Interview Krishinda Powers-Duff

Interview
Krishinda
Powers-Duff
Interview
Krishinda
Powers-Duff

Which planet are you from?

I’m from the planet Venus and why am I from the planet Venus ?
Because, I feel I am one of the most womanly woman, I’ve ever known.
It’s funny because, when I was younger, I actually thought I was quite a tomboy but, what I’ve realised was that I was just a strong girl ( laughter ) and indeed women are quite strong and are warriors and fucking ferocious.
I would assume that anybody who comes from Venus, the planet of love is going to be a ferocious warrior, because love is terrifying and you need a lot of courage to live your life with love.

Who is Krishinda?

She’s a lot, a lot of people and I’m not finish, so I don’t have an answer.
Actually, I hope I never have an answer because I don’t want to ever be finished…

When I think of myself, it’s in this order:
I am an orthodox Buddhist, mother of three, midwife, American, British, Black woman, who is a serial wedder and a serial divorcer, who loves a lot, who absolutely love her life and does whatever she wants with it.
I would also add to my personal list, that I’m a big lady, who loves her body which does beautiful things for me. And I’m this really gorgeous, warm, soft, fierce and scary sometimes funny, smart being…
I am aware that here is not all there is, but I am very much here as well as very much everywhere at the same time.

Calling myself a big lady is important, because there is a lot of me and I have a lot of flesh with a big heart. It is important to me and my heart, because there are all kinds in this world and in everything there’s beauty.
I used to be a professional life model, I genuinely learned through five years of sitting on my arse in an Art school ( laughter ), about the beauty of the human body, how it works in different ways and reflects different things.
I remember ounce, modelling for one of the professors, who fell in love with these mountains in the highlands, he felt that my body reflected that, so he did this wonderful piece, all around my shape with these mountains juxtapositioned on my body, from that point of view, I think it matters but also from another angle, being who I am, I have grown to love my body.
I mean, I’ve grown up in a Western European society, where big is possibly not considered nice, so I spent quite a lot of my time, trying not to be big, until I realised I am who I am…
Maybe about ten years ago, I was still trying to go on a diet or something, my daughter came and said : “ but if it goes away, where will I put my head ”
and I thought that’s what it’s for you know. It’s supposed to be comfort, it’s warm and soft, it also carries me, gives me great pleasure. Being a midwife also, seeing women’s bodies in full fruit, in full flower, I’m a little bit obsessed with the warmth and the curves of the juicy woman, I must admit…

My ideal strangely enough, when you asked me who I am who I want to become? At the end of the day, I know that when I’m finished to be a midwife, maybe I’ll be a writer or I’m going to be a sculptress, I know you are supposed to call yourself a sculptor, but as a matter of fact, I want to be a sculptress. I want to sculpt big women, goddesses, as the way they used to be. The image of the goddess was big tits, big arses, and she had the grinning face to go along. Because I see it, I adore it, and I am it, and we all have it, it appeals to me and that‘s why, I’ll get to it.

 

What would be the main reason you are here with us?
Or said in a different manner what is the purpose of your journey among us?

Thinking about your purpose is really interesting, I don’t know if many people do that. I do it a lot, ( laughter ) I feel my purpose is to live my life to the best of my ability, to be happy but not in the sense of rolling on the floor, laughing even if it’s the case sometimes. Mostly, have that kind of confidence of life, that kind of joy, I want to be able to support people to also reveal that in their own life.
Even, if it sounds like a bit of a major kind of head, you know, we are actually all so important, we can only play our own part. I feel my part is very clear for me, I am the person who says :
“ you can do it, watch, I’ll show you ” because of that I have to make my dreams reality, because I really believe, I can lead the way for other people to do the same thing and the all point of life is to be happy and somewhere along the line, we’ve lost the art; so I’m just the happy artist, trying to help people find their own expression of joy in this life, whatever that maybe.

 

Why Barcelona?

I had my daughter here twelve years ago and work with a doctor.
I’ve been here in two stretch actually, I was here for two years, first and now I’ve been here nearly four and a half years and I came here to learn about normal midwifery, normal birth. I came here to create myself as a midwife, that was my determination.
After, I had my daughter here and left Barcelona, I went back to the UK and realised that I wanted to be a midwife, my determination was to come back and work with a group of local midwives here.
I first, came to Barcelona with my second husband we lived in Glasgow where
I was with my first husband, we decided we wanted to have a city of our own.
He loves Barcelona, he was from Chile and I thought, because I was that uneducated that if we lived in here, my children would speak Spanish like their father instead they’ re speak Catalan but whatever, you live and you learn.
It was about that romantic idea it would become our city, at the end, I made it my city, but that’s fine.
I came to learn what I didn’t realised, my life really brought me here to learn deeper lessons that just midwifery. I’ve learned how to be much more, a strong, confident woman, I’ve just really learn how to be me in Barcelona. Because this city is a motherfucker and it kicks your arse, it’s make or break here, I made myself here.

 

What do you do for a living?

I am a midwife, I look after women having babies, I look after them before and after their pregnancy. A midwife gives medical care to pregnant women, delivers babies, looks after babies in the first 6 weeks of life, my job is many things, but I’m kind of pushing the boundaries of midwifery. ( laughter )
In England they call us professional friends and I think, I push the boundaries of friends, really. I’m always professional, but I also make a lot of friends in my work because I have a tendency to fall in love with my women and their process. My job is very much my life, it makes me a living but it’s a lot more than that.
I found my own style of midwifery which is very personal, very loving, very challenging at times but I can’t imagine being anything else.

INTERVIEW KRISHINDA 3

Your experience here as an African American lady?

It’s a little bit weird because my mum is really, really American, mentality wise, I feel more Black British in my culture, so my expectations are different.
This is a burgeoning country, when it comes to cultural interactions.
I mean, it’s full of people who have been given the short end of the stick, so they’re very much full of themselves and how difficult their lives is, they don’t seem to believe that anybody else has ever had a problem.
So, they don’t really value or recognise that certain things are offensive, Barcelona in particular can be, a very offensive city. If you are non-White, specifically if you are Black, they have a lack of understanding, a lack of everything on the matter.

For example, always the same questions asked :
Where are you from?
You say “ I’m from England.”
But yes, where are you from ?
“ I’m from Bristol.” Yes But, where is your family from ?
“ Well, they are actually from the States, my granddad was from Ireland, etc.”
Yes but, where is your family from ?
“ Do you want me to tell you that I’m from Africa ?”
Yes. “ But I’m not.”
There’s a lack of understanding of the African Diaspora over centuries here and it can be quite frustrating. Spain after coming out of the dictatorship of Franco, doesn’t recognise having a history of Black whereas when you live in the UK, Blacks have a history that goes forever as far as Black queens are concerned. It’s not a big deal for your consultant doctor to be a Black man or your midwife,
I mean in London you’ll be lucky, if you find a White midwife whereas here
I believe, I’m the only Black midwife. There’s one, who is a Black, South American, who works in the hospital, I don’t even know if she’s still here.
When, I first started working here, I was confronted by hospital staff, when
I would take my ladies in, I was labelled the “cleaner” which was always great fun. Now, that I have been here longer, because it’s just me, everybody knows who I am, it’s a bit better.
I’m not trying to educate anybody, I’m just trying to do my job, be the person that I am and I don’t really want to get into it. Because if you are that fucking ignorant, you don’t really deserve my time, this is a little bit arrogant of me perhaps, but that’s my prerogative. You can think what you want, I’m the professional, I do my job in a professional manner, full stop.
I understand to a certain extent the lack of cultural interactions, because the history of this country causes people to be quite ignorant, but it’s very difficult, because the world is moving very quickly, a lot of the old Catalans affirm that they never seen so many different types of people before, from so many different places, and they really struggle and yet there is no reason to be rude.
Politeness is the cornerstone of civilisation, if you cannot keep a civil tongue in your mouth, fuck you…

My experience has been quite heavy in that sense, maybe because of the way
I carry myself, I’m often mistaken for a prostitute or at least asked if I have services to offer…

This image, I carry as afro natural, really came about, because I have two mixed race daughters, who have ridiculous amount of hair and I can’t be bothered with my own ridiculous amount of hair too, that’s why I started to dread, it just became the easiest thing. It came out of my own personal laziness as opposed to a feeling of identification. Because in the UK, I am constantly surrounded by West Indians, I don’t necessary feel that I can identify in that sense, but obviously, I have black hair and to whatever extent, it works well and it looks fine.
But also, here the ignorance enters into it, the concept of rastas as they call them, has all this sort of connotations, which actually has nothing to do with anything, except for something that they’ve seen on the internet or Bob Marley or whatever.
So, you know if you’re not a prostitute then maybe you’re from Jamaica or an African cleaner. I mean, you go from one extreme to another. At the end of the day, specially coming from a place like Britain where everybody lives with everybody, I just want to get on and it is frustrating and slightly tiring, because unlike my mother who’s very clear in everything that she is, being raised in a Black America from the sixties, fighting for her rights. I think when she walks out of the door with a very clear and comfortable feeling of separateness, it is not when I walk out the door feeling the need to take a breath and deal with ignorance, because I feel I made to be a part and it’s not my choice.

How I look, my hair, the hue of my Black, because in the Diaspora, we are so many different colours, I asked my children ounce what they identified with.
My youngest daughter who has the darker skin tone told me she identified with being a cat, which was fine. My son, who’s father is Scottish is very light skinned, identified with being Scottish and my daughter, who’s probably considered White said she identified with being English.
None of them identified with a colour and I found that interesting whereas,
I was raised in a different way. I’m quite happy, they identified with a place, because I think they have more freedom, not that things won’t be put upon then, but they recognise, that’s not their fucking problem.

 

Integration?

It kind of goes back to the same thing, living in the UK everybody is different but there’s a kind of commonality, especially if you live in a big city. If you live in London for instance, in Bristol or Brighton, Manchester. We just have been around each other for so long and I think that, it was very naive of me, thinking that wherever I would go in Europe it would the same. Strange enough,
I didn’t feel that way going to the States, because I’m very clear about the lines of separation and that is one of the reason why, I don’t enjoy living there.
My initial feeling was to come to Spain and get on, as I did in Britain, except
I’ll have to speak spanish, the barrier would be the language. What have learned is that you never integrate here, in Barcelona, in Catalonia if you’re not Catalan then you’re not getting in, which is o, because I don’t want to get in. I also have Spanish friends who don’t fit after living here for years, you just made to feel you are not one of us.

What is love for you ?

Love is a splendid thing, there’s all kind of love obviously, I do love my children, my mother bladi bladi bla….
But frankly, what I’ve learned at forty five fucking years old, over the past two years, is that love is about having a fantastic, amazing, respectful and dignified relationship with yourself. If you have that, then you have the most loving relationships with everybody in your environment and if you don’t have that, love becomes suffering.
It’s so, new to me and I’m just dancing around in the field of feeling the love for the first time in my life because, I love me. The love that I have for the people in my life, has become glorious because, I love and respect myself so much that I have that much respect and love for all of them, so it’s just about that constant reflection.

 

Did you found it tough to find romantic love ?

The tough part, was dealing with my own shit, that was hard, I spent a year, toughing it out, dealing with my own self disrespect and really transforming that feeling of telling myself that I was not good enough. It gets a lot deeper or murkier than that, I needed to get it out of my life, so I could have a nice loving relationship.
The hardest part was developing that relationship with myself and then the romantic part with another person came very easily actually, it came strikingly out of the blue.

 

How did you find love ?

Love found me, ( big laughter ) it just came from a place, I never thought it was going to come from, thanks to the diversity of our Diaspora and cultures as Black people in Europe and specifically in Spain.
Because, I actually ended up in this gorgeous relationship with this African man which is quite funny because the idea would not have occurred to me and
I don’t know why, culturally I supposed. Here, I am now in this luscious, beautiful relationship with this man, it’s quite interesting because, I think it’s a very Barcelonian relationship. A lot of Africans are coming to Spain while their travelling through Europe straight from Africa. For the first time in my life
I’ve had the opportunity to interact with people who are Africans from the mother land on their journey where Europe is all new to them.
So here, I am with this man with the funniest smile and the warmest person,
I think I ever known with the most amazing ability to endure to not be crushed,
I guess, it’s that thing that you have for being just one thing which I have no concept of, that kind of strength that is deeper than their lives.
It’s interesting, it’s a very visceral and very physical feeling, my body fits with his, it seems like a very strange thing to say we are all human beings, but…
I mean, my first husband was Glaswegian, my second husband was mixed-raced Glaswegian-Jamaican born in Glasgow, my third husband was an Italian-Chilean, and they were all good you know, but something seems, so known with my partner now.
It’s so difficult to explain but for him everything about my body is right and lighter, apparently, I’m not actually Black but whatever, ( laughter ) I didn’t realise that, but hey the first time in my life someone has ever say that to me.
All of me, as woman is everything desirable and there’s no feeling in him that anything about me, is alien or different or strange and I found in myself this ability to be with him in a way, I’ve never been with anybody else.

Going back to basics, it’s a challenging relationship too, because I have two passports actually, I have the most amazing passport in the world, apparently, I’m American and British, even-though I do feel British.
I do not feel less than anybody, I feel as entitled as everyone, I expect to be treated exactly the same, I have no expectation that anybody has any right to treat me any less. Whereas my partner expects that people will see him poorly, simply because he’s African and it blows my mind that this concept can be acceptable from his point of view, but also that people actually feel and act to support this view.
I come from such a privilege experience, being with him, allows me to understand the great privilege that I have. But also, It’s very interesting,
as I’ m learning to see life from somebody who was born without that privilege, that the same token, I’m teaching him that privilege is his.

 

Do you have your own family with you ?
Your experience, raising kids in Spain ?

I have three children, and we all came here four and half years ago at that time, my kids were eight, ten and twelve and a half. That was an interesting age,
I had hope that they were young enough to be able to move and fit in and not have any problems. The first two, my oldest children did that, but they had lived here before, so maybe it had something to do. My last child, suffered being here, she does have Asperger, so that obviously make it much harder.
One of the things about living in Spain is that it is about thirty years behind with a lot of things, children who have special needs even something as slight as Asperger, fall into the category of a new concept which makes it all the more difficult. Education wise, it’s very poor and I don’t recommend it, but life experience wise, my children now have language abilities, and they are much more confident, much more free than they would have been in the UK.
In the centre of Barcelona where I live, it’s quite a safe place to be, so my kids can walk themselves to school, go and see their mates, they have a lot of physical freedom that I don’t feel they would have, living in England.
Going back to the drawback with education, although my two oldest children, I’ve done fantastically well, my youngest daughter was going to struggle anyway, but her struggle is compounded because teachers are poorly educated about children with special needs and the education system is learned by rut, everybody learns in a different way, they haven’t revamped, they are a bit behind, in any case.
I had my children here before, they were very young, they were four and two, at that time I felt it was a great city, when you have very small children,
it’s fantastic, as they grow, it becomes more of a challenge. My son took himself to Scotland of his own, he let me know what he needed to do, because he realised, what he needed was not on offer here, and I do think there’s a massive lack of opportunities for teenagers in Spain especially for the talented brains.

 

Spirituality ?

I’ve been an orthodox Japanese Buddhist since I was fifteen, it’s been thirty years.
I learned about chanting and Buddhism when I was eight, from a friend of my mother and it seems to make sense. I could chant for what I want and I would get it, I was about eight, it was cool. And then, when I turned fifteen, I wanted to study art and go to a school of performing art, I auditioned ounce I didn’t get in, my mother’s friend encouraged me to chant, I did and managed to get in.
I found at the time that Buddhism was about unlocking the absolute universal power in my life, from that point of view, from being very young to grow up in adulthood, I followed through.
I realised, there’s no disconnection between spirituality and daily life and it’s really about being that spiritual being. The battle is to have the courage to manifest that in a compassionate way to support other people to do the same.
I don’t sit on mountain tops and meditate, I chant in the morning, I chant in the evening, I studied to learn about the human condition, to understand my life,
to strive to reveal my wisdom. In this Buddhism, Buddha is a solely enlightened human being he is not a God, just an everyday person, who is aware of the fact that we all have universal wisdom within our lives.
My spirituality is very day to day, basic and practical but it’s also very universal.
It’s about being in rhythm and trusting that your life has all the wisdom, all the answers, all the power, all the courage and all the compassion. Everything that you need is within and you just need to trust and let it out at the right time,
going for your dreams while you are supporting other people to do the same,
I guess that’s it.

 

What makes you laugh uncontrollably ?

My man makes me laugh like crazy, he’s so fucking funny,( big laughter )
my children make me laugh like crazy and just silly little things, just moments, it’s kind of difficult to explain and surreal. My mother makes me laugh like crazy too, there’s this kind of cultural understanding of course, within the Diaspora we all have it. But there’s this particularly African American kind of way of seeing things and talking. We have moment when we touch on that and you laugh until you cry. It’s fascinating, because I see it at the source now, because my African boyfriend has it, it’s really funny to see him and my mum together, ever so funny. Living with my mother while raising my children with her for the last eight years, has allowed my children to also have that twist. My third husband couldn’t get it, that was not part of his culture this kind of laughing until you weep or until you can’t breathe. My second husband whose mother was Jamaican did have it,
and we laughed so much all of the time, it was just ridiculous, but strangely enough my first husband, being Scottish actually really had it too, it was in their culture as well.
I always say that, if a man is funny he can laugh your arse into bed, it doesn’t make any difference what he looks like not that he’s not beautiful, if he can make you laugh, he’s got the entrance way to your heart, it’s something quite deep and cultural that hits you that makes you lose it.

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