. He'd make surprise appearances when he felt like, but I didn't fully understand his inconsistencies until the truth about his occurrences of molestation in my household came up. Ha, this too is the first time I've admitted that openly in a format like this. Anyway, it made him running away make a lot more sense. I have accepted the notion that he could not be in my life because he is a sick person and he needs help. No one can really be helped without acknowledgment of the issue and their willingness to change and make amends. My issues with my mother run harder and deeper for me. They're not as obvious, cut and dry as the ones with my dad. I can't disassociate from them as easily. My view and contention with my mother are in a constant moving state because like she always felt the need to remind me growing up, she's the only parent I have.
Because I don’t have a romantic relationship to lean on, currently I feel like I am always having to rely on my girlfriends for support. I feel so guilty about it because we are all going through different life struggles. In an ideal situation, you'd usually have different people in your life to spread yourself across for different reasons, but I don’t feel like I have that. I feel like I’m constantly going to the same people. I know they don’t mind, but I still feel guilty about it and I am constantly trying to find a balance. I am so incredibly grateful for them because honestly, I would not be here if it wasn’t for the friends that I have. Like seriously, I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of you. And, I’m not religious anymore but I do believe in the universe and the universe never leaves me without. I am a total girls, girl. And, not every girl is like that, that's cool too. But for me, girls are my inspiration, support, and fuel. I try to do everything with keeping my girls in mind.
In the end, I’m still healing. I’m still in the process. Last year was the year of learning to acknowledge shit for what it is. And, this year I am still continuing to daydream just like Pisces are known to do. But, now I am believing in myself to make those dreams a reality. I am constantly in the process of telling myself that I am that bitch, even in the moments that I don’t feel like it. I am healing and I’m moving through it. I’m moving forward. I’m going to therapy. I’m writing about things that actually affect me, not just about boys and breakups.
Where am I now? Well, I’m creating my own destiny.