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

Night time Babba woes…

*Sigh* …Our food drama continues…

Since lately baby (2 yr. old) has been waking up multiple times throughout the night screaming for a bottle. We were trying to wean him off bottles, formulas and bedtime ‘babbas’ but the child was legitimately starving.

We tried giving him water, rocking him back to sleep, letting him wake up, turning on his favorite videos on his tablets, singing songs etc. None of it works as fast as a warm bottle does.  Truth be told, most times we needed to go back to bed as well. When our efforts failed we tried to find ways to full his stomach. We only use almond and coconut milk and so we figured they weren’t holding him as long as we needed. Plus, frequently waking up meant he wasn’t hitting deep a sleep to me. one night he woke up 6 times and he polished off his bottle each time. We knew we needed to make a change. We needed to make baby fuller, longer. We figured he was tired of the Pediasure, so I looked at other things.  I perused the supermarket aisle and was considering a baby cereal but there wasn’t any that went up to his age.  A quick Google search suggested that greek yogurt is one food that keeps you fuller longer. I figured that it couldn’t hurt to try even though he was technically limited when it came to dairy.

I bought a small tub of organic plain to try and it worked like a charm! One tablespoon in his night time bottle and he only woke up 1 time for the night looking for his fill. He even seemed more well rested. I especially loved that this wasn’t a filler like the cereal would be but a great healthy addition with lots of Calcium benefits!

Score!

Mama Hotline Bling

Perhaps you will pause for a minute or scroll on by.

This Mother’s Day make sure you call your mother, at least to say ‘hi’.

Don’t send her a text, email or just a delivery.

Let her hear your voice or see your angel face physically.

Where she can touch and look upon you directly.

 

A mother can look into your eyes and know your lies.

It’s also the place that tells her you’re weak or how much you’ve tried.

She will always make your favorite meal on the fly.

Be the one that answers, Every. Single. Time.

 

Make sure you tell her you love and appreciate her

Hug up, squeeze up and draw nearer, nearer

Tell her you’re acknowledging her worth.

That you know you changed her life at your birth

Your words are heavy, make sure you don’t stutter

Joke about how you know you’re the best thing in her life

That you live happily, that will make her smile; her heart flutter.

 

Call your mother this Mother’s Day

Let the conversation linger on, let her say all she has to say

Somewhere in all the pleasantries your fears will be exposed

But do not feel guilt when she says ‘a mother always knows’.

Tell her you’re grateful she’s recognized you as an adult.

That you don’t intentionally mean to be difficult.

Before you run off the phone, say ‘I love YOU mama’.

You’re all I worry and think about

Remind her that for all 365 days, she’s all you care about.

Shoo flu!!

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Us…

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The elixir

My hubby said he read somewhere that our baby will get 6-8 colds this year. I immediately felt defeated, as he’s currently on no. 2. I decided that it won’t beat us and the moment we got home today, I got to work. I minced some garlic added two teaspoons of honey and squeezed some lemon in the mix. I stir it up and together we administered the potion! I feel like this is the wickedest think I’ve ever done to my son. The taste of the garlic did sting! I don’t believe eating raw garlic is yummy but I wanted something natural and guaranteed. We hugged it out and he proceeded to wipe his nose in my shirt, and with that we can call it even!

Let’s hope your babies are having better luck than mine and my household!

Men who molest…

My country has waged a war against women. I feel sick to my bones with all that is happening. The sad part is, none of this is new. A couple weeks ago I sat listening to a friend as she spoke about how she forgave the man who molested her as a little girl. I sat quietly and didn’t particularly share as I didn’t want to hijack her moment. These things are very hard to discuss. I thought back to my main instance (s) of being molested. My mother had secured a ride for me to go to school with a gentleman who lived up the street. I was happy! I was off the bus, out of the hassle and most importantly, I’d be chauffeured to school. The morning commutes was brutal. It took two hours by transit to get to school and back. We lived in the country and I attended school in the city. The commuting struggle went on for years and is something I promised I’d never do to myself when I got older; not for me or my kids. I was constantly drained and tired, travelling was taxing. So, the new drive was welcomed. I enjoy sitting in the back quietly all the way to school. I remained polite every time I was spoken to. I was about 10 years old and dreaded being beaten. West Indian parents didn’t care to hear your side of the story, once they got a report of misbehaving, your ass would feelimg_20170124_002421539 the effects of their embarrassment.

Eventually, I started getting comfortable; naturally. It began with me nodding off periodically, to me fully laying face down on the back seat. I was tired! I figured it did no harm. This man would have to wake me up when I got to school but that wasn’t a crime either; I thought. I didn’t quite understand what happened the first time, but a few more times and I realized this was habitual. To wake me up, he would push his hand under my chest and squeeze my breasts. I felt ashamed. I was very ‘busty’ as a young girl and it was the source of many conversations; much to my disdain. One day when we were on a bus, my mother told me I could tell her anything. Looking back now, I wondered if my attitude had changed to prompt this and I told my mother and she ended that convenient ride immediately. This man’s second attempt came one night, there was a light out in the neighborhood and I was home alone with my candles lit. I had to take the bus home in the afternoons and stay inside until my mother came. She strictly instructed that I not let anyone in and I listened. Unaware of the morbid characters of the world and unwilling to find out I followed her lead.

On this night, he came to our house and said he had something for my mother. I cracked the door to collect it and he pulled the door open and came inside. I was petrified but I didn’t show it. I tried to handle things so that he would leave, he wouldn’t budge. He reached for me and squeezed my stomach and I pulled away. I pushed myself between the fridge and the table and told him he had to leave and that my mother would be home soon. He got up and said he’d see me later and just as he was walking out with his flashlight, my mother was home. I was relieved and scared in the same breath.  She was in a tizzy. I told her what happened and that he brought her a roll of hand towel!  Oh she was mad! I was relieved and sad. When she cried it broke me and when she called her friends and told them I was embarrassed and felt like a failure.  I didn’t know what to think of myself and have always had to hold men off. My worst fear in life is being raped and so I may be overly cautious and very direct to men that approach me.

My husband joked about how I completely stop when things get very aggressive during our intimate moments and I am not afraid to say it is because of my experiences why I am this way. I’ve had two uncles proudly approach me with offers that are along the lines of incest. One of which has been blessed with a daughter. I remember sitting on the bus beside a church brother and he kept his hand within firm reach of my breasts the entire ride. I was such a coward and did not say anything. All I did was ensure to never make the mistake of travelling with him again. I’ve had the hugs that lasted way too long and the release from these hugs that involved ones hands running across my chest. I cannot stress enough how much I will never trust the male species. The more I think about having a daughter, the more these memories and thoughts linger at the forefront of my mind. The more I get scared at how I won’t be there to save her should anything happen or that I would be too late. A friend talked about how his child mother entertained the same man that held her daughter down and I thought about how deprived and lonely you had to be keeping a man like this around. How sad your life is and how neglected and empty your child must feel. I know women aren’t the only ones being sexually assaulted and all around it’s sad.

I hope for great change in the world and that the innocence of children especially will be respected. To the world, I hope for peace. Please do the same…

When eczema attacks….pt. duex

img_20170208_194349132I bought this bottle of Magnesium to go with my natural deodorant journey. I haven’t had much uses for it (not much research done yet) but I did add it to my DIY deodorant mix.

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on our way to wellness….

Anyhoo, tonight, as I was walking by my son’s room, I noticed the bottle on his bed. I picked it up and asked his Pop what he used it for. He mentioned that for the past 3 nights he’s been mixing it with the colloidal silver I bought for my son’s eczema and it’s been drying it up. I rubbed my son’s eczema spots and my gosh he was right!

They’re all almost gone. I asked how he knew to use it and he retorted ‘I read the bottle. It’s for dry skin!’. How simple was that? Immediately I got on top of my ‘Googles’ and he most definitely was right! Magnesium is a must for eczema!

1 point for the daddy-O! lol

Liabilities….

Sometimes when you find yourself at odds in your marriage, you question yourself a lot. You question your choices and if you should really be hanging on, or letting go of a lot of things. I’m not speaking of divorce. I’m speaking of things that never seem to change but rear their ugly heads at the worse times and make loving your spouse difficult. I’m speaking of words that have come back to bite you, that you don’t regret saying but probably should have kept hidden. Exposed vulnerabilities that caused you to be trapped in a cycle of ‘but you said this when’ and ‘how come I’m this when, but not that way when’. I’m speaking of those times when you have expressed appreciation and have had it taken advantage of. You begin to learn more and more about yourself and your partner the more you fight. You also change constantly and have to re-arrange how you do things in your life in relation to this person. When it comes to your children you are unapologetically you, annoying, over-doting and just down right every ‘meme’ of a parent that ever lived. You never seek to change to accommodate their request for you to stop, because you can’t help but be ‘parent’-like’. When it comes to a spouse though, those many times that you have had to ‘take a step back to focus’ comes with being a little more withdrawn every time. Somehow, you manage running back to the routine but with a much guarded face. The spoils of the war always comes with odd propositions like ‘you know you can tell me anything’ and you somehow want to say, ‘can I though?’ can I express adoration for you and not have it questioned when you’ve done something unfavorable? Not quite convinced, you learn to be devoted to keeping your thoughts modest and reserved. Every now and then though, you dip into your old ways…and I’ll let Sade tell it…..