Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A man after my own heart

Yesterday a man told me I was a woman after his own heart. Probably it stuck with me because no one had ever said that to me in my life before. Probably it stood out because I was so damn disapointed  that any sort of compassion was enough to get me out of the doldrums.

But simple as it was, his words were enough to put a blush on my face and a smile on my heart. The thing is that when he expressed this to me, he didn't even know my last name, but I believed he meant what he said. He couldn't have known the pain I was in , when I was still doing damage control. Even if he was just trying to say what he thought I wanted to hear, regardless of his agenda,  he was my angel of hope.

He served as a pleasant reminder that no matter what goes wrong in life, there are even more things that will be right and a smile is always a gesture away. To make someone smile, blush or cry takes concentrated effort with an ounce of intent and a serving of determination.

He made me realise that even though that situation didn't end yesterday, it did not mean that it did not have an expiry date. In life God doesn't always make sense, but we have to trust that at the right time he will make everything known to us.

He reiterated the power of reciprocity and generosity. Though we had recently met, he was the one making the effort to inititate contact everyday, and it was my turn to have a message waiting for him to pick up.

Though it was not his intention, a reality check came my way. The lesson of the disappointment  was that it was not about who didn't call/come or care, because he did.  Our conversations intrigued me, brought familiarity and laugter,  and he taught me 'don't use dem other jamaican fat to to fry mi". In english, that was his way of saying he was not like everybody else, and if for yesterday only, I'm glad that he wasn't.

Just thought I'd say thanks, from my heart to yours.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Battle of the Mind

There comes a time when having the last say is no longer important and the paradigm shifts from always wanting everything in life to be a war.

Maturity assumes position and we realise that every battle is not meant to be fought. There are battles we see afar off and there are the ones that will arise like a thief in the night.

From the way the story goes, in battle there are rivals, each with its own army. There is a commander in chief who decides which soldiers will be on the frontline, which will be prisoners of war, and when the battle is over, which ones will make it back to base.

Though there always seems to be the threat of danger, the commander in chief knows that he is nothing without his batallion so he cannot afford to defend every single threat, valid as it may seem.

So many times in our lives we wage war on things that are of no impact to our desired outcomes. Instead of identifying the real threat in the camp we play house with the troops. Because we've lost focus on the prize, we launch worthless attacks, depleting our strengths on a replica of the problem.

If we only liken our thoughts to that of a commander, we would know that in life, relationships and  friendships, we will lose comrades along the way.  Despite its form, casualties are inevitable, and there is always someone who we loved like a brother, who fought the good fight but succumbs to injuires.  Our responsibility is not to beg them to tarry on, or bear the burden of the wounded.

Rather, we help who we can, when we can, and accept that there are those in our lives who must be left behind. So what if it appears we are weak? Who cares if they tell others we surrendered?

When we know who we are, and whose we are, we learn no matter the army, the battle or the threat, the greatest victory comes when we can walk away from people and situations along our path while maintaining steady ground a still tongue.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

For Kashaun from Aunty

My precious nephew, Happy birthday. You are my little angel and I miss you dearly. On days like today, I wish I could have been in the same country with you, to do all the aunty things, like hug u for about a half hour until your little cheeks were sore, and kiss you all over as you giggled with delight.

 I would get to take you to your favorite place today, and watch you blow out the candles on your birthday cake. Grandpa, grandma and  I spent your first birthday with you . Grandma was taking too long to cut you a slice from your cake, so you took your little hand made a fist and swooped in on it and then put it in your little mouth. You were quite a cute little mess. Though I cannot be with you today, know that there is no distance with love once it travels from the heart.

Always remember my love, I am a phonecall or a wall away, (since I discovered you are on fb now from the friend request you sent me). I saw your relationship status as 'it's complicated'. How so? You're just 8!

In the coming years I want to be your evidence that impossible is nothing, and you were born to do great things.

My eternal desire for your life would be to live and not just exist, and to make valuable contributions to the people and things that you find joy and believe in. May your spirit be meek, your heart pure and your intentions true.

Life awaits you my little one, so for now, do your part to enjoy the journey. I hope you have a super time at school today with Nathaniel and all your other friends.

Until I see you again, be good, and always remember aunty loves you dearly.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hallowed Weaning

One of life's most challenging periods is when we realise someone's season in our lives is over. Somehow, the reason we woke up on mornings, is now the reason we can't sleep at nights. We are torn between the memories of the happier times versus the reality of who they have become. Their seeming perfect fit in our world has suddenly become a tight squeeze on our hearts.

As we do the post mortem on the friendship or relationship gone sour we see the signs we ignored and the symptoms we didn't treat. From the breach of confidentiality here, to the act of jealousy there, we chalked up the acts of indiscretion to human nature. Even as patterns of behaviour became habit we discarded them from our memory bank and ignorance prevailed.

Over the past two years, I had the challenge of saying goodbye to some friendships and relationships I coveted for a huge part of my life. What hurt the most is that I did not want to let them go, but had to because I knew where my life goals were headed. Because there was also a difference of opinion on intended paths we could not continue on. I was worried about being seen as feeling I was better than the others, so for years, I sacrificed myself and my spirituality at the expense of acceptance.

The reality is we can ignore that still small voice for so long. One day we open our eyes and come full circle with the people and situations hindering us from who we truly want to be. We know in our heart of hearts if we want better  we must let go of who or what makes us stop. In situations when I was not sure how to proceed, I always leaned on God and asked him that His will be done for my life, and if it was not His will to have that person there anymore, to help take them out of the equation for me.

I do not regret any alliance that I have made in my life even the ones where we parted ways. Some endings were abrupt, some were planned and some were not amicably done, but for every ending there was a new beginning.

My inner circle is now a reflection of who I truly am, and if asked what was the most valuable thing I gained along the way, it would be: the best feeling comes when you realise you are perfectly fine without the people you thought you needed.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

the hand that plays

While waiting on two friends at the bank yesterday, the man who molested me as a child walked in. It had been over 15 years since I saw him. He didn't see me as he entered. He looked the same, I guess it was fair to say he was one of those people who aged nicely.

As I sat there in the chair, my mind took me back to when i was no more than about 5 years old. As is the norm with a huge percentage of these peadophiles, he was the family friend. He would constantly frequent my grandmother's home and it was the norm to see him regularly seated at the family table.

As a child I spent a lot of time with my siblings and 2 cousins. Our grandmother would babysit the 5 of us while our parents went off to work.  there were no wiis or nintendos then and we would always think of new games we could play with each other.i had a fascination with playing hide, and i would always hide under the table at times by myself.

i remember the one time he came over and he opted to play hide with me and he told me there was a new way to play the game. he said instead of hitting the table leg when i was playing tag, i would do 'this'. Curious to learn the improved way to play the game, he held out his hand, took mine, and he put my hand on his genital area. he made my hand circle his genital area a couple times and then I would put my hand back. he told me that to win the game you had to be quiet and not let anyone see what you were doing. he would always put his finger on his lip to show me how quiet I needed to be.

 there were times when I would be playing the game the new way and while i was circling his genital area he would make me circle really fast on some days, and really slow on others. i remember being annoyed with myself cause I couldn't do the circle just right and he would tell me if i kept trying i would get better. There was one day when I was doing the circling, and I had to have done it really well because his voice wasnt the same and he said in a lower tone 'yessss that's it.' I had finally gotten it and I was happy that I had.

 What would confuse me though, were times when  he would just suddenly pelt my hand back under the table before I finished. I never understood why he would do that when grandma or uncle was passing but I guess he didnt want them to know about our game, so i played along. one day wen uncle called out to him he quickly flung my hand back under the table and my hand slammed into the table leg. it was hurting a lot and was immediately swollen. I started crying and as i went to tell grandma, he told me i couldn't because the game was not for grown ups. he made me wipe my tears and for a few weeks well, my hand was in terrible pain but he said circling would help it heal.

We played this game for a long time. We played it until I was too old to sit under the table and i'm grateful that I cannot remember if at anytime the game changed again and involved him circling me.

As i looked at him yesterday I wondered how many other girls and boys he played this game with over the years. I wondered if he even remembered what he did to me and what he would do if I got the opportunity to let him know that it wasnt until I was about 13 years old, I realised  he violated me. I wanted to walk up to him and ask him if he slept at night for all those years he let a 5 year old innocent girl massage his penis and probably at times gave him an orgasm. Or if he had any idea what I felt like when I realised at aged 13 I was taken advantage of, and spent that entire day hiding my tears from my parents because I was too ashamed to tell them 8 years after the fact.

Though I played what I wanted to say in my mind yesterday a dozen times, I sat there unseen, and eventually he walked away. I know he will never see this, but just in case "You bastard, may god have mercy on you for what you did to me. but thanks to HIS grace, I am healed from that horrible encounter, and because HIS presence lives within me .... you are still living too.

Friday, 28 October 2011

All Things ANYA

Its that favourite time of year again... being proud to be called a Trini! Our very own, Anya Ayoung-Chee has won Season 9 of  Project Runway making  our twin isle, and the region eternally proud. She not only won the coveted prize but also ripped the runway with the viewer's choice award, with her votes surpassing the combined votes of all her competitors and for any season in the history of the show. We were all glued to our televisions, facebook and bbm updates last night, nails biting, holding in farts (well in some cases) as we kept guessing if she had in fact won.

When it was announced she was the winner, it did not matter where in the world you were, what (or who) you were doing, once your passport was stamped 'trinbagonian' the news reached you. Last night it was okay to hear your neighbour screaming past 10pm at night and not think it to be a cry for help, but rather a yelp of victory or jubilee. It's 11 hours since she was crowned the winner and my 32 teeth still have not found their way back to their assigned spots in my mouth.

For those of you, who are not trini, or don't know any, here is an idea of what being a trini the morning after is like .... 

The average trini is truly happy this morning smiling for no reason, listening to soca and looking for a miniature flag to hang from their cars.  30 % of them are at their desks, 10% might be at their homes, 5% on the beach and the other  55%  have dedicated the entire day today and the weekend to telling off anyone and everyone who dares to make a negative comment about Anya, or Trinidad and Tobago.

Bar sales will be at an all time high from about 10am today, actually  make that 9.30 lunches will not be their typical hour and a half but more like two hours  which means if you have to go to a government office you should try to get there before 130pm . From the looks of things everyone is well dressed, most are adorned in local wear, and something tells me Radical Design's sales will quadruple by the end of the business day. Benjai's song has already been remixed to 'and they love how trinis could sew sew sew sew sew'

Lifetime Network had to have smiled all the way to the bank last night after finally getting thousands of men to look at their programming and with their significant others or spouses too. last night was proably the first time in years, it didnt matter to many women whether her man had come home last night.

 Anya you have represented your country and we are proud. This victory is even more personal to me, because ... Your story inspired me in a very diferent way.

 Like yourself, I felt the brunt of having my name in a negative light published in a newspaper. You have shown me that if you can rise from that situation and go on to conquer your world, so can I.

Anya, well done, and thank you!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Who angers you controls you

have you ever had to deal with someone whose mood depends on how things are going with their significant other? you would call them today and by the way they say 'hello' on the other end of the line you automatically knew that all is well. the phone was answered on the first ring, they were singing and was all cheery with their salutation, wanting to chat and talk about world peace, dying humanity and being an integral part of giving back to their community.

if the sex was off the wall the night before, they would tell you about how great it is to be in love, and how much you are missing out on because you don't have someone to call your own.you'd have to also hear about how romantic it was when he attached a kiss emoticon at the end of his text or how many times she told him she was into him in front of his friends at the mall that afertoon. they would have been blabbing for about a good 7 minutes when all you would have gotten into the call that YOU placed was a mere hello.

of course, you're either (a) jealous  (b)happy for them but jealous or (c) clustered with all the mushyness, so you decide to call them back  a few days later in they hope that  they returned to planet earth.

so mid week you call happy hannah/mesmerised michael back, and the phone goes well into the fifth ring and you are greeted with this half hearted 'hello'. you are hearing what sounds like mary j blige's 'not gon cry' blasting in the background. in steps a deafening silence as hannah is on the other line and isnt saying anything. as you ask 'hey whats up?' that is followed by a long pause continued with an extended sigh and when she finally musters up an answer it's the ever popular 'nothin'. suddenly you have gone from friend to investigative officer as you try to probe for the reasons for the sudden change in mood.

and then ... AHA! you found out there was a little disagreement with the boo the night before. suddenly the conversation shifts to complimenting you on your single life  and encouraging you to stay single and enjoy your alone time. if it's not that, they ask if they can call you back or, if you're like me you suddenly announce that there is a call on the other line from overseas.

A few minutes after that, there is the status change or the tweet saying 'i'm doing me' 'don't make someone a priority when you are their option' or the lastest addition 'sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead'. all the love and happyness that was there 3 days earlier has suddenly vanished.

why we allow the ones we are in love or in like with to dictate our overrall mood never ceases to amaze me. half the time we give control of our lives to people who have not shown us that they deserve to be there. the reality is only when someone cares about what you are thinking, they will be mindful of how they build u up and break you down.

and until they do, try to find joy, in who finds joy in you.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Paying it No Mind

Last night the phone rang, and my friend of 17 plus years called to talk about our latest installment of recreation. We were a group of 7 turned 6 and we had gone distant on each other’s lives for some time, and decided we would make the effort to spend at least one weekend with each other a month. A public holiday was coming up, and she and one of the other girls thought of a great idea to get everyone together. She suggested we all have a bottle of wine some light cutters and as the wine simmered we would be a little loose to let our minds, and our conversation run wild. Because I would always host get similar gatherings at my home, I then asked her what I was required to walk with.

She then said the most interesting thing. She explained “well, you and Millie work for the least amount of money in the group, not that I am trying to sound bad or insult you,  so I don’t want to suggest things to you both that might be out of budget. As she said this, I was looking into my fridge trying to decide which chocolate I wanted between a kit kat, or a rich caramel, rich chocolate or cookies and cream hersheys kisses, or whether in fact I wanted to bite into a piece of my Swiss milk chocolate toblerone. Yeah not exactly things you would find in the fridge of the underpaid right?

I ignored the comment as best as possible and continued the conversation for about another 7 minutes . We said our goodbyes and as the called ended, I smiled as I thought to myself, the old adage about its not what you say but how you say it. Now granted that Millie and I were in fact underpaid or not in receipt of as glorious a salary as she and our other friends were, Millie and I were both Government workers and if you know anything about those, they are normally paid on the last working day of the month. Funny I was made to sound like I was barely getting by when two weeks ago, I was parading Magical Kingdom at Walt Disney World, followed by nightly dinners at the Enchanted Estate and then detoured to two private parties in Miami where alcohol greeted you at the door and every manner of spare ribs seemed to be staring at you begging you to try them.

Probably if she insisted she wanted to make that a focal point of her conversation, she could have said ‘I know that you and Millie are the last to get paid”, or “I know that public servants will not get salary until  Friday” or, “what do you have at home that you can bring” without going about her own financial assessment to decide what she in her opinion felt we qualified to bring or buy, her statement would have been better received. Oh well, I guess that is just the banker in her, making assumptions based on her own intuitions. Lucky for her, I withdrew her comment from my memory bank, rebuked her negative deposit and refinanced my faith knowing my payout is due for maturity any day now.