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  • Writer's pictureJayma Anne Montgomery

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED (JAMAICAN) TIGER SINGS

I pride myself on being self-aware. All good writers are incredibly introspective. Writers in my preferred genres (personal essays and memoirs) thrive on it. And so, by yesterday, I was pretty sure that I was going to blog about the multiple tirades I have had this week.


The angry black woman is a tired trope. I have fought against this stereotype my entire life. But I’m not just any melanin-rich woman, I’m the Caribbean kind. I think our mothers pass it on to us in their breast milk. If that doesn’t do the trick, then we spend the rest of our lives getting interminable, unsolicited lectures about why “wi no bow” and “duppy know who fi frighten.” (Translation: “We (Jamaicans) don’t bow to anyone” and “monsters or bullies know who they can frighten or intimidate.”) The kids at school didn’t nickname my mother “The Cobra” for no reason. I have witnessed her verbal cutdowns of dishonest salespeople, persistent telemarketers, and anyone who dares speak ill of Jesus or the Republican party.





I spent most of my adolescence internally festering with anger, determined not to follow in The Cobra’s footsteps. By the time I got to college, it burst forth with a vengeance, shocking everyone including me. I hurt a lot of people and became the angry black woman that melanin-light people tiptoe around. I’m not gonna lie, wrath can feel immensely satisfying. But it’s also immensely alienating. The thing about being feared is that you rarely get to interact with the real, uninhibited version of people. You just become this blow torch that people tolerate having around just so can singe the hair off of people on their behalf, but none of them are interested in actually getting to know the real you.


And so, I have spent the better part of seventeen years submitting my personality, upbringing, and Jamaican heritage to the person, teachings, and example of Jesus. The older I get, the harder it gets to bridle my tongue and maintain social discipline. “Be angry but sin not…” (Eph 4:26) unless you’re a black person who wants racial justice NOW. “The anger of man produces not the righteousness of G-d” (1 James 20)…unless you’re a Jamaican who is fed up or feels disrespected. Hopefully, you get my point. I refuse to be someone who mentally adjusts scripture to accommodate my bad behavior and suit my personal tastes.


Once in a while, though, I Iet the tiger out of her cage. I think it’s a healthy and effective strategy. I just do my best to just make noise but not actually maul anyone. I think I’m about 75% successful at it.





With all of that said, I have chosen to shake the dust off of my feet and move on from the numerous employers who have strung me along only to ultimately not hire me for (in my opinion) vague or poorly articulated reasons.


To the lazy or fake book reviewers out there who have taken my money in good faith only to produce AI-generated reviews, thanks for the opportunity to grow in wisdom. I did my IG rant and outed the one who didn’t even bother to read the synopsis on the back of my book—mislabeling my book as sci-fi and fabricating everything from the plot to the protagonist Mia—judgment is coming for you. I may never see it, but I serve a just and compassionate G-d.







To the scamming fashion companies out there who keep messaging me with offers to be their brand ambassador—offers that promise sign-on bonuses and payments for posting Instagram photos of myself wearing their “free items” that they are charging a (supposedly) one-time fee of $50 in shipping costs—I got your number now. All of you will be provided with some light reading from the Better Business Bureau before I block you.


To the "Perky and Toned Barbies" at Pure Barre Lake Norman who refused to let me into the class that I paid for because I was FOUR MINUTES LATE, shame on you for being a woman-owned business and lacking grace for mothers of young children with careers and a chaotic world to juggle. Thanks for yet another opportunity to grow in wisdom about the type of fitness regimen that works best for me at this stage of life and enjoy my three-month membership money. You will continue to have my polite but frigid countenance grace your studio twice a week since it seems you won’t allow me to cancel my membership. Yelp! knows my sorrow and so will Google reviews. None of this is vengeance—its consequence.


Truly, just writing this has been a ton of fun and extremely therapeutic. Not all people are dishonest and unreasonable. I wouldn’t even say that most people are this way. But there is enough of it to poison the soul with despair about how horrible the world is. Sometimes it can be. But the G-d who I believe created it, intended it for good and promises to redeem it for His good purposes. This is your world, Lord, and some of the beings you delegated authority over it are mucking it up. Make haste to help us—make haste to save us from ourselves.


Until then, I’m going to keep on writing and firmly placing my faith back where it belongs—not in people but in the G-d who made them.


For even more fun, here's a song by Elephant Man that sums up how Jamaicans deal with disrespect. Fan dem off! Give dem di whip! Bun out bad-minded people, mek dem resign. Trample dem wit di dance. GWEH! GWEH!


Feel free to message me for the translation, lol:




Stay Thoughtful, Friends

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