/tah-bang-kuh; alt: tuh-bang-kuh/
Ever felt a deeply rooted longing and insatiable desire? A sense of helplessness that eventually consumes your mind and manifests itself in the form of aches and pains, leaving you in a sort of vegetative state? Okay, it’s maybe not that drastic but you can see where I’m going with this. Some might call tabanca the west Indian equivalent to being lovesick. But it definitely does not only pertain to a yearning for someone. In one of his biggest tunes from 2013, the Soca Viking himself, Bunji Garlin, addressed a kind of tabanca that masqueraders around the world (but mainly in Trinidad) feel: A carnival tabanca.
Below you will see the various stages of this phenomenon in the hope that we can get through this together:
Phase 1. Denial
In this phase our heart rather than our head rules our belief system as we try to adjust to the idea of life without Carnival. Even though we know the season is over, we really don’t believe it. Against the better judgment of everyone around us, we can’t help but entertain fantasies of a follow-up season. We see hidden glimmers of hope buried in clear indications that it’s over. Yes, this is the phase where we are most susceptible to late night instagram & facebook reminiscing.
Phase 2. Anger
Anger can manifest in many different ways – anger at promoters and djs (“How could they do this to me? Why can’t we have more than one season per year?”), anger at God or the universe (“I thought God was a Trini! Why can’t anything ever work out for me? Why am I cursed?”), anger at people or situations associated with the tabanca, and anger at other people who don’t agree or stand with your anger (“Can you believe that the boss is expecting me to go to work now? Can’t he/she tell that I’m in pain!?”).
Phase 3. Bargaining
Bargaining often goes hand in hand with denial. Bargaining can be looking for any possible way to make Carnival return through negotiation, threats, and/or magic – for example, calling your friends to convince them to throw a Soca party even though you have never thrown a party in your life and/or petitioning the government for a summer Soca fest. And, of course, this phase is not only limited to bargaining with people. Many people bargain with The Powers That Be, promising to be a better person if only Carnival will come back. This includes your fitness instructor, your future children, and your local doubles vendor. During this stage, you may take a new interest in astrology, tarot cards or any type of voodoo that will forecast a reunion.
Phase 4. Depression (aka “de real tabanca”)
Depression, like anger, also surfaces in many different forms, for example feeling tired all the time, not wanting to do anything but lay in bed, feeling disconnected from people even when you’re with them, being on the verge of tears most of the time, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of appetite or overeating, increase in drug or alcohol use and (the big one) hopelessness. Hopelessness is the most pervasive and debilitating, It is the thing that leads us to believe that nothing will ever be or feel different than it is right now. Hopelessness makes it feel like you will never move on and that nothing will ever work out for you in the future. This is the phase where you may start bingeing on Dj Private Ryan mixes.
And speaking on Dj Private Ryan mixes, he released his 2016 Post-Carnival Relief this morning. You are welcome:
Phase 5. Acceptance
Finally, this is the phase in which we are able to make peace with the loss. It doesn’t always come on suddenly; it often happens gradually, little bit by little bit, interspersed with some of the other phases. Acceptance doesn’t always involve harmony and flowers – there is almost certain to be lingering sadness. Acceptance entails making peace with the loss, letting go of the fact that Carnival is over, and slowly moving forward with your life. Sometimes it feels like this phase will never come, which usually means you’re still struggling in an earlier phase. However, this is the phase where you restart your countdown for the next carnival (St. Lucia, Cropover, Caribana, Labor Day, Notting Hill, Berlin, Miami, etc).
Just remember, everything will be ok.