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.
Copyright 2009 TwentySomething+ Monologue. Powered by Blogger Blogger Templates create by Deluxe Templates. WP by Masterplan