Footprints of neon paint decorate my hotel room's floor. Powder has created a rainbow of colors against my white pillow. My breath, heavily scented with rum, fills the air. “Meet in the lobby in ten,” my girl texts. Ten minutes to get ready.
Ten minutes to do it all again.
So I rise before the sun does. We all do.
Welcome to Carnival, where time is inconsequential and life is a nonstop celebration. When we reach the fete, hundreds of bodies raise plastic cups with rum filled to the brim in unison. We duck and wuk. Wine against each other. Find our way to the ground then back up. How could it be that all of this is happening again, when just four hours before we found ourselves in a similar place, with similar music, moving as though it were the first time?
I want to tell the world that Carnival is more than just scantily clad bodies gyrating against one another. It is an art, an act of defiance, a cultural tradition that grows stronger every time we answer the call of our alarms and force our bodies to move. We are dancing through life. Carrying on the tradition of slaves who rejected such a title because they knew the power of their physical and spiritual being. Who seized their freedom in fields through movement, unafraid. We are celebrating the sweetness of humanness. Our joys. Our pains. Together.
This is why Carnival is a testament to the human spirit: because you always find a way to rise again and meet the day. The fete. The rhythm. There is no other option. The sea of brown bodies glistening under the Caribbean sun like silk, the sparkle of costumes that drape these bodies, the way the words of soca are chanted, then repeated.
“Right now meh vibes up, I gettin’ on. It’s no regrets if tomorrow never comes. “Cause this is my time, I letting go. And every second’s a blessing from above.”
And what a blessing it is. Welcome to Carnival.