Have the Courage to Believe

This morning as I hurried to catch my Executive Bus to work (I classified the transport because… ūüôā ), I saw a rasta man close in on me…being the competitive wench I am, I was darned if I were about to let this old man beat me to the end of the street. ¬†His locs were gray but a staunch distraction from the youthful look in his face and his steps. ¬† I quickly announced that there was no way he was gonna beat me in this race…lest he started wondering why I kept glancing at him and was out of breath…as the race led on. ¬†He casually chomped on his raw cucumbers, as my feet argued and complained about this another fruitless distress I was putting myself through to win an imaginary race.

He looked at me and smiled, then remarked…’oooh you making a baby deh man’ and in that instant, I was shocked. ¬†‘You know you so right’, I responded…this is the seventh month of my pregnancy, and as his words landed on my consciousness…I remembered, I was making a boy…making a man. Everything I said, thought, felt, read, heard, ate, how I slept, how many draws I took, everything was contributing to making this human being growing and moving inside me, soooo actively might I add. ¬†In that instant, I was stunned, brought back to reality when this rasta angel said…’dawta, is a blessing’, take care…but me aguh leave yuh now’, and with that he was gone…all the kill me a kill up me self, di man just glide on past me. ¬†Leaving me in my stupor, I was making a man…a gentleman.

My encounter this morning made me conscious of the process of pregnancy, life and choices above the biological, physical and even emotional rhetoric. ¬†Yes I am 30 weeks today and the baby is the size of a cabbage and weighs almost 3 pounds, my timelines are flooded with cute baby boy things as google understands what I want to see, sleeping is a mess and my doctors visits are bi-weekly. ¬†I literally sneer at people to not touch my stomach and I am always tired and thirsty. ¬†There is the other part to making a baby that I have not been focusing on in spite of many reminders sent to me from beyond it seems, randomly but clear…’you are making a baby.’…’this human is of your intention,’ ‘you have a role to play.’

I have always wanted a boy, way back before I never ever thought of having children and imagined adopting, it would be a boy. ¬†I wasn’t ever into anything female save for humans, my toys were male, my teddies were all male, my pets were male. ¬†I just loved boys. ¬†So I would talk about the outfits and hairstyles I would put my lil dapper one in, how he’d have respect, honour and integrity and know for sure how to treat women well. ¬†I got excited thinking about the challenge or raising a boy to a man. ¬†When I got pregnant with my first child, I wanted a boy…boys are known to love their mamas and I wanted that love for me and me alone. ¬†All along I was told I was having a boy until the 8th month…she decided to show herself one last time…and where the penis was, was supposedly replaced by a vagina and my heart sank to the ground so bad I couldn’t even come up with a name for her. ¬†In the hospital a member of my clan…gave me two choices, Madison or McKenzie and I chose Madison, and eventhough I never liked girls, this princess has stolen my heart, and I am still working through the glitter and the pink, and the attitude but in every milisecond, it brings me joy.

Madison ushered in the experience of happiness, and self-love in the midst of some critical painful situations. ¬†I am so grateful to have experienced being a mother, and I will say it is one of the most life-changing amazing feelings ever. ¬†I would do it again…and wanted to do it again. ¬†This time I wanted a boy. ¬†I am grateful that my wishes have been granted, and this baby¬†Amir deZyon, is already teaching me the courage to believe.

It takes a lot of courage to believe. ¬†Believing is projecting without doubt that what you want you will have and that takes some serious bravery. ¬†What if you don’t get it…this time or this way…and are forced to experience the shame whether publicly or even privately that what you thought would be isn’t, and perhaps that you are crazy. It takes courage to believe in yourself, in your relationship, in your children, but it is definitely worth going for. ¬†Have the Courage to Believe!!!

 

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This age of information…to share or not to share

Are you enjoying the Aquarian Age or does it freak you out a little. The age of freedom, individuality, technology, spirituality and turning everything we have been taught…the entire foundation of life as we know it…on its head!

As we struggle with the whole idea of sharing when we come from a place where certain things are best left unsaid, many people struggle with wanting to share…needing an outlet to express themselves while many others just wish people would shut up and still hold that somethings must be kept private. Facebook and social media generally makes it a little challenging to keep your business private, especially with little subliminal prompts like…’what’s on your mind’, ‘how are you feeling today’. Some of us want to share so bad, our opinions matter…yet we are still faced with Piscean systems that restrict us sharing our opinions and that could really harm us in many ways.

When to share and why?

Funny enough I have always been a sincere proponent of sharing, as a way to connect with people and free some ideologies and experiences. Believe it or not…many people experience similar situations and sharing could help someone to feel less hopeless and more inspired, not only that they aren’t alone…but also the lessons learnt and various survival/coping strategies that could result in us achieving personal success more efficiently.

Silence/secrecy for me is the ultimate prison, the darkness allows for abuse and victimization, fostering loneliness and despair.

A problem cannot be a problem without the existence of a solution…but getting stuck in the quicksand of our current circumstances can affect our vision…and sharing or providing a supportive environment for sharing could just possibly maybe help us all to see a little more clear.

So, what to do when the sharing is too much?

First you must acknowledge and celebrate the fact that you have a choice! And get this…allowing people to share, gives you even more autonomy over your choices, by allowing you to see early and clearly what you appreciate and what you don’t appreciate. You have freedom of choice to align/expose yourself to the sharings that fit into your own experiences…eliminating any sort of distress or pleasure from forcibly being exposed to things you don’t like. I know it’s alot to appreciate, as being forces to do or experience things have been a mainstay feature of the Piscean age…we had to eat…had to see…had to do what we were told and expected to do…choices were limited.

So if you don’t like something…focus on the things you like! Move on…it’s ok to be happy, blissful and inspired 100% and without the use of drugs. Your own ability to choose…can be your new drug!

Rad isn’t it!

Let’s hope for magic

I wasn’t planning on commenting on the Krystal Tomlinson/Beenie Man hot topic as the honest truth is I am in two minds literally…about it.

On one hand I believe strongly that a woman should have complete autonomy over what she does, when, where and with whom. I fully ascribe to the superwoman ideology and imagine all beautiful women with secret capes smashing stereotypes n winning all the time…and so no one should give a damn if the beautiful articulate 26 year old decides to have a child by ‘di girls dem sugar’…go girl and tell your naysayers to go suck an egg….or in Jamaican terms go chuck Choo dem mumma.

My other mind, the not so idealistic one, the one with the experience and less open to romanticizing finds myself praying that she does have all the strength in the world to face what’s coming, hoping that the Gods are kind to her. The truth is as independent as women are, pregnancy and child rearing opens you up to alot of dependencies, financial of which is the least. A man legally has equal rights to a child as the woman does and some men don’t leave those rights up to chance, some men will make your life a living hell throughout your Co-parenting if things don’t go as they wish, and so for as long as forever seems, as a mother you may have to deal with a man that you once thought was ideal who for some reason or the other is no longer. That’s not cute and there is nothing independent about that!

Parenting is a 24 hour job, it requires planning, strategizing, alignment of values and goals. It requires unity in and on principles by which you will manage your now codependency. It is not something you can walk away from. It requires consistency and respect as well as a commitment to creating an enabling environment….at least ideally. In the event that all these are not present, you cannot just wish the non-compliant partner adeui…you have to swallow alot and settle, for a less than ideal circumstance to the detriment of your stress levels and perhaps the quality of life and experience you had planned for your child.

The other part of this Krystal Beenie saga from experience is….experience teaches wisdom. It is usually those situations of little value that we ‘allow’ to happen because we think them inconsequential that sidelines us…the little donut we ate yesterday when passing Pastry Passions that becomes the one that grows on an shows up our bellies. It is important for us to be purposeful in all our actions, yes it is alot of responsibility and very little fun…and heck we all love a little fun. So it’s understandable to slip…a little. Who you have a child with…based on the aforementioned is not something you ‘allow’ to slip, and even though the act of creating children is usually a fun one, do not be deceived into thinking what’s worthy of fun is worthy of the grand responsibility of raising a child or lifelong codependency.

With that being said…magic still exists and it could be that Krystal and Beenie are one of those random perfect match ups who in spite of all the drama will make it out. For the sake of another child…I pray this is so.

Life goes by fast…real fast

Life goes by fast. I’m sure at some point we have all heard it, and for fleeting moments we all feel it, but then the demands of the current force us to get over this quickly and move on…only to have time fly even faster.

The hamster wheel-roller-coaster…life.

The more responsibilities you gather it seems, the faster the wheels turn. You have a job and/or are an entrepreneur, your wheels spin. You have family members you care about, the wheels spin. You have one child, dare say two, the wheels are on overdrive, school, relationships, friends, bills, goals…spin spin spin spin. Crammed for time and the demands placed on your time by all your responsibilities…you spin for almost like an eternity, falling asleep only to wake up and jump on the wheel again. Days become years, years become decades, and it gets to a point where want it or not…ready or not…the wheel begins to slow down…you get old.

Sometimes if you are fortunate, or depending on how you look at it…deliberate, you may be able to look back at the road(s) your wheels graced and see some tracks…some impressions, impact. If you are unfortunate…or depending on how you look at it…less deliberate you may not be able to see much or see what you thought you would see.

The difference is how purposed, deliberate and aware were your spinning moments.

Tips for liking what you see when you look behind you:

  1. Know thyself: Truth is this whole idea of knowing thyself can be overwhelming and in fact misleading. The human being, mind, and desires are always changing and in fact should always change. So knowing thyself entirely can be a massive and sometimes distressing thought if you take the term literally. We grow every day. Know thyself really means:
    • make it a priority to spend time with yourself
    • do things for yourself
    • be alone with yourself
    • treat yourself
    • reward yourself
    • listen to yourself
    • love yourself
    • prioritize your self
    • be about yourself…and I could go on and on.
  2. Goals – set Goals: Your life is like any other business or venture, including education etc that you embark on. Every single activity you engage in must make sense. So start with Objective setting. Didn’t the books tell us to how to set objectives and goals. Be S.M.A.R.T. about it. Make your objectives:
      • Specific
      • Measurable
      • Achievable
      • Relevant
      • Time-bound.

    People tend to try this goal setting around the new year which isn’t bad, the issue is they don’t build in the M&E structure, Monitor and Evaluate. At some point, you have to get off the wheel a little and monitor and evaluate your progress, re-strategising/re-setting if necessary. This could be monthly or quarterly, depending on how closely you need to be monitored. Build in a rewards systems as well.

  3. Be deliberate about creating your clan: Old time people have some phrases for it, like ‘lie wid dog, yuh rise wid flea’, or ‘show me yuh friends and I tell yuh who you are’.

If you are an avenger like me, this will sound a little bit jarring to you. You may even defend your own immature chicken-chest theory that you are an individual uninfluenced by the people around you. Not because your friends, lets say smoke, means you have to smoke too. Ride with that kinda ideology and you can forget the whole process…your life will just keep flying fast…and the tracks u see behind you will be very unpleasant. Full stop. Seriously. Youth and inexperience can be blamed for a few years or God-forbid decades of this thought…however, it doesn’t need to last forever and thankfully its not irreversible. It may be even help focus you a bit more…having had a few years of unintentional abandon (carelessness). Jim Rohn posits that each individual is the average of the 5 persons they spend the most time with, these people are critical to their success/failure or mediocrity. Let it sink it. Take an audit. No, I am not advocating that you get rich and switch or cut off family members that are not ‘there’ yet. I am advocating that you be more purposed in rationalising and respecting your time. Spend less time with the people who are not aligned with the Objectives we spoke about in point 2 above, and fill that time with activities/people that are more aligned with your goals, reading or learning is a good way to do this.

A bonus truth is: all is easier said than done. We can end up being a Jack of All Trades but Master of None. We know the facts…know the theory and life has beaten many of us senselessly with the lessons, but for some reason we still lack the carry-through. We’ve watched the videos, read the books, read the blog-posts, similar to this one…we have gotten so advanced that we don’t even need to finish reading the posts or watching the videos anymore because we know for certain what will come next…we know it…we know it all. ūüôā Yet, where are we…anywhere near better off…no. Or so we think!

Monitor and Evaluate!

Monitor and Evaluate!

Monitor and Evaluate!

Jamaicans have a term: WAH NUH DEAD NUH CALL IT DUPPY! translated in essence means…never give up, once there is life there is an opportunity to rise again…and again!

When we all have a story

Social media has been known and I believe researched to contribute to depression, and I can certainly understand why.¬† The best pictures make it up…the ones where the lighting is right or we are wearing our favourite colour, the best days when all is right…constantly we are fed with these ‘perfect’ images of the ‘perfect’ life.¬† Users are careful not to be too real with their posts for fear of people actually knowing what is really going on.¬† Somewhere at some point, our vulnerable subconscious-es are tricked into thinking the filtered pictures and posts are real life and life is great for everyone, except of course us.

We remain addicted to our timelines or the timelines of the subjects of our low-key obsessions, annoyed that our own face is breaking out…or we are putting on a little unflattering weight.¬† Lunch isn’t the appetizing meal we had as a payday treat, as we planned our posts, but rather a PB&J we packed and some office instant coffee.¬† Our bosses are assholes but the reality is JPS won’t accept that as an excuse for an unpaid bill. The kids are cute but feeding the critters is a task, and we have no idea where their lunch for next week is hiding…again.¬† The ferris wheel of daily life isn’t slowing down, as the routines carry on with dire consequences should we harbour a thought of stepping away or taking a break.

We need our friends…we need our parents…we need our partners to be who we paint them to be.¬† We need the money and the answers…we need rest, we need a break.¬† Our stories are heavy, the wounds of our past really not healed.¬† There’s no real answer to why we wake up each day, why we go through all the things we do, why do our challenges seem insufferable, why our angels die, yet the demons live to terrorise us and tear down the positives we try to build in life.¬† There are no answers.¬† The ferris wheel will always be spinning and will so do until you choose the things that are important to you.¬† Just understand that in making a choice, there’s no way you can have it all.¬† All choices have consequences, and you always have the ball.¬† It could be that your family is most important to you and with that being said, no job will keep you after 2.¬† It could be that money is important to you and therefore running after him is worth the bags and outfits it can buy or the bills it can pay.¬† While, letting him go is reinstating you and your children to a place of extreme poverty, albeit with hungry happy smiles on your faces and lasting peace in your hearts.

We all have a story of trial and terror, the introduction and cover may give an idea, but it is us that fills its pages.¬† Don’t lean to your introductions or pay your cover any mind, get to writing and sharing and building into who you are by virtue of your owned and directed choices and accepting their related consequences with grace and poise.

When is it time to move on?

Recently, while making the now daily walk to pick up my toddler from school it dawned on me that there are three guiding principles an individual would benefit from applying to themselves:

a) BE PRESENT and BE HONEST. Understand that you are exactly where you need to be, right now. It is critical, regardless of where you are, or rather where you should be…that you stay very far from accepting other peoples negative criticisms as fact. Messing up is part of blessing up!

b) LIKE WHAT YOU LIKE! It is easy (particularly as women) to not be too clear on what we like. As absurd as it sounds, many of the things we do are not necessarily things that please us authentically. Don’t be too stressed about it, just take time to question yourself about how you feel about a particular thought, idea, thing…you may find that how you thought you felt was really a matter of socialization and not fact. Really get to KNOW yourself.

c) LEARN! Never before has it been so easy to learn something new. The internet has made it that much easier. Have fun with it…challenge yourself to break out of your cocoons and grow with each new lesson.

So when is moving on the right thing to do?:

As a living being…growth is natural and change should be looked on as an opportunity. Imagine the horrible state the world would be in if caterpillars never left their skin. If the metamorphosis never happened, a world without the beauty and purpose of butterflies.

It is time to move on when:

There is no growth.

If you have been employed to a company for over a year and you have not noted any personal or inspired growth, it is time perhaps time to re-evaluate yourself:

a) BE PRESENT and BE HONEST. Is the job fulfilling your needs, are you fulfilling you company’s needs?

b)Do you actually LIKE your job, and does your job LIKE you. Check your energy when you think about work…do you get excited or are you sad/angry? If you are energised but still feel as though you are not fulfilling your company’s needs, and it is not fulfilling your needs, speak with your boss about what you both need to GROW

c) Are you able to LEARN anything that can improve your company or your ability to serve, and after you have learned it…is there an opportunity to implement what you have learnt?

I bet after these 3 processes, you will be a lot more clear on when to leave, remember…everything needs to grow including your company, you don’t need to feel anxious to part ways. A door always opens.

butterfly

Naked

There is a certain kind of power in standing in your truth. A certain kind of power and defiance in nakedness, rawness, naturalness…and somebody knows it.

The self help scammers (I’m just bitter, all the motivation speeches and books in the world never seem to move me long enough) talk about it as a base ‘know yourself’, ‘to thine ownself be true’. We know them, but I cannot be the only one that for whom this message flies over my consciousness.

Truth is…those who are at a place where they need to Know Thyself are usually super uncomfortable with self and constantly trying to find ways to look at self ‘differently’.

The sick cycle

The black hair industry…a half trillion, or in other words a US $500 billion industry is a real indicator/demonstrator, if there was any…of a group who does not truly know them self or accept themselves. It lends itself to question, if black women and other consumers of the black hair industry in their bid to escape or redefine naturalness have also reneged their power.

We have accepted and we teach our young women that their hair in its natural state of black nappiness wherever it falls on that spectrum, is not appropriate and will be a character that will keep us unsuccessful, unhappy and uncelebrated. We have accepted and teach our girls, and consequently our boys, that rather than the freedom and ease that comes with our natural-born hair, the burning from hot combs or the chemical burn wounds from hair straightening creme and the damage it does to our crowns and our consciousness is just right…as beauty comes with pain.

The people holding bag after all the chemical wounds and the resulting hair loss etc from the industry are not the people using the products!…smile.

I was born and raised in Rockfort Kingston, one of the most notoriously violent communities, I went to school, as the system prescribed, earned a degree and for a time did great things. I am still living in Rockfort and struggling in spite of my best efforts and intentions. The truth, I look around me at the systemic poverty, I look at my all-age school mates who all seem to not have moved an inch in their lives. What were they doing when I was being great…I’m sure they are wondering what is she doing back here. I was born in Rockfort and for years I avoided that fact…but it is all true. I accept it. I will stand in power of its truth.

Follow my other blog about life in a Kingston Garrison…there are good things as there are ugly things.

Www.kingstontoo.wordpress.com

I don’t know what you did last summer…and it bothers me

Jamaicans have a saying, “weh yeye nuh si hart nuh leap”, translated to mean, ‘what you didn’t see or rather don’t know, will not cause any pain or confusion.¬†

I believe quite the opposite. What you already know can’t hurt you…as you know what to do for sure and what to expect. On the other hand, what you don’t know is what you should fear, not only do you not know what to expect…you also have no idea, how to prepare for what you don’t expect, even worse is the situation then that you expect all things…frantically looking out for the worse there is that only could come.¬†

Surprises are not my thing when knowing is an obsession. People have sadly developed mechanisms to hide who they really are, in the folds of who they pretend to be, that you honestly never ever know who you are dealing with…ever. This intricate skill of deceit breaks so many hearts and dreams unnecessarily, when all that was required was the plane to be honest…and on that same plane…the tact of being non-judgmental with both truly understanding that as water has its own level…and should be allowed to flow unhindered or else there will be dire circumstances, so it is with people. We will all benefit from honesty and frankness, with no one being made to feel bad about who they really are between their intricate folds, allowing people to follow their bliss away from their pain.

I know I don’t know the truth about what you did last summer, and it doesn’t stop my heart from leaping.

Monkey Business

I would like to start this post with a lament. The kind where you hold your belly and bawl in Jamaican, like:
‘Lawd jesus crise…a wah di raas duh some ah unuh’,

The internet and social media has afforded every single person an opportunity to be vocal and express their opinions on any and everything. This is good in some ways but terrible in others.

Recently, the net lit up with posts and videos bashing H&M for its new jungle-themed campaign and the ‘unfortunate’ image of a black male child, wearing a green hoodie, dubbed ‘the coolest monkey in the jungle’,h&m my usual black-tinted lenses, didn’t initially find the the upset in the image, and even after the many videos and posts, I still don’t find it. To be frank, I started questioning myself, wondering if this meant, I wasn’t as black/afro-centric as I thought I was, I couldn’t find an ounce of ill-feeling toward the image or the campaign which also feature a white boy with an orange shirt, dubbed ‘Survival expert’. What I initially noticed was that there was no female in the images…I guess that was my feminist lens..(shrug).

After all the videos and posts…all I could feel was…what is so wrong with Monkeys, as far as I know, Monkeys are super smart, scientifically proven to be one of the smartest most evolved creatures, with Chimps putting human memory to shame. White people are genetically known as not being very awesome or even smart in the survival category, heck a little sunlight with bake these non-melanin having human breeds. So what exactly is going on!!! H&M is not the first brand that has done shady things…others have outright expressed their not so flattering opinions relating to race, gender etc.

If not careful, we stand the risk of creating situations we really don’t want, by placing our energies and attentions in the wrong place. As opposed to finding problems and tearing down things that we don’t like, we really should focus on supporting the things that we do like. Kudos to Puff Daddy, deep dark brown Puff Daddy and his Sean John clothing line for stepping up and offering the said Monkey a contract with him, moved by this incident to do something (at least publicly)other than run his mouth for likes and mentions.

Instead of cussing and fighting about disgusting food and shitty service at JoJo’s Jerk Pit, take you uptown friends to Kushites Vegetable Cuisine located at Eden Gardens for fantastic ambiance with Gourmet food that is actually good for you and owned by black Jamaicans, Keisha McDonald and Kush! Support your local designers, our local beauty queen turned Politician, the beautiful Lisa Hanna is an ambassador for supporting local designers/dress makers…do that…who wants to wear uniforms anyway in an era where individuality and self-expression is so highly ranked.

Bottomline is…stop jumping on all these different bandwagons that only serve to distract and lose you! Shut the hell up if you are not willing to do something, as if you are not part of the solution then you are definitely part of the problem!

Dem Figet weh dem come from

Don’t ever jump to a conclusion or opinion…take your time to explore angles.

Most recently, social media caught a fire, with viral stand-offs between Jamaican’s plowing the snow abroad and local Jamaican’s refusing to climb breadfruit trees and catering to foreigners. While many found it entertaining…with numerous clap-back videos that really sound either like plagiarism or for once many Jamaican’s agree on a single idea. Whichever way…the conversation is telling on many levels.

The importance of remittances to the Jamaican economy.
The 2016 Economic and Social Survey reports that US$2.2 billion was sent by Jamaicans overseas to family members and friends in Jamaicans for 2016. With an estimated equal number of Jamaicans living abroad as there are living on the birth soil, remittances have always played an important role in our country’s economic development, representing over 15% of our GDP. Remittances are documented to reduce poverty per household, with more likely investment in property, small businesses and education to name a few of its benefits. In summary, Jamaica benefits from the hard-earned money made from Jamaican’s who have decided to bear the volatilities of migration, lamentable of which is the snow.

If no one else says it…Dear Jamaican’s abroad, we appreciate your money, we invite you to look into retiring locally, continually investing in properties and business but also to use your financial clout to ensure change at the macro level. Insist on similar tax breaks as provided to international investors like the Chinese.

Why Jamaican’s migrate:
Migration is not an uncommon phenomenon for most low-income developing states. Many who are lucky enough to obtain a visa to the lands of opportunity, never come back, while our nurses, police, doctors and other levels of public and private servants choose to hustle abroad, even in sleet and snow as opposed to remaining in their own country. Brain-drain has been a concern since time immemorial, and I am yet to see any sufficient effort to retain the many educated, skilled and potential nation builders that leave the island in droves annually.
I dare say ALL Jamaicans that leave to work abroad, have claimed at one point or another to do so in order to help their families. Sounds very Chinese-ish…or Jewish or Arabic or African, doesn’t it, where for example…the Chinese, migrate to Jamaica, opens a wholesale/restaurant or whatever business and when it reaches a certain level, sends back to China for family members who are then taught the rudiments of the business, while the original person moves on to open another wholesale…tales can be told about how frugally they live, with multiple Chinese, sleeping on floors etc.

When Jamaicans go foreign…they obviously FIGET WEH DEM A COME FROM.

Why do we forget:
a) no real family connections/structure (unlike the Chinese)
b) Greed
c) Getting caught in the unforgiving plantation-like maze of menial service – doing things they would never get caught doing in Jamaica.

Life is difficult everywhere! Gratitude, vision and commitment will take us a long way, not only as individuals but as a nation, as a people. We need to come full-circle all hands on deck…hands down ‘nuh weh nuh betta dan yaad’ (unless you are an out-homosexual, then yaad is a very dangerous place).