Thursday, December 09, 2010

Till death do us part

We have had a rough patch this week, but have worked it through and stand stronger as a result. The thing about love and marriage is that when it's bad, it's awful. So awful that you cannot see beyond the immediate chaos... but then... if you are lucky... you get to have someone who is committed to making it work... no matter what. That is the difference between marriage and divorce. It isn't that some marriages are perfect, but that some wholly imperfect marriages are blessed with the commitment to work tough times through.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The thee me wed

Sometimes marriage takes more out of me than I think I want to give.

Sometimes I feel as if my exit strategy wasn't so convoluted, I would have made my way out.

Sometimes I feel like I should expend as much energy on said strategy as on the marriage itself.

Sometimes self-preservation trumps procreation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The amalgamation of the schizo genii within

"Common Ground" (C) 2009. All Rights Reserved

The photo was taken of my feet as well as one of my cousin's. We have a lot in common, my cousins. You will know yourselves, those of whom this post is also dedicated to. Here's to inspiration.

I feel like many different brands operating under one holding company, many of whom are never really credited. I never post my best photography work here because of how easy it is to steal from blogs. Usually, I post them to more secure sites and just point people to them, but sometimes, I simply want to share what I consider to be my best work with you.

I am not one thing OR another. I am many. The same person, but with many modes of expression. An only child learns to plant fields of dreams within. I had nine years of solo practice. So yes, I write, I photograph, I produce and I broadcast. I even draw with charcoal on occasion. My art is my way of sharing my harvest. If you have excess and do, not share, it will fester and spoil. Expression for me is as important as breathing. As much as I take in, I have to let out. The different media help me to continue the conversation where one medium has left off. I just had a seven month photography hiatus, during which I wrote and meditated. Now I am longing to use my photography to capture the growth I made during that period.

Life, like art, is not linear. Sometimes we go back so that we can go forward. And sometimes, we simple stand still just so we can see ourselves and really see each other.

I am a plural, purposed and multi-functional individual who is merely trying to make peace within.

There seems no way to continue being psuedo anonymous and just let myself go freely... you know just take off the restrictions and let the art do its work.

I am simply an artist who wants to come out of her own closet.

But alas, until I sign a film/book deal, maybe it is better to leave some secrets right where they are.

All I want for Christmas...

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There one thing I know is true
I don't care for silly gifts
And dont want you to waste your money too
So I think I will make it easy
As as easy as cheese for you
All I want for Christmas is....
Epson photo printer and a blackberry, that's who!

(adapted from Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You")

Monday, November 15, 2010

"I feel like dancing. Dance 'cause we are free..."

Taken the day after our wedding, one year and one month ago today. Photo credits: Easy Skanking Chef

Schools kills creativity

As a creative mind, I often write about and share other people's ideas on creativity. Here is another worth sharing.

"Education dislocates people from their natural talents." -Sir Ken Robinson.
"What we need is not evolution, butt revolution in education." -Sir Ken

Sir Ken's original 2006 talk...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What is work?

Work is love made visible. (Gibran)

Work is doing what makes you happy and making a living from it.

Work is doing that which is second nature.

The balm of Gilead

There are times when I look on the body of my work and feel completely incompetent. I see my gifts as falling short of those blessed with sheer genius. I am mediocre. That horrible word synonymous with purgatory. Halfway between heaven and the pits of hell.

I chose practical work because I was attracted to working with something that is visible. Bottom lines and profits don't appeal to me as much as pictures- moving and still- and words that touch the untouchable.

But now, I sit, looking at my mediocre work and wonder whether I was ever really good enough or just full of ambition and naive enthusiasm.

I feel like Matthew, sinking slowly. I feel like I COULD walk on water, but yet have failed to. It seems to prevent drowning, I need to fully let go and give myself over. But how can I do that when I cannot swim?

I spent so many years snuffing out my own voice that I cannot seem to connect with my own truth anymore.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Let's get physical!

As of today, I will resume moving my body. My body misses it's strength and flexibility. ESC and I are starting with a walk out in the park because the winter weather is coming in and he is still recovering from surgery.

By next week, we are cleaning up our diets and I am going to add my workout routines to the mix.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reading maketh a full man

I have just completed a selection of tales from the One Thousand and One Nights collection, in the Penguin Classic, Arabian Nights.

I think you can tell a lot about a people by their folklore and the messages they carry and lessons they teach. As a man thinketh, so is he. Suffice it to say that there seems to be an obsession with the latent infidelity of women and jinnees.

I do feel some loose link with Jamaican/West Indian folklore with the stories of Anancy, who is the character to whom cunning has become a second nature and who skillfully applies it to get ahead... but all folklore exist to pass on the wisdom of the forebears to the newer generations.

While reading Arabian Nights, I was more than slightly shocked at the sexual references-especially since the culture has become so conservative. Believe you me, one of the more frequent verbs is "to Mount" and all the conjugations thereof.

I am reading the classics because they are a lot cheaper than the newer hyped up books, the last of which my book mark is still stuck on page 40. It seems many of these newer books are better seen as loose movie treatments than becoming classics in their own right. I can buy four classics for the price of one new book so if you are going to be all hyped up, you better be good because the classics are worth every penny!

The Next Book: Mansfield Park by Jane Austin. I think it relevant especially in the light of my post about my own experience of poverty and class.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The reason why I write

Writing has always been my therapy... and much more effective that the child psychologist my father took me to see at 13 and the clinical psychologist I saw when I was depressed in the Island Behind God's Back.

This blog was created to help me find my voice back in 2006. I always knew I had something to say, I just didn't know what it was or how it would come out. As I grew, my writing grew more open. I wrote less in parables and turned down the volume on self editing. I realized that there was a correlation between key stroke and heart that the mind had no place in interfering especially one like mine that was so hung up on appearances and appropriateness and all those things we are taught that make people dignified.

I just started to write. I stopped thinking and I just let the words pour out of my heart and I shared them here.

I haven't advertised this blog. It is semi-anonymous. I write with a pseudonym so that the mind doesn't get too threatened in all this open heart conversation.

I know that it may come across as a little out there sometimes... and sometimes I hide behind what appears to be a flair for the dramatic, but essentially, this is me. This is the me that I am revealing to myself and I am letting you in on it as it happens. When you read my blog, you are witnessing my life, and consciousness as it unfolds.

This blog is my stream of consciousness. My posts are not pre-planned... they just flow. I start a post not really knowing how it is going to end. This is indeed my loose interior monologue This is why my writing has been so therapeutic. I write not only to share, but to reveal to myself.

Over the past year, as I came to terms with being a newlywed, I found that I had very little to say. My writing was more expository than exploratory. I wrote to keep you up to date, to tell you I was alive, but few were the moments when I would just lit my heart rip. Funny enough, the same thing that seemingly silenced me, is the very thing that is giving me back my voice.

Marriage for me has been a journey into self. I thought it was the journey of two people trying to walk together but it is way more than that. It is about getting into you and then walking together with souls bare towards the light.

I have never been more myself in any relationship and I don't think I have been more myself even when I wasn't in a relationship. It's like I am finding out more about who I really am as i find out about my life partner. It is a blessing... he seems to hold up a mirror to me and I to him. We help each other see ourselves.

We have spent more conversation hours in this one year than I may have for all of my previous relationships combined and of course, we almost never talk about the weather.

As I continue to grow and my voice continues to gain strength, no doubt my writing will reflect this. I will not write for shock value, but I will write as my heart wishes to express. For me, it isn't what comes out of my mouth that reveals my heart, it is what comes from my pen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Note to self

The hardest thing to master is self.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"There is no shame in poverty"

ESC told me that last night when we wanted to charge our debit card and I told him the last balance but cautioned that it may be less due to banks fees. I asked him if he wasn't nervous about the possibility of of embarrassment if the card got declined. It was then he looked into my eyes and spoke with the wisdom of someone who had made peace with his reality. When I heard it, it took me a while to allow it to settle in my consciousness. Very strange it seems for a girl who has for all intents and purposes, grown up under very humble circumstances.

It seems that even though that has been my reality, I have never really owned up to it. I have always wanted and worked for more. I have made certain to put myself in a position to rise from my paternal middle & maternal working class family backgrounds, especially in the light of having attending some of the most prestigious schools in my country and having a "First Son" as a boyfriend.

I used to walk with a calculator in my handbag years after giving up math as a subject. I am the college student who would walk to the supermarket adding up the few items in my trolley, making certain to account for taxes, just so that I would not be embarrassed at the counter. I would also meticulously check my balance ahead of purchases so that I wouldn't have to suffer the embarrassment of having such declined- especially in front of other customers.

I know... I suffer from a lot of pride. Maybe I should add that to my other weakness- impatience. Good thing I don't seem to suffer them with any severity as that would probably mean that I would have been doing underhanded things to get ahead.

Seriously though, when my hubby said that to me last night, I feel like it just went and lit up my entire existence. "There is no shame in poverty."

Ever since I was a child, I was told that I had a "high chest." In other words, I had an affinity for the niceties in life. It didn't help that I went to the schools of the privileged and was surrounded by others who had only what I could dream of. But, by far the worse part is the very dichotomy I often speak of that is my family. I was smack dab in the middle of both a middle class and working class background with parents coming from worlds that never should have collided.

My father's family accepted me but only barely tolerated the fact that I was clearly a mistake from an era before widespread use of prophylactics. My university student father was smitten by the country cousin of his neighbour who was living with that family as a sort of nanny to the sons.

My father's parents were the principal and the arts/craft/social studies teacher. (Though the circumstances of my father's birth was also the fodder of soap operas, that is another story). My mother's parents were the subsistence farmer and the lady who sold excess foodstuff from the farm at the market. My mother did not complete secondary school, having dropped out like most of her 9 siblings.

As much as they tried to do right by me, they really couldn't overcome the disparity between them. They never got married, even though they tried to prolong a relationship. Daddy rented us a house but never came to live with us, even though he was there every morning and evening, picking me up and dropping me home and overseeing my homework. Then he found a woman with whom he could relate - a teacher whose mother was also a teacher.

They married and I went to live with them after my father threatened to take my mother to court for custody and she relented, knowing that he would be better able to give me a life that she would fall very short in providing. It was a painful separation and it made me unstable for very many years to come. Initially I would live with my mother during the week but have piano lessons at my father's on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I would spend the night and would also spend weekends. When people would ask me where I lived, at 8 years old I would say "On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Weekends, I live in Spanish Town with my father and stepmother and on the other days, I live in Portmore with my mother." When I moved to Spanish Town during the week and Portmore on weekends, things never got any less complicated.

As I grew older, I could see the difference between how I lived when I was with my father on weekdays and how I lived when I was with my mother on weekends and it troubled me deeply. I started to hide in closest on weekends when it was time to go to Mommy. It was too much for me. It was two extreme worlds and I was identifying less and less with hers as I grew.

So by the time I won a space in my 90 average high school, I was really muddled. When others spoke of parents who were doctors, lawyers, teachers, housewives, and other semi-important-sounding professions, I could relate from my father's side but my mother at this time had gotten in a relationship with a no-good Rasta man and had become a fishmonger who sold fish on the street side. I could never say that to myself, much less to my classmates. To them, my father sold insurance and had a farm on the side and my mother was a teacher. I adopted my stepmother as my mother, using her life to replace my mother's. I thought it sounded better and it was less confusing.

Things changed as I got older and got closer to my mother, who seemed to understand me better than my father or stepmother. I grew increasingly rebellious and hated my father and started to idolize my mother and her family, seeing the purity of their humble existence while magnifying what I considered to be sheer hypocrisy on my father's side. Daddy became the evil one and I shunned him.

It has always been either or for me where my parents have been concerned. Ever since I was old enough to recognize that there was a huge difference between them, it seemed impossible to balance them equally on a scale.

I still identify better with my father's side than my mother's side but recognize that I owe her side a debt of gratitude for the authenticity that I strive for daily.

As a result of the diversity in my own family life, I am able to dine with kings and yet enjoy the company of their humblest servants. I am able to see people for who they really are and not only for what station they have in life. I married for love. I picked out a man who had good qualities and lots of ambition, with whom I could strive to build my own wealth. I became a better journalist and interviewer, learning to observe and listen keenly to people of every age, station and culture because each has a remarkable story to tell and each has lessons to give. But all this has not come without struggle. And I still struggle to accept what really is.

So when ESC said to me "There is no shame in poverty," it took me way back. I may be a fishmonger's daughter, but I took my time and observed that he was signing the charge receipt before I switched off the engine and joined him. I still have a little of that high chest in me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why I stick it through...Anne Murray Danny's Song

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The egos of men

Men have egos that are often times bigger than the sum total of all their parts- of which actual working brain matter is a scant fraction.

I knew this before but nowhere do you find more evidence than in the sanctity of marriage... when a bachelor' wings are clipped to prevent straying.

I find the lot of men grossly inappropriate when dealing with the opposite sex. Men unwittingly weave themselves into sticky situations and then wonder how on earth they got all that icky stuff on them. Duh!

What is it about being coupled that makes some men feel so in need of attention and affection of women other than theirs?

Automatically, the wife/girlfriend becomes the anecdotal dragon and stories get rearranged craftily to position the man as a prince in distress, opining to the sensibilities of the woman whose attention/affection/empathy he seeks.

"Oh poor you. Did she really hold out on you after surgery? If you were my man, I would never do that! I would make certain you were rushed back into surgery after getting your stitches ruptured. After all, a good woman NEVER says 'No' to her husband. You know what, even though you are married, if you were nearby, I would help you out."

The foolish woman doesn't realize that she has been pity-played by a cunning manipulator and now he has gotten her to sponge wipe his massive ego. He doesn't tell her of the numerous times he has put off his wife's/girlfriend's advances and how his inability to handle those requests due to him being tired from his super exhausting job has been the bone of much contention. No.... for his stories to other women, the wife is always portrayed in some degree of frigidity and he is of course the hot, raunchy sex god who just wants to give it good and regular! Ha!

Women, don't be fooled. When you hear coupled men uttering any veiled complaints about their women, tell them to sort out their business at home and stop twisting stories for the ear of every other woman. It is very likely to be bullshit. This is the reason married men are always "going to leave" lives, or their "relationship is on the rocks," or they are "waiting for the right moment to leave."

There are those men who fabricate these hard luck relationship stories as part of some justification for flirting and flirting only. But even so, sometimes the flirting goes to a level that would make a reformed prostitute blush. There are others, who have every inclination to take it as far as you will allow. Everybody has problems in relationships. Every human relationship will have moments of strain and weakness, you just have to make certain that you are not a pawn in a chess game in which you have no chance of ever coming out winner.

If I had a dollar for every newly married man who increased felicitations in direct correlation with complaints about new wives having headaches, periods, or not satisfying them sexually, I would be a wealthy woman. But nothing is more disgusting than a newlywed who is already looking outside of his marriage to build his egolust.

As Ma would say, if a man is complaining about his wife ... just nip it in the bud and say "Leave her and come." If she is so bad, he would be doing everybody a favour.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On the eve of our first anniversary

ESC (Easy Skanking Chef) and I came home a few hours ago from our 3-night hospital retreat. Sunday night he came home and made a mad dash for the bathroom, threw up a few times and the rest is history. Two hospitals, emergency surgery and all that jazz. Of course all of this happened while I have been suffering through the longest bout of colds/asthma ever faced by anyone without health insurance. Thank heavens he had insurance and was covered... I am just as sick as a dog and nursing my hubby back to health.

The place is a mess and so I am trying to tidy up little by little. I am getting a housemaid to come for a few hours in the morning to tackle the major things that would set my allergies reeling with a free pass to the emergency room.

I am also applying for a job tonight with the company I want to work for here. It is an entry level job but it comes with a decent salary and benefits, not the least of which is health insurance.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Big Picture

I am lying in bed with a mountain of tissues piling up. I am on my second box of 150 facial tissues. I have been sick since the first week of school. Apparently this is newbie kindergarten territory. As an asthmatic, it is even more distressful. But I am rolling with the punches. I am trying to keep focused on getting the job I want and pursue my call to happiness.

I didn't sign a contract and I didn't commit for the entire year... I only accepted the offer for a few months. I don't get any benefits from the job and the pay is very very modest so it actually costs us almost my entire paycheck for me to work there. I knew I would not be able to accept for a year with good conscience.

I am grateful to be out of the house and to be getting around more, getting to know this country better. I am also grateful that it gave us the impetus to get a car and for me to get certified to drive here (especially after the fiasco of losing my driver's licences from Jamaica and The Island Behind God's Back earlier this year when my wallet was stolen in the supermarket. Even with them, by law, I am required to take lessons and do signal, parking and road tests but now, I have to take twice as many lessons (because I have no valid DL to present ).

By tomorrow, I would have completed 12 of 40 lessons needed to get my driver's licence here. I should complete 16 this week and the remainder should be completed by next week. Therefore by week after next, I should be the holder of a valid UAE Driver's licence.

In the meantime, ESC takes me to work in the mornings and I make my way home. This last bit is also problematic because this means a lot of hot and cold going from intense desert heat to extremely cold buildings and public transport (taxis, metro, bus). It takes me 2 cabs, a bus and a train to go home and often there is walking in between. I live VERY far from work.

I no longer have the energy to exercise (being sick all the time) and I don't eat as well as before because I am so exhausted. Of course neither augur well for me to increase my resistance to the cold & flu magnet that is kindergarten. On Thurs 6 kids were out sick from my class. So I am feeling worn down like crazy. I haven't had the flu in years until now!

I am trying my hardest to not lose sight of my major life goals in the middle of all this daily mix-up.

I am realizing how easy it is to be side-tracked in your own life, putting aside what you really want for what you already have. I dont wan tto live my life like that. I want to reach every impossible dream and climb every freaking mountain my heart can desire. I don't want to be relegated to mediocrity. I dont want work just because it's work. I want work that is love made visible. So, as of now, I am going to try to channel out the chatter of the dream cutters and just hone in on my authentic self and the truest desires of my heart.

My Goals
I will get a job for which I am better suited but I will make peace with this one for the very short duration for which I will have it.
I will be re-admitted to finally hand in my thesis.
I will complete an excellent thesis.
I will start a food blog.
I will complete two TV Show Treatments and Pilots.
I will exhibit my photography internationally and make prints available for sale.
I will maintain my independent, personal space, hopes and dreams even while being committed to sharing my life with my partner.
I will get into my best shape (mind, body, spirit)
I will get back into Television (Broadcasting & Producing)
I will work on multimedia cooking/food ventures with my hubby
I will own a successful multimedia empire
I will direct a feature film at some point in my career.
I will get a full scholarship to attend Tisch at NYU for my MFA in Film
I will have or be working on completing my Phd at 60
I will travel and document the world as I see it in photographs, writing, and filmmaking
I will have a successful, long and happy marriage
I will buy a home for my mother
I will have homes in at least 2 countries
I will invest social capital in my country and any community in which I live
The world will be a better place because I was here and I did my part

Million Dollar Question

How do you go through the routine and drudgery of the day to day without losing sight of the big picture?

Rename the Blog or Stop Blogging?

I had taken a little break from blogging because well..l I just felt I no longer had much to blog about. This was a TwentySOmething blog and since August 9, I have graduated from that status. I am not sure what to do next. I know I want to write ... but I think I have to continue to try to redefine myself first.

Or maybe I should just change the name to ThirtySomething Monologue and get the hell on with it.

What sayest thou?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Kidney Garden

I survived my first month of Kidney Garden-barely. That should be a T-Shirt.

I have stepped outside of myself and wondered several times if I really knew what I had gotten myself into.

I hate it. Simply put.

I thought nothing could be worse than staying at home, but alas, it is not so!

Most of them are bright, beautiful children who hold the promise of a bright future in their eyes, but most of the time, they are simply a bunch of infants who refuse to brush their teeth.

Don't get me wrong... I love every one of them... but I don't relish having to spend so much time talking, talking, talking, to no avail. My throat hurts.

I have learned a lesson though. Working for a little bit of money seems worse than not working at all. What's the point of working if you cannot buy shoes?

Therein lies my rant.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Inner Struggle: Fighting the postulation of political correctness

If only I could bring myself to write what is truly on my heart, I doubt anyone would find me worth loving. It is the most unforgivable thing and people are not redeemed for speaking such things out loud. My entire being wants to scream out the dirty little secrets and hang all that filthy laundry out so that I can gas it and light it and watch it burn. Mine is a fire sign. I fancy playing with it. Burning changes matter from one form to another. Nothing like fire to incite fan the flame of a revolution.

Monday, August 09, 2010

30 Candles

For my initial celebration, I worked out and drank a protein shake as planned. Have to credit ESC for pushing me to workout though because I was 'punking' out. I did Power 90 Fat Burning Express because Tony Horton was the first trainer that I worked out with via DVD and I still love most.

For the past few months, I have had the following stickies on our bathroom mirror:
"Best @ 30"
"Exercise is NON-negotiable"
"Look and feel your best"
"Love me more"

ESC says they are now all true. He says I am slimmer now than when I arrived a year ago and he is VERY proud of me not only for taking my health and fitness in hand, but also for challenging him to stay on the straight and narrow. Working out together is almost as important as praying and eating together on our bonding list. I am not at goal yet, but for the first time, I think I am closer than I ever was -even though I still have more to lose than any other time. Why? Because for the first time, I have a formula that is working for me: I have the support of a life partner who is also committed to pushing himself as well as me; a diet that works for me and that I can stick to for life and an online support group that makes me connected to a wider community of people improving themselves and others.

Because I have made such positive changes, I can be happy about reaching this milestone birthday. I am happy because I have spent a lot of time and hard work nurturing and protecting my happiness by attending to balance my mind, body and spirit. I have spent the time and energy re-defining who I am and how I see myself in the wake of a sea of change. I have tapped into my core and found a direct connection to my Source. I have given love with all my heart and received more than I can contain. I have less trappings, but more spritual wealth and peace of mind than any money could buy.

So, on this my thirtieth birthday, I can sit and look on my life and say with authenticity, "This is the life!"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

My last TwentySomething Day

My Update in a Nutshell:

1. Less than 24hrs. Today is my LAST Day as a TwentySomething. I turn 30 at midnight. I have 12 more hours on my clock of being a 20somthing. I think I better turn on the music and shake my booty and dance with the broom!

2. Arabian Princess. Last night I pierced my nose. Always wanted to do it but put it off till I was 30 because I felt I wanted to do something "big" for my 30th! I have this huge medicated stud in there now but am having a tiny custom diamond stud made.

3. Teacher Teacher. Yesterday Saturday I accepted a job to teach Kinder 3. I will be a Kinder teacher for the next few months. I am happy that I made the decision because I think it will open me up to more experiences and my life will be enriched because of it. No point in staying home doing nothing while waiting to get a job in my field. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

4. Sweetie Come Brush Me. I have come off my Stevianna sweetener because I really don't know what is in it. I find that some products in this region really have iffy labeling. I know something has been stalling me and I have been using it for a few months. It is still better than the Agave and honey and sugar I used to consume, but I think I need to just eliminate it in order to see what is happening. I started using it because I heard it was the most natural sweetener but it isn't just stevia in the packets and I dont know what else is in there so I think I am better off with Splenda for now and even to reduce the amount of sweeteners I consume daily-period.

5. Non-dairy queen. I am going to cut down on my dairy and then cut it out for a while (after I have finished my sizeable stock of cheeses and cream). If dairy gives me sinus issues, it must be causing some inflammation which cannot be good for weight loss. I am really hesitant to give it up though, which is why it has taken me sooooooooo long. But I have no regrets. Yes I would have undoubtedly lost more weight if I had cut out dairy and sweeteners completely but I couldn't drop everything all at once and be successful with this nutritional approach for a LIFETIME. Sometimes you have to pace yourself and phase some things out. Otherwise, you could run the risk of just jumping off the wagon totally when you reach to goal because you did not reach there in a manner that was SUSTAINABLE!

6. Sweaty Mess. I will be ringing in my birthday exercising! I will be having a Sweaty Mess Party with ESC and then a protein shake to toast in a decade of health, fitness and self-actualization!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My last TwentySomething Weekend

I will be 30 on Monday. Until then, I am still 29!

Filling in the blanks

My granny is very ill and is in hospital.

Diagnosis- rectal cancer.
Prognosis- good. hasn't spread. Likely to have full recovery after surgery and chemo.

And so it is.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


This is one of those times when reality collides with you and you fall... stunned.
I know it needs to be said. I just don't know how.
My stomach is nervous. I have no appetite.
Cigarettes don't do it for me anymore.
I want to cry but I fear I won't be able to stop.
I am alone.
Tick, tock, life goes on - this world- not bothered by such peripheral things.
Yet I am still.
Too heavy to move and my tongue too laden to lighten with speech
Whoever promised words would be enough?
I wish I had a shoulder to lean on. I have but four walls and a bed.
I still can't say it.
I am too afraid.
That is what it is.
I am scared shitless.
Lord, if it not be too much, please let this cup pass.

One Moment in Time: My ThirtySomething Prayer

Pic of me in a burqa/ abaya in the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, 2010

This is my song and prayer for the decade I am about to enter. I find it prayerful... the lyrics fraught with the agony of anticipation. This is the decade that I really hone in on my destiny and purpose. This is the decade where my life takes on greater meaning in my community and profession. I am on the brink. Something really good is going to happen to me. Something so big that God had to dig trenches inside me to deal with the overflow. I have been prepared for my moment. I stand, quiet, humble, ready.

One Moment in Time
written by Albert Hammond and John Bettis
recorded by Whitney Housto

Each day I live
I want to be
A day to give
The best of me
I'm only one
But not alone
My finest day
Is yet unknown

I broke my heart
Fought every gain
To taste the sweet
I face the pain
I rise and fall
Yet through it all
This much remains

I want one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel
I will feel eternity

I've lived to be
The very best
I want it all
No time for less
I've laid the plans
Now lay the chance
Here in my hands

Give me one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel
I will feel eternity

You're a winner for a lifetime
If you seize that one moment in time
Make it shine

Give me one moment in time
When I'm more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I'm racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will be
I will be
I will be free
I will be
I will be free

I was eight years old when this song was recorded. "It was written for and appears on the album 1988 Summer Olympics Album: One Moment in Time. The track is an anthem for believing in yourself against all odds". -Wikepedia

It is still as relevant to me now at this juncture in my life as it was when I was eight years old and watching others chasing their dreams and racing with their destiny. Now, it is simply my time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whether my scale bears witness or not...

1. I am getting smaller.

2. I am chiseling away the fat, armed with the sturdy tools of the Atkins Nutritional Approach.

3. I am feeling in control of my diet. I am eating in a manner I believe in and my body says yes. I have not been perfect. No one is. But I have more control and power than ever before.

4. Saying "No!" makes me feel sexy.

5. I am looking good- and I will say so myself thank you very much! My skin is smiling back at me with the suppleness of youth and not the eczema plagued rawness that it became over the past 2 years.

6. I got me a Buttt lift- all natural. The squats and lunges have injected youthful exuberance back into my tush and thighs and it only makes me want to walk and shake it some more!

7. I can go clothes shopping without dread, anxiety and a 5-day post 'partum' shopping depression. Yes, shopping was akin to giving labour without epidural without the warm fuzziness and oxytocin of a baby at the end of it. No longer do I have to "walk on by" nice things and sales. I can find clothes that fit AND flatter even though I am still sizes away from my goal weight.

8. I come home and model my finds like I used to before I got secretly dismayed of how my body was morphing beyond recognition. It is back to proportions that I can identify with.

9. I am buying clothes for 'right now' and for 'around the corner'. I believe that we SHOULD endeavor to look our best at any size and that means right now. I think for my birthday, I am going to buy myself a size 6 pants. That is THREE sizes down but that is my promise to myself that I WILL reach there within the year. I always wanted to be in my best shape at 30 and I haven't been a size 6 since in 6 years.

10. You see all this self-indulgence? I am WORTH it! It was the lack of indulgence that got me here. Putting me on the back-burner. NO MORE! I am worth sitting down and thinking about and re-affirming and loving. I am! I am! I am! I will renew mind mind, re-affirm and free my spirit and love my body into its best health.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The sacrifices of a modern woman with an old-fashioned heart

Marriage is sacrifice. Full stop. Comma, comma, dash-dash.

I gave up my job and a link in my career chain to get married. That made me not so popular with quite a few feminists on both sides of the law. I was giving up too much, and giving away the power I had earned - independence via salary. This wasn't a popular notion in this day and age, especially since I wasn't marrying a wealthy heir to fortunes too great to lose in one generation. But was it worth it?

This is a question I have often asked myself when things are hard; when there are kinks in the marriage that seem like permanent roadblocks without detours. It usually takes a while, but in the middle of the impasse, if I get quiet enough, I ususally find my answer. The thing is that it is in those very moments that threaten to break us that hold the solutions that we seek. I feel the love between ESC and myself strongest in those intances where we struggle, knowing that even though we walk in the shadow of the valley of death, we walk in faith and commitment to see it through.

It is because I have given up so much that I have made space in my life for so much more.

It is akin to cleaning out your closet and giving things to others. You simply make space for additional blessings to flow to you. So it is with love.

My grandmother always told me that you should never give away that which is not good enough for you to wear. I sacrificed things that were very important to me, in the faith that I would find greater gifts down the road. I was making space. I am glad I did.

Sometimes we ask for too much. We want it all and all at the same time. But how is it possible for a cup to hold three times it's volume at once? Sometimes you just have to pour out some into another cup to make space for more.

I hail the work of the feminists who burned bras so that I would be free to make my decisions. I decided that I would allow my man to be a man and that I would find strength in being his woman and that there would be perfect balance in that.

Looking back, we have had to work through lots of change and the repercussions. I moved hemispheres. We got married. We have over 60 years of single life combined that we traded for the uncertainty of plurality. People do not give enough focus to new marriages and how much the first year sets the foundation. It is hard, dueling, back-breaking work and if both parties are over-worked and over-stressed from intense career pursuits, many things get lost in the confusion. It is the very fact that I have not been working full-time that has helped me and us to wade through all this.

I have also been able to find my centre like never before in my life. I am at peace. And if I get anxious, it is fleeting because now I know exactly how to tap into my source. I have learned to listen to myself and trust my wisdom. I have learned to be happy with little stimulation. When my husband gets stressed and uptight about a significant work challenge, I am aware enough to pick up on it and nip it in the bud. I can sense it in his sleep, in his eyes, and in his spirit because I have had the energy and focus to be so in-tuned. My management experience and even some of my own mistakes are useful in helping to guide him in leading his team. I am part wife, part friend, part professional mentor, spiritual and life coach. We are my job. I am my job.

I have worked my way through the depression of seclusion and the loss of my identity as a professional. It's amazing how much we overcompensate with our careers when other areas of our lives (personal) do not measure up. Once I was stripped of that, I struggled to find other things about me worth being proud of. I struggled to find who I was without a power suit and perfect TV makeup. The power dynamics changed. I was suddenly powerless. I was no longer boss of anything. I no longer had the bigger salary to be secretly puffed up about. But I found my way. One day at a time. One step at a time. I left the darkness of our studio and stepped out into the sunshine and I fed my mind, body and spirit with goodness and love. I was worth loving even if I didn't earn my own salary as a testament to my worth on this earth. Then, I found my fulcrum.

There will be days when I am going to have much on my plate and I will have to be able to meditate in the middle of the clutter. There are days when work and children and hubby will demand more of me than I think I can muster but having had this adult gap year to tap into me, I know I have found the tools to navigate the roughest seas and maintain my inner peace.

I take nothing for granted. I see each day as a miracle and I am grateful to bear witness. Nothing is certain, but we live in the hope and faith and awareness that "All things [indeed do] work for good."

Life is beautiful

There are good people in this world and miracles do happen. We just have to open our eyes to see them.

Life is truly beautiful.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ate, Prayed, Loved and Got Bored

Am I the only one in the universe who is struggling with Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love?" I wanted to read it for its supposedly zen like elements that would have been congruent with my current emotional state but I have to say that 44 pages in, it's more than a little disappointing. Please somebody, anybody, explain what is the hype about?

Maybe I am just not the white, mid-thirties American female divorcee who got married early and is looking to find love and meaning in an altered singular state who this book is seemingly pitched to. I kinda got there in my twenties, before marriage and I guess that's the purpose of this entire blog.Is it that for a person who has come to her own spiritual revelations this is a tad shallow and contrived?

I know it's not that this is a non-fiction written person narrative. I just think the voice sounds contrived and pseudo-spritual. Like she is trying too hard to be witty and deep and that takes away from the kind of flow I have when I come upon a good book. When I do come across a book worth reading, I am lifted into a fourth dimension from the first sentence. I should have known better. "I wish Giovanni would kiss me" is not exactly awe inspiring,

Find your way back home

There you go again
Damn common duppy
haunting my dreams
Did I not bury you with your mother?
Your spirit lingers, hungry, thirsty
Stick around if you wish
but you will die yet another death
There is no libation here

Once upon a time
I sacrificed myself beside Jesus
I stole my own soul to give you
in false worship
Idolizing scum for cream
Never knowing how low I felt
until I finally felt good
Alas! There is no libation here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When you just can't find the words...

Every family has secrets. I found out mine in a bar. Last year I confronted the situation, trying to get to a resolution- to no avail. This year I almost lost my brother due to a badly broken heart. This is the same heart I was trying to save last year.

I am so heavy right now.

Old dog learns new tricks

I have to get very grounded because my life is about to change again in a couple of months and I have to be certain that my lifestyle remains consistent. My good fitness and diet habits WERE usually the first to go when things changed dramatically (and being adventurous, I have had LOTS of change). NOT this time. NOT ever again.

Eating well and keeping my body moving has made me more alert mentally and more in-tune spiritually. I had to work hard to reach to a place of acceptance and sheer joy going from being a single and fabulous executive to a married stay at home wife in another hemisphere. It wasn't easy but I did it- by the grace of God. His strength was made perfect in my weakness.

No I have not worked out 6days a week but I have still been more consistent over a longer period than I ever have.

My metabolism is not what it used to be so it takes me longer and more intensity to get where I want to go, but I am fine with that as long as I know I will eventually get there. Slow and steady wins the race. This is not a sprint, it's a marathon and you cannot start a marathon the same way you would a sprint. I have been sprinting to lose weight and get back into shape for all my adult life. Quick fixes don't work for me. I burn out. I get bored. Furthermore, it just doesn't seem as if I lose weight on exercise. I build muscle, but I don't lose fat. I exercise because I want muscle (build and maintain) and my mind, body and spirit need movement to be in balance. My name means rhythm. There is never rhythm without movement.

Sometimes I just want to move, sometimes my bod wants to rest, sometimes I am just lazy. I just no longer have the "must be fit by Tuesday" approach to my WOL. I now believe that for me, diet is 90% of the game. Why? Because I have never really lost more than 10lbs by exercising even though I wanted to lose much more at times. When I was a fit 135, instead of losing or gaining, I gained muscle and lost inches. I was smaller but the same weight. That is usually what happens. I think everytime I have lost weight on an exercise programme since, it has been water weight (usually in the first two weeks of the programme). Yes I was eating loads of healthy foods. I still have quinoa, couscous and millet in my cupboards but they did nothing for me. The truth is, except for when I have been on Atkins, I had never REALLY had a diet that works for me.

I was able to lose and maintain weightloss on Atkins but never did it right. I used it twice as quick fixes but never moved through the phases. Now I am in Phase 2 (On-going weight loss OWL) because I need to give my metabolism a chance to heal before m body starts to let go of anymore weight. I am still trying to get to the 135lb goal I had when I started Beachbody in 2006. NO, I have not been consistent working out and my diet waned during those times but even when I did what I was told "Low fat, complex carbs, high fibre", Nada!

So less than one month before my thirtieth birthday, I am happy that I have finally found a lifestyle that works for me. I am a straight up low-carb girl of the Atkins Nutritional Approach. I am a straight up Beachbody girl because it is this forum that has kept me moving.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

A day without rain

I think it safe to say that for the very first time in my life, I am striking balance. I feel like a tree, swaying to the rhythm of the breeze, yet firmly rooted in the earth.

It has taken more than a little effort to find peace in the midst of such immense change.

I am happy. I have found joy in the little details of life that we often take for granted when we are too busy to pause and see them. I find that my connection to others is deeper than ever, and I truly feel other people's joys and share their pain in depths I never thought possible.

I have also found sincere peace in solitude and stillness. I no longer need external stimulation to pass moments. I even shy away from company when the energy isn't right.

I trust my spirit and my intuition.

I trust people when they show me who they really are.

I have been spending my days feeding my body well. It is thanking me for it. I no longer have stomach problems, depression is a thing of the past, and even my eczema is keeping its ass quiet. My body is slowly morphing back into a shape I can identify with and I am eager to find out as much as I can about fitness and nutrition. I read as much as a college student but my voracious appetite is fueled by a hunger for knowledge as opposed to good grades.

God has been good to me. He really does take care of His own.

I never knew that marriage would be the very thing that grounded me but I guess wonderful things happen when you begin to walk in alignment.

I now know that I can truly find peace anywhere.

Out of silence

As of tomorrow, I will be one month away from my thirtieth birthday. That thought seems to drive more silence in me than I would have thought possible. Blank.

I think for right now, I cannot tackle that enigma.

Monday, July 05, 2010

No More Smalling Up of Me

by Jean Wilson

No more meekly saying 'yes'
When my heart is screaming 'no'
No more taming of my feelings
So my power won’t show
No more hiding my exuberance
From disapproving eyes
No more watering down myself
So my spirit won't rise

No more 'smalling up' of me
Pretending I am not here
No more running from the music
And the spotlight's glare
No more living in this prison
Barricaded by my fears
No more turning and retreating
In the face of new frontiers

Even as I am speaking
I am taking shape and form
Harnessing my powers
Like a gathering storm
There's no obstacle so bold
As to dare stand in my way
I am taking back my life
And I am doing it today.

Greetings from suburbia

I have thought about writing but having had nothing to write about, I kept away. Today I let my better judgement stay home.

I still have absolutely nothing to say. Just one of those times.

Just wanted to let you know that I am alive, well, and kicking. Not like you were asking anyway.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Of father's day, mother's day, parenting and all that jazz

Today is Father's Day- the lesser day to mother's day because fathers are more often taken for granted because of their inability to carry and nurse their own children. That bears reflection.

Is the burden of the father any less than that of the mother? Are all mothers equal? Are all fathers equal? Are mothers and fathers equal in their contribution to the lives of their children? "But why do so many fathers desert their children?" You may ask. Well, what of those women who themselves desert their young?

Different people facing circumstances only they can appreciate react differently than we sometimes hope. But such is life. Some of us have to make up for the absentee father or mother. Some, both. Some of us are orphaned by life, brought and left into the world by their parents. So it begs another question.

Who is a parent? One who performs a biological act or one who goes through the inexact social science of trying to raise a well-adjusted human being? How about both? The biologist performs an essential role in giving the social scientist tangible subjects to work with. Maybe that was all he was meant to do. It may have been your mother or granny who "fathered" you but understand that you are no less off than anybody else. Yes it would have been nice to have a father around, but trust me, if your father knew to walk away, he probably loved you more than you think. Still too many children get stuck with parents they would have been better without, impairing them for life.

So, this father's day, say a prayer for the one who brought you into the world, no matter if he is absent, dead, or in prison. He is half the reason you are here. He is half the reason you are and are not. Forgive the fathers who hurt because now is the time to make peace for you as well as for your own children.

I know some people have been hurt deeply by their parents-father and mother. Some directly, others or us indirectly. However, there comes a point in your adult life after we assess them as adults and find their sum wanting, that we just have to accept that parents do the best they know how.

So many of them battled all sorts of drama. We are an evolving race, so every generation gets a chance to learn from the last and yet we are still prone to making mistakes of our own as well as repeating those of generations past.

I was talking to a cousin today and she said.. "I had to forgive my parents and set them free because God knows, one day, I will be asking my own children for the same." She is spot on. Forgiveness is the only key fitted to break the cycle.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The trailing spouse: this woman's story

My cousin asked very poignant questions about the possibility of me packing up and moving again to follow ESC and where in all that would I find a place for my own dreams. I answered her comment directly but I am posting parts of it here because I thought others may be wondering the same thing.

I am living my own dream, even if it is while trailing his. Fact: I love to travel. Fact: I dream about living all over. Fact: He is more likely, based on his own career choice to be the one who will easily get work.

We decided before we got married that we would spend several years living the expatriate life, soaking up the experiences and then eventually settle down when we had children who were ready for school.

I made a choice to come over on his visa because the other choice was him on mine since the jobs that he was interested in nearby me had dried up due to recession. I decided that I didn't want to start off a marriage with an emasculated man and since he was willing to give it all up to come and be with me, I decided not to let him and come instead.

There are a million zillion things and dreams I have and marriage doesn't stop me from reaching them. In fact, my marriage is the conduit for a lot of them.

We are BOTH making sacrifices for the first three (or so ) years of our union that will have a HUGE impact on our lives later on.

Fact: His hours are RIDICULOUSLY long. Longer than even those in the same industry in the Caribbean. Fact, the quicker he gets higher, the more time we will have together.

Fact: His next appointment is seeking to place me also so I will have my own work even in the midst of him rising. It makes sense for me to transition into the industry to ensure long term job placement as his trailing spouse.

Fact: Even when he reaches Exec Chef, he will have really long hours, it would be wise to ensure that I have a chance to work part-time so that I can satisfy my desire to work part-time when we have children because the two of us cannot be hard hitting at our careers and raise a balanced family.

Fact: Even if he reaches Exec Chef and I decided that I wanted to head back full force into the game- switching Mom jeans for a smart business suit- after being sick of trailing him he would be willing to put his career on hold for me and mind the chilrun.

Fact: Two of us cannot give the same output at the same time due to the nature of our careers and expect anything but a failed relationship.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friendship in the desert

I now know, without any doubt, that I was made to work. Why? Because I have got too much going on in my head to be left too long to my own devices and if I must live away from those with whom long phone calls are customary, I should earn enough for the massive phone bill.

I know I should give a call to somebody in a mood like this but my only true friend is away in the UK on a short vacay. I think I want to go spend a couple days with her when she comes back. I could use some authentic, genuine energy and ESC could use some sleep and a break from the girlie conversations that i force on him.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The sky is about to fall: the prologue

I got married eight months ago today. I remembered just now at 8:52 pm when I glimpsed on the date for the umpteenth time for the day. I am more concerned about not missing my youngest sibling's B-Day than remembering my monthly "anniversary." We did it for the first five months. ESC would write me these cute notes, which then tapered down into SMSes and just fizzled out altogether. I have to keep track of bill payments and whether we are running low on toothpaste and milk and clean socks. Who has time for another reminder?

I think I have Married People's Writer's Block. I came up with the term in my usual self-diagnosis. How else can I describe the fact that I just feel I have been self-editing ever since I got married? (Maybe that is exactly the problem: "Writers block caused by self-imposed self-editing resulting in chronic constipation and blockage of energy and writing channels")

It's weird. I just seem to not have much to say. I look back on some of my older posts and I marvel at the writer I once was. Now, I feel like I write about the arcane and mundane and my entire existence has become so much less than sensational. Yeah right, who am I fooling about being slightly mysterious? Ha!

But when did this blog become mindless recounts of days spent as opposed to something much more meaningful? This is not a "Today I walked a mile in red hooker heels" kind of blog. It's a "Hooker heels were made for a gal like me." The difference? One statement is descriptive, the other, narrative.

I like to tell stories, not just facts. It's just that I am coming up dry these days. Maybe it's time to switch expression media and delve into photography. Whatever it is, I just need to get my shit together because I am the writer of a Twentysomething blog about to turn 30 in less than two months and I better find my voice and say something meaningful soon because in case you haven't already noticed, the sky is predicted to fall on August 9!

To be good enough

Sometimes I come across challenges that test the very mettle I am made of and we sit and wonder- am I really good enough and if not, will I ever be?

We think that the world is based on meritocracy but it isn't. Kisses follow favours. We are not competing as equals on a level field. It's not an excuse to bow out, just fuel to the fire that drives us to prove how wrong they were about us.

We were always smarter. We always worked harder. You just had easier access. But our hardships have only made us stronger while you built not one muscle while you were being airlifted to the top. We will last the test of time because we withstood the heat and still rose to the top.

Do I envy you? No. You have to live with yourself knowing that you have been promoted beyond your competence. No doubt you will hire me to do the cleanup.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What I want to wear for my BIG 3-0!!!!

I have decided that I would LOVE to wear a romper for my B-Day!

That's my totally girlie goal and I don't give a damn. I have ALWAYS loved rompers and wore them a LOT as a child. I havent worn shot shorts in about two years and it's about time to work on those gams. Speaking of which, ESC was there watching my thighs while I was squating, lunging and kicking the other day and was like..."Oooooh the thighs are coming back!

Yeah yeah! Here is an example below (not me):

I think it's a fun and whimsical way to celebrate reaching a new decade- reminiscent of the childhood and representing my childish exuberance for life and the journey into me. So it's a romper and heels. Hmmn. I think I should dont ya think!??

Where I am now- fitness and re-balancing

1. In the last 18 days, I have lost 3 inches off my waist
2. In the last 7 days, I have lost 3lbs!!! ( I was at a plateau for over a month and just resumed losing again).
3. I have gone from 15% towards my physical goals to 38%
4. I have undergone a spiritual metamorphosis over the past 3 months... finding my centre and my Source
5. I have gotten stronger mentally... overcoming addictions that gripped me for years.
6. I got a job this week
7. So did my hubby in a new country
8. Hubby has lost 6lbs and some good inches himself.
9. I am enjoying how tasty my diet is and ESC is doing a better job cooking for me because he doesn't see any "culinary blasphemy" like skimmed milk in the fridge. !!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A photo for today...

When it rains pours

You know that I have been underemployed here and have been looking for meaningful work for this time and nothing right? Consider this conundrum. I just got a job. Teaching 3-4 year olds so adorable you could bunch them up with a head of lettuce and eat them. The hours are great. I get to still have my freedom everyday from 2pm. So what is this dilemma? ESC just received a verbal offer for a job (a promotion and a fast-track development plan for him to advance to Exec Chef status in 2 years). Still no conflict observed? Try a different country for size.

We are waiting to see what the offer on paper will be. The person offering him the job is also trying to ensure that I get one also because if you thought I was on the Island Behind God's Back before, this one is Way Beyond God's Back. So unlike Dubai where I can happily dabble in a little photography and read a be a woman of pleasurable leisure let's just say this other place will be 'otherwise."

Either way you take it, both elements are really good news! I get to earn my own money. So ESC would buy me a car (because the job is all the way in another Emirate) but I would be able to make car payments. I have learned that we work not only for money but for sanity. Don't ask me if a bunch of Arabic speaking toddlers are going to provide much stimulation, I just know that I would have 20 of my biggest fans at work instead of the corporate bitches to contend with. But also, I have to seriously continue to tend to my career because anything can happen. Four hands are better than two.

On the other hand, ESC's career would benefit GREATLY and we could be pregnant by the end of that assignment (InShalah) while he scouts for an EXec position that would take care of family. Plus he will have more time in two years to spend with his family. And the perks would REALLY kick in. I could also get an opportunity to enter the hospitality industry which is not a bad idea if I am going to be moving up and down the globe with him. I am also thinking of getting my certification in Nutrition and Fitness whether we stay or go as another way to enter the industry and get freelance jobs when raising our family. You know me, I think short, medium and long. I also find a way to incorporate all my skills into something marketable in the long run. If we went, we would also be able to save because God knows we wouldn't have to spend much unless we were traveling. So that means that we could put down something to put towards a home for when we have sink deeper routes. He is currently in the negotiation process and the post hasn't been advertised. The GM is impressed with his resume and the Exec Chef is the one personally recruiting him.

Another thing is that my visa is tied to his so if and when he goes... there will I be also. The blessing is that we are making the final decision as a team with lots of continued prayer on the matter. The fact is that we already surrendered the issue to God so it is only a matter of time before the way is made clear.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Their Eyes Were Watching Allah - The Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

This set was taken a couple of months ago. I am uploading them for you and as a reminder to me that this journey has been most sacred in so many, many ways. Sometimes blessings like destiny, travel in a circle. That's me in an Abaya and those or my feet on the largest Persian rug ever made.

What I know for sure....

Dont ask me to explain famine or serious natural disasters leaving millions hungry, hopeless and dead
Dont ask me why some who eschew the very presence of evil seem to suffer a load unbearable by the average man
Dont ask me why the good suffer for the bad and there seems to be more bad than good
Dont ask me why the very religions that should teach us to love on another as ourselves has been used to exploit those same neighbours
Don't ask me why the good die young and so many of the wicked are here to wreak havoc on the rest of us

All I know is that:

God takes care of him own.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

NO I am NOT pregnant, I am just FAT, now leave me alone!!!

There is a difference when my Ma and those women in my family henkering for a baby to coddle ask.. "You pregnant?" after hearing that I have been vomiting or something. But.. under the following circumstances, who wouldn't be just a tad upset? This has been the subject a lot lately and I swear I am burying this issue once and for all. Read on.

I just need to vent....
Last night I met a sister of my hubby's friend for the first time and she asked me if I was pregnant. Let me tell you ladies something. This is THE LAST TIME someone is going to ask me that question unless I am really pregnant!!! It totally upset me and not because I was packing some weight but because I have been working hard for months and had already sen improvements. Even my own hubby the day before offered " Your body is really re-shaping... i can see the changes in your thighs, arms, stomach and back." Now one day later this woman WHOM I HAVE NEVER MET meets me and unwittingly attempts to shatter my progress?1?!!?? NO sah! A no so it go! I know that she wasn't necessarily being mean- we are newlyweds - but no woman over 25, much less over 30 should EVER be so insensitive to another woman. If I am pregnant, she willl find out, no?

Of course ESC was upset that the comment was made... he has publicly defended me in the past. He is still trying to convince me that i really dont look pregnant.

Furthermore, I don't want to be put in the defensive over my own body. I am working out my issues on my own thank you. Sometimes we women are just too nuff... (inquisitive). Why do we need to know if if that is a weave or her own hair, eyelashes or a real Prada bag? When can "how are you?" or a mere "You look happy" suffice.

We are our sister's keeper. Men look about each other. We on the other hand, even though sometimes unwittingly can be our worst enemies. My granny always said "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing." It is true! Smile and say "It's good to see you!" I used to hear visitors come by the house over and over and the first thing she greeted them with is " It is lovely to see you. You look WELL!" I think she was on to something.

"Wellness" is not just about fat or skinny or rich or poor or whatever. It goes waaaaay beyond the surface... like my granny did when she met somebody... she saw all the way to their souls. No doubt, people have always left her presence encouraged, even if she eventually challenges them, she does so with an art that builds and not destroys. We are active partcipants in each other's victories and we are quick to lift each other up even when we ourselves could use a prop. We are our sisters' keepers. Now, let's take that love and energy to the streets.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Still I Rise

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Just a little more (diverse) conversation

I honestly don't know what has happened in the past two years but I find myself pigeon-holed in many conversations these days. It seems like there is a limit to the conversations that I have and it's driving me crazy, Miss Daisy. I am hearing myself having the same conversations with the same people over and over, and quite frankly, I am bored with them. I think that maybe, I am having something of a New Friend Identity Crisis.

With my peeps, I can chat all day (literally) about all sorts of things. We can move from world politics to the anatomy of a good shoe in 60 seconds flat and our conversations are permeated by long comfortable intelligent silences. There is no rush to get off the phone. There is no agenda for calling or meeting. The conversation is both the means and the end.

What would I do for that.

I think I am still dealing with the fallout of not having a very active career to talk about. People meet you here and conversations go like this:

"Oh hi. Are you from Kenya?"
"No, Jamaica."
"So what do you do here.?"

Well, that was a conversation I had at church last week. I just didn't think church was another place that required me to proclaim to the world yet again that I am without a real "job."

Is this how it feels to be married for decades and not have children? It's the same thing when you are fat. People seem to be mean without even intending to be mean to people who may have insecurities about certain things.

"Wow- you have put on weight!" (Hmmm. could that be why my clothes dont fit?)
"Are you pregnant?" ( No, I am just fat but you are ugly and that cannot be fixed without surgery)
"Are you still looking for a man?" (Yes, all the men seem to be gay and taken-including yours)
"Still trying to conceive?" (Yes, but when I think of the goats you have for kids, I wonder why am I still trying)
"Still no job?" (No, but you will be the first to know when I do.)

Let me tell you what it is. I have been blessed with some STELLAR PEOPLE in my life. Family members who are also friends and friends who are family and when you have that kind of a foundation, it's hard to settle for surface relationships. I am not the deepest, brooding yogic guru, nor am I the shallowest, high maintenance gal... I am both- running up and down the continuum as I please.

I know I have to find ways to strike deeper friendships and I know that I too have some blame. Sometimes my expectations are so lowered that people get few chances to strike it rich with me. Having said that though, this is one shallow city! Pity I dont' speak Arabic so I could go out into the dessert and commune with the bedouin.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NYTimes Article on last week's death of previous Shower Posse Leader

Vivian Blake, 54, Founder of Jamaica Drug Gang, Dies
Published: March 25, 2010

Vivian Blake, a former top leader of the Jamaican Shower Posse, which United States prosecutors say was responsible for more than 1,400 drug-related killings in this country in the 1980s, died Sunday night in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 54.

Mr. Blake died after being brought to the University Hospital of the West Indies complaining of breathing problems, said Ruel Rainford, the senior director of administration and operations. He said an autopsy was planned. Mr. Blake’s daughter, Dominique Blake, said he had been suffering from kidney failure and diabetes.

Since his release from prison in the United States 14 months ago, Mr. Blake had been living in Jamaica and writing a screenplay about his life, said his lawyer, George Soutar.

Mr. Blake, who grew up in poverty in West Kingston, earned a scholarship to St. George’s College, a private high school in Jamaica. He first traveled to New York as part of a cricket team in 1973, and stayed there, establishing the American affiliate of the Shower Posse in Brooklyn.

There are differing accounts of how the gang got its name. Many believe it was derived from a 1980 campaign speech by Edward Seaga of the Jamaican Labor Party, who promised “showers of blessings” in economic opportunity for Jamaicans. The gang was widely seen as aligned with Mr. Seaga’s party. Another version contends that the name came from the way the gang would spray its victims with bullets.

In the United States, Mr. Blake developed a marijuana and cocaine distribution network that spanned major cities from Miami to New York to Los Angeles and even reached as far as Anchorage. A warrant for his arrest was first issued in 1988 after he and other members of the gang were accused in the November 1984 killing of five people in a Miami crack house. Mr. Blake escaped arrest by hopping on a cruise ship in Miami bound for Jamaica, according to a 2008 profile of the Shower Posse on the BET series “American Gangster.”

While fighting extradition in Jamaica, Mr. Blake established a nightclub, motorbike rental agency and a loan company. Another arrest warrant was issued, and in 1999, he was extradited to Miami. As part of a deal to avoid trial, he pleaded guilty to racketeering, criminal conspiracy and drug possession while admitting his leadership role in the gang.

“But what he never admitted to was his responsibility in personally killing anybody,” said his lawyer at the time, David Rowe. “I think he always felt above the fray.” Ms. Blake said her father had shielded her and her older brother, Duane, from his activities. “It wasn’t until a couple years back that I started to learn things in detail,” she said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“There was not one day in my life I did not speak to him,” said Ms. Blake, who won an N.C.A.A. title in the 4-x-400-meter relay while attending Pennsylvania State University and who now directs Black Knight Investments, the loan company modeled after the one her father started, while training to make the Jamaican Olympic team. Her brother chronicled their father’s life in a 2003 book, “Shower Posse: The Most Notorious Jamaican Crime Organization.”

“We are definitely saddened, as with any death,” said Dr. Peter Phillips, a former Jamaican minister of national security, “but I think it would do Jamaica well to examine his own admissions in his establishment of high-level criminal organizations in Jamaica.”

Federal prosecutors in New York are seeking the extradition of Christopher Coke, the current Shower Posse leader, on charges of drug distribution and firearms trafficking.

Besides his two children, Mr. Blake is survived by his wife, Valerie, and four grandchildren.

Ross Sheil contributed reporting from Kingston, Jamaica.

The History of Christopher Dudus Coke Shower Posse

Smoking Baby-This 2yr Old Smokes 40 Cigarettes A Day!

Now you tell me? What are we coming to? What next?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's Motivation- Greyson Chance "Broken Heart"

This kid is exceptional. He is a sixth grader and he has written the music and lyrics to his own song and has posted it. Here's to fearless, non-apologetic creativity and self-expression. Out of the mouths of babes lies inspiration...

In giving, we receive

A funny thing occurred to me yesterday as I was writing in my journal- it was about my very first lesson as a substitute teacher for a remedial grade 2 class. I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I came from a family of educators, but having studied communication, I cannot say I was expertly versed in how to instruct my pupils, most of whom struggled to read and a few who couldn't recognize much beyond their names. I wanted to introduce myself to my 42 children. I thought deep and hard. Then I wrote on the board:

"I am Miss Morrison

I can be anything I want to be
All I have to do is work hard
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

I made each of them stand and introduce themselves and tell me what they wanted to be when they grew up and then I went over each word and made them recite it periodically in chorus. I figured I wouldn't have them long enough to successfully teach them all to read but I could motivate them and plant a seed inside them for them to see that their dreams, no matter how harsh their circumstances, could be theirs if they put in the hard work and only believed.

Who would have known that 8 years later, those same words would be an inspiration to me?

"I can be anything I want to be
All I have to do is work hard
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"

So can you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

If I were truly honest in this moment, I'd say....

I miss my former life.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Housework will never done

I proving that to be true over and over again. Here how. I have been a little poly (sick) for the past few days, so I have been trying to do a little here and there to tidy our cosy little space called home. All now, I can't seem to make a big enough in the "To Do" list. Don't even ask me about ironing- that is for those ambitious ones of Bri (Desperate Housewives) constitution.

How on earth did my mother manage to wash. cook and clean house the same day? And mind you, she was hand-washing diapers stained by the mineral laden dirt of Red Hills.

I have a brand new level of respect for my mother and all the older women in my lives who really tried to prepare me for this day. No preparation could be good enough to reconcile with the fact that even though I have a VERY helpful man, he is hardly around, and no matter how you spin it, housework is "woman business."

Here's why.

When you go to the residence of a nice couple and moss growing in the bathroom and the kitchen... do you not feel sorry for the man that he is stuck with such an unkempt and slovenly woman? I not talking about a little mess here and there, I talking bout a kind of dirt that takes three days of concentrated chemicals and back breaking elbow grease to budge.

I have been fantasizing ever since I was a little girl that someone would invent buttons for all domestic chores (making beds, folding socks, dusting, dishes etc). After all this time, they have found ways to clone sheep, modify plant genes and fly to Mars yet I am about to turn a ripe 30 and all now, all now, not a soul not helping out? I tell you why. Men don't care to invent those things and most of us women are too busy doing domestics to be able to invent things that actually mean something to us.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Listening to my body

My energy levels ebb and flow throughout the days. I am going to learn to maximize my workouts by doing them when I am in one of my peaks. My knees have been giving me a few cautionary tales. Kinda sucks, but you know, I just have to listen. I have to do more yoga.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dressing rules for my unborn daughter

Whatever you do, mi child, please don't siddung (sit) and make your husband (legal or common law) look better than you. Is not a good ting. Don't get me wrong, me not talking bout weight, me talking bout how you feel bout yusself and how it reflects in how you put yusself together and how you carry that same self around.

Just yesterday, I was perusing the Jamaican papers and a business man who I used to see out solo very regularly at after work limes (schmoozing/drinks) was photographed with his dearly beloved. It was the first time me see she and trust me, I not being bitchy, I was sorry for her. I have always thought he was always well put together and I thought he must have some fancy wife (he wore his ring proudly) and didn't pick up women to my knowledge. Mi dear, her hair was frazzled, makeup non existent and her frock, frumpy while Mr. Man was looking like he was vying for the cover of GQ. Not good.

If Mrs. Dearly Beloved had pinned up her hair in a chignon (be wise, the function was at the beach) and played up her eye makeup, and worn a a dress that flattered her voluptuous curves, then I would have been happy for her, but with frizzy hair, et al, all I felt was empathy.

When you are not feeling your best, that is when you must look you most endeavourmostbest. Looking good makes you feel good, and feeling good makes you look good. Fake it till you make it or stay home.

ESC knows that even if we are just heading for the supermarket and I get out of the shower 15 mins before him, he will get dressed and turn on the TV until I shout out "Ready" 15 mins hence. I love to dress up. I love colours. He is happy to walk beside me because I "bring him off." I dress up, fat, skinny or slim. Why? It's not your weight that makes you sexy, but how you feel about yourself. You can get a hint of that innate sexiness based on how much care has been put into the appearance. Don't get me wrong, frills and face paint are not directly proportional to self esteem, it's how complementary the look is that counts.

"Married with children" doesn't have to be an unflattering mommy dress code and a voluptuous body does not have to be draped in eternal frumpiness. Find your style and rock it, no matter how your body looks. Whatever you do, don't wear everything you own at once. We save that for christmas trees.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The importance of setting attainable goals. What is your Mission Statement?

The main reason why I can look back and see some measure of success in my life is because I have written down things I wanted to accomplish and have ticked them off one by one. Up until recently, the list was longer. Do this, get that, reach there, grab that. Now, it's just about taking the steps, one at a time, to realize my most authentic and optimal self by bringing mind, body and spirit into balance. Can I tell you? That is a helluva goal on its own and it needs no company. I am also visualizing it. I see it in my meditation practice, picture it before I fall asleep at night, and repeat the affirmations, even for all to see on my bathroom mirror. I, Sheer Almshouse, have one singular goal in a world of clutter, multi-tasking and multiple births.

Looking on the goal as written above... it's more of a Mission Statement as opposed to a singular goal. It is the benchmark by which all efforts are measured and directed to reach.

I realise that we cannot focus on things in isolation. "Buying the house" may mean holding on to a toxic job. "Getting married" may mean accepting the proposal of a controlling spouse and just like how we cannot just spot reduce weight off our tummies alone, we cannot avoid the whole.

I am figuring out that once you focus on fine-tuning your personal big picture, "then all these things shall be added until you."

Easy does it

Sometimes I feel like I should do at least two workouts per day. Sometimes, when I have the energy, I do, other times I have to push myself through one. One thing for certain is that this process is forcing me to become more mindful of a lot of things.

I catch myself craving fast food when I want a quick fix. I am happy to report that I haven't seen the KFC delivery guy in at least 4 weekends- and boy was he cute! What's up with that? Subway dude is this old unattactive man and KFC dude is one of those fit for playing the role of the Old Spice guy. I guess he doesn't eat KFC.

I am taking Neem (for eczema) and Triphala (for digestion and elimination of ama) according to Ayurvedic principles. I swear there is a little Indian guru in me. I love yoga, Indian food, Ayurveda, pretty pretty (as opposed to just plain pretty). I am even practicing to shake my head while I say "Yes." But seriously, India is the source of a lot of happiness for me over here. I get fruits I know from back home that are imported from India. What is nicer that seeing sweet sop, naseberry, chiney banana and jackfruit when you are thousands of miles from home? I couldn't even get those fruits in The Island Behind God's Back and that was in the Caribbean!!!! Don't even mention fresh coconut water out of the husk and dried coconut grated right in front of you with a contraption that should have been invented in Jamaica! The coconuts are more likely from Sri Lanka and Thailand than India though.

I also like the fact that food is so much cheaper here and it is very cost effective to eat very well. I enjoy going to the market to get fresh produce and interacting with the vendors.

I have also figured out how to pacify Indian and Pakistani taxi drivers who are angry about taking me for a low fare short trip: smile and tell them I am from the West Indies and talk about cricket.

I am sooo dying to go to INdia!
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