Raker Man

Storyshucker

The tropical sun was intense but from the shade we sipped Pina Coladas and stared at the blue Caribbean. A vacation in the Dominican Republic! We staked claim to a favorite cabana and by afternoon were chatting with beachside neighbors. Diane in the next cabana knew a lot about the area and in the balmy breeze we compared notes on favorite restaurants as we enjoyed the beach.

The next hot day while eating lusciously ripe strawberries I caught sight of the trio working in the sun. We’d noticed the daily routine of these three whose job it was, apparently, to clear the beach each day of seaweed washed up during the night. They were a motley band in ragged clothes. Locals in need of work I supposed, and hard work it was. Each day they scoured the beach, raking and hauling debris. An older worker lagged behind. The effort it…

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Corporate Catfish….

 I always hear about cases where people have panic attacks and serious effects on their lives due to pressure from their jobs. I just never thought that would ever be me. I make the best of every situation I’m thrown and live positively. As I try to take life one day at a time, my mental strength is waning. I constantly think back on a recent work experience and how I made a bed for myself that was consistently painful. I chose this job and it was the worst work experience ever. There were so many great things about the job. The people outside of my department were very respectful, I loved the work, the company perks were amazing. There was opportunities popping up all the time and the company pride was strong. It was one of those companies that people stay at for years and eventually their family members join and do the same. Unfortunately, my role changed my life for the worst. I’m fleshing it out now on this here blog because I feel like I need to talk about it one last time and be done. This experience still has my brain hurting and foggy and when I resigned I felt like the beating was over. Except I didn’t feel relief, I felt like I was going in a downward spiral due to lack of stability. I no longer have a full-time job. I am however going to University but the uncertainty of how certain things will be covered leaves me weary and unable to concentrate. See, I have been known to go to school and work full-time, even after being a mother. It was a feat I mastered many times before but doing this at this company would have been the death of me. I held on for 8 months because of my family. It was such a draining environment for me, I began to see the parts of myself I loved slip away. There were times I had to look at pictures of my son to center myself. I could no longer bring myself to smile or even laugh when interacting with others from my team. I was always in a state of bewilderment and awe at the gall of my team members. I just never worked with people who were so clear in their message that I did not matter. It was so odd and perturbing, but I refused to give up until mentally, I was losing it. I tried meditating when hit with pressure but I couldn’t find my breathe until I added weird images. I would try to take deep breaths with my eyes closed, but I wouldn’t actually be calm until I sat still and replayed images of people doing a Tai Chi routine.  It was forcing myself to follow their rhythm that helped me quell my anxiety. I was always so anxious about work and my spouse pointed this out and opened the floodgates for tears. I had a nervous breakdown one day that shocked even him. Neither of us had ever encountered work stress on this level. I felt depressed. I didn’t feel like a victim, I more felt like I was being challenged but without a paddle to save myself. I couldn’t trust anyone. I felt like someone else was controlling my record and there was nothing I could do about it, I was to be under their thumb at all times. My manager was so absentee it made no sense causing an alarm, he didn’t have the time. People I considered peers/mentors were even advising me to retaliate with lashes but I just could not find my voice. After a few months when I gained a bit of confidence in my abilities, I attempted to defend myself and was met with a conference call to discuss my work and lack thereof. I was floored as this was real life. Everything I did incorrectly was emailed to my manager with the entire team cc’d on it with screenshots and the works. As a new person, I was so confused by this ‘call out’ trait and when I inquired was given confirmation that I was indeed being ‘reported’. There were times when it was even for things I didn’t know how to do or hadn’t been trained on. I thought it so bizarre how people refused to communicate directly to me in order to help me but would then say we’re a ‘team’. It was hodgepodge mind fuck of constant changes and finger pointing. When no one from my team but the 1 person that does the same thing as me spoke to me about my resignation; I didn’t mind. My manager spoke to me about my leaving as well, but just because it is an obvious formality. In an effort to gain wisdom on corporate going ons, I spoke to my Grand Aunt about my experiences and she told me they were making it clear they were glad I was leaving. This offended me a bit but also gave me closure. I know I didn’t give that job my best; I simply couldn’t find it, so I know she is right. I was glad to be leaving as well. I wasn’t ever on my ‘A’ game because I felt like I kept being knocked off the podium, I made a lot of mistakes and was extremely withdrawn into myself. I just couldn’t trust them. I didn’t intend to make friends, but it was like I had made enemies without them even knowing anything about me. None of them I’d seen before but one thing was for sure; that company was theirs and no one else’s! The way they treated me when I had a death in my family, sealed certain things for me and I pitied them. I felt sad for the karma that will grip their lives.

While I work on getting myself back to a good place and practice calming my mind when a thousand thoughts race to the forefront, I can’t help but try to let this devastation go. I can’t help but speak about how detrimental a horrible work life can be. In my own time of pulling myself out of the gutter, I wish that others will find the strength and courage to move on for their own health. Most importantly that opportunity will find them and heal their hearts. I wish for space and room for their brain to breathe so that they do not lose balance there and become weak. I wish that others in similar situations will hold on to at least hope that change will come.        

*Flashback Post*-November 3rd, 2013

I remember those days,

Timeless moments nothing could intercept,

Living for each moment, not thinking we had much time left,

Hours ran into days, ran into months into pains,

 

I remember those days,

Each day awoken with a smile,

Loving each second, each embrace,

Tethered by our souls, moving by grace,

 

I remember those days,

Time flew around us, yet our gaze stood still,

Time flew around us, but our traces lingered on each others skin,

Careless spirits, moving us through,

 

I remember those days,

Nothing ever mattered, nothing was our everything,

Talks that extended past wee hours,

No interests in seeing anything but each other

 

I remember those days,

Shamelessly submissive to your every word,

Fed from your words and your releases,

Full from all you embody and all you do,

 

I remember those days,

Falling into your arms was the single point I looked forward to in my days

Even just in candle light you seemed so great,

Naked and bare I still saw you as Adonis type gold

My every fibre focused on willing your eyes to just me

 

I remember those days,

If my tears would fall, so would yours too,

I’d be felt and heard and made to feel silly because you were there,

We were one being of burning heat and hope and love

We were open, our basic selves, feeding each others strengths

 

I remember those days,

Fingers tracing lightly on skin,

Tip toeing, stealing kisses, sneaking in,

Soft touches calls flutters in,

a glow and a constant happiness;grins

 

I remember those days

I ain’t felt that way in years.

*Flashback post*-Dec. 29th 2013

It is what’s in your soul that will be the only thing that will carry you through,

When faced with adversity, when your pureness has been compromised,

Fly, fly on…..just keep swimming, it’s not the end,

 

When you gave of yourself and received naught,

It is not the end for you, your kindness has not met defeat,

It has instead met tests for a stronger self, don’t forget.

 

Fly, carry on as you are,

Don’t change when met with grunge, debris and a witless heart,

You have done no ill in being kind, extending a hand and trying to change the times,

Never change because you’re hurt, be yourself someone will see your worth.

 

Never beat yourself up. Never expect a beast to give you a rose.

You introduced your naked soul and were rebuffed.

Life goes on, no matter how tough.

 

When the dust settles it will be clear,

You made a clearing in a dark place,

You loved the unloved.

!Diaper Yeast Attack!

You know how they say be careful what you post online as one day your child might see it?…. yah, I’ll spare you pictures of my sons diaper yeast. I don’t want to be the reason he becomes ridiculed in school, but this thing was bad. It looked like moss, lil booty eating moss. I’m not sure if it hurt as he didn’t scratch too much. Incidentally, I learned the hard way that Magnesium was the worst thing to put on it. I mixed colloidal silver with magnesium and rubbed it on and he jumped and started scratching and kicking up his legs. Thank God his nails were cut or he’d tear a cheek off. It was a battle to get him to stop moving long enough for me to wipe the shit off, but eventually it passed. Poor child! The doctor had diagnosed it as diaper yeast and gave me a cream. It worked for a little bit, but then the diaper yeast was back. It was here bigger and spreading wider. I read online about Boudreaux butt paste and used it on him and holy! He got a rash on his poor pecker. I finally said ok, back to the doctor. Hubs told them it was getting worse and somehow the doctor convinced him it was getting better. Even though he lives with us, and we are the ones cleaning that butt every damn day! She prescribed Polysporin and I was pissed! That was used for healing cuts sooner than time would and this wasn’t a regular ‘ol diaper rash. We also couldn’t use it everyday and to me a day missed not working on this is a day it gets to either get better or worse. I needed it to get better only. I used it and it worked a little bit, the Canesten cream worked way better than it did.

After taking a step back and tracking a timeline from when this first became an issue, I realized it was going on for far too long. I wanted it gone and off my kids bum. The ever nurturing Google was my refuge. This time I looked up natural methods of getting rid of this thing. I would wash his butt with warm water with 2 drops of tea tree oil added, then smear yogurt on. This was so messy! This was working and even our daycare lady did it every now and then. We changed him often and gave him lots of breaks (lots of clean-ups) to help offer some relief. He unfortunately got an eczema outbreak from the Greek Yogurt we were adding to his bottle at nights and when we pulled it from his diet, we were left with a tub of the stuff to finish. *facepalm*. Our previous solution worked on the eczema, it’s just now we couldn’t tell which was which easily in order to contain the diaper yeast.  Nevertheless, I was on the charge and started applying the Greek Yogurt to his butt. I want to say within a week, I could actually see the yeast drying up. I read somewhere that when it started drying up I should not apply the yogurt anymore, as it was on the mend. Every now and then though I’d do this routine at nights, when he’s sleeping. Especially if he pooped in his sleep. Hubs mentioned that it might be something he eats that triggered it, but for the life of us we can’t put out finger on this one. He would poo and then bam! His entire butt is in rashes. Sigh! Kudos to the natural mommy goddesses that share their magic. I am eternally grateful to the wave of naturopathic educators on the internet….my baby’s butt thanks you! ….xoxo

 

-Nic

Born a Crime….a review

The irony of using a $1 bill as a book marker….money is what it always comes down to; isn’t it?

I took a ‘leap of purchase’ based on a recommendation from a podcast I was listening to. I don’t really connect with a lot of people so I usually research things I hear on podcasts; typically if I am continuing to listen there is some trust there. *deep, I know* I wanted to get back in the groove of reading but this book was $35 at my bookstore. I didn’t make a purchase then as I wasn’t even sure I’d actually finish it. I still have books on my bookshelf I haven’t touched but lost interest in and tons unfinished. It’s bad, we fight a lot about my books in my home. I perused the bookstore site again a couple days after my visit and found it to be on sale for $17.  I said, ‘ok, fine, since you insist’ and made a purchase. Now, before I discuss the book, I’ve been battling issues and concerns of raising a black son in North America. I still drift off on a fear-filled wonder thanks to scenes from the movie ‘Get Out’. I’ve purposely steered away from news about Trump and American politics because I was becoming mentally drained. I also have loosened the grip on my parenting, mainly due to work stress, so there’s been some guilt about that too. Also, I’m currently in a financial rut. I needed a hobby, I needed this purchase to be a win. I was already lagging on working on my art with no strength to change. I needed to peruse someone else’s art and TV shows were starting to bore me. So, purchased at the same time, I read The Handmaid’s Tale and got caught up on the show. I don’t usually care for autobiographies as they’re obviously meant to be self-absorbing, but I already bought this one. I was still empty and so I decided to start Trevor Noah’s ‘Born A Crime’ before it made it to my book shelf unopened.

My God, I felt so full. It was so fairly written.The delusions of race, the viewpoint of life as a mixed child, the tales of Africa; the continent misrepresented. The appreciation and honesty about his mother and her life. The history lessons. The humor. The role of religion in his life, traditional living, the misjudgments of Domestic Abuse. Parenthood. The facets of love, relationships and life. The mere voice of the author. I knew nothing about this man and have never seen him on TV or watched his shows, so I was basically going in blind. Let me tell you, when I say I could hear how he spoke and see clearly and connect with the things of which he spoke about; nothing was missed.

This boy spoke of his mother the way I would want my son to speak of me. When I read ‘The Second Girl’ I connected with the distance that caused her to be who she was. I am not a traditional mother. There are no grand/great-grand parents instilling any archaic child rearing disciplines in my son’s life. There are no rules in my house either, and I absolutely DO NOT believe a child should be seen and not heard. I also do not hide ‘real life’ from my son. I cry, laugh, fight, play, be mad and sad around him. At 2yrs old I sometimes ask him what he thinks about many things and even go along with what he chooses. The only areas of his life that I try to control is his diet, who gets to discipline him and who comes and goes in his life. I am not blinded by love either and is sure to ‘stick it to him’ when he misbehaves and will shamelessly laugh at his misfortunes. The fact that this man has understood, respected, forgiven and accepted his mother for who she is and all she gave at such a young age, warmed my heart so much. The maturity of this child had me in awe as there are still things I grapple with in my personal life. A good mother will give you everything they have, down to their bare bones and all they want in return is for you to be grateful. There is so much about humility that came from their relationship; so much mutual respect.

  The way he spoke about race and the examples he gave made me sick to my stomach. Africa, as many know is all suffering, all the time. It’s what’s been fed to us on the media and even in schools. There is a stigma that comes with being African that lets people just not want to deal. The history lessons on Apartheid and the concepts of race and their division was so mind blowing. A couple ‘WTF?!’ left my mouth more than once. It made me think how current and needed his tutelage is. I wanted to get on a podium and scream into a mic “People please read this, IT IS intentionally being done; it isn’t in your mind. They think we should not have nice things!”. The political climate in America, the need for the BLM Toronto, the fact that a certain race that far out numbers many others and are becoming lawmakers in Canada, the segregation that comes with certain religions; it is all being called out in this book. You cannot possibly read this and say ‘Man South Africans are crazy and wack for that shit’ and not point a finger on the current state of things in many countries. There is a breakdown of poverty and awareness on ‘the black tax’; ‘the cycle of poverty and violence’ and the strong hand the government and law makers play in deciding the quality of life of others based on something they cannot control. You can bleach your skin, you can do surgery, you can assume a different identity and even start to talk funny; but there will also be the fact that you were born in the skin you’re in. That, you will have to take all that comes with it and deal; be quiet and slap a smile on while doing so.

Religion was a very big part of his life growing up and for many of us. I connected with him with many things that happened in his childhood and laughed at how much a West Indian life was so similar. We just basically have different name or places for things. Friends, here is a young person that grew up in a racist time under a racist regime, portraying it as the tool it is. Information and the way generations grow and change will even religion out. There are many dark places in every religious sect and the youth are not falling for it anymore. He also vividly showed how misused it is.

Part 2 of his book lost me a bit but I read on as the writing was very good. The voice of the author was very clear and easy-going, so you could cruise through and not lose interest.  The aspects of his life that had to do with love and relationships were lost on me because I was a ‘prime’, wild child. I’d been kissing boys for years and you can imagine what else. I wasn’t much for impressions either and the one childhood crush I had, I fell in front of him outside of church one evening and that pretty much humbled me for life. Still, I read on. The love I wanted to explode was that between his mother and father. Why can’t people love who they love and be with who they want to? What does the government and religion have to do with love? This organic, natural uncontrollable emotion; why are those two so disgusting at being controlling. Why do they exist as a factor here? The relationship with his father and the way his mother handled it annoyed me to no end. There was also her own marriage to a monster that drove me nuts. In an effort to not offend those suffered/suffering from abuse and domestic abuse there won’t be much I’ll say there. Just that an unhappy life does not have to be your forever. A man that can turn his back on his own child can never be trusted and that love should never hurt.

There is a ray of hope that comes from this book in the Chapters ‘Chameleon’, ‘Outsider’ and ‘My Mother’s Life’. There is also a sick, sad detriment a CHILD was going through. Don’t become a victim of your circumstance.  It is so easy to say ‘woe is me’ and to harp on where you place blame. However, we are our choices, be conscious and alert. Every move you make is your own responsibility and determines your own future. Look ahead and see the bigger picture and keep it moving. Most importantly, accept things. We are often taught to not settle, but there are situations that you will have to accept and work with until you can do better. Fight the social/societal constructs with your brain and not your fist. Adulthood will give you a lot of clarity on this; especially in an environment like the workplace.

This memoir was worth the purchase. One I will save for my children to read. My only regret is the curry stain on the pages from when my roti fell out of my hand one day at lunch…xoxo

-Nic