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…

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…..in silence….

I can be a very quiet and reserved person, so conversations pass me by a lot. I’m the type of person that will let you paint me with your words and thoughts and not offer a peep. I have a smiling face and eyebrows raised ready to listen and my answer is usually told by my facial expression.  I often create classifications in my mind where I group people and hardly ever do I have someone surprise me. Which led me to think, do people self-reflect? Are they connecting with themselves. Do the things you do to others, something you would want done to you? Have you ever heard someone say, ‘do you listen to yourself?’, because, do you? I find that a lot of people speak only because they are able to, not because they have something substantial to say. The last word is theirs; always. One of my favorite things is to eavesdrop; not intentionally but as I find myself in different places I am listening all around. I used to do this thing where I was ‘in silence’ and I would hardly talk all day and just observe and listen to the world. Letting things fall in place and most importantly watch my impact on others. It’s worthy to ponder on things sometimes…let your mind run away with you…

Say it… Say it… Say it…

img_20170126_074059_277Have you ever heard someone say how they love their kid and can almost feel what they mean? It always causes you to reflect on how much you definitely know what they mean. Others would hear this and probably think, ‘Duh’ and probably roll their eyes. Here’s the thing though, loving your kids isn’t an automatic reaction. When someone freely says this out loud, there is a level of pride and attention that comes with that. They’re telling you they live for their baby (s) and not just tolerate them. They actually like their kids and is so grateful for the opportunity to be their parent. A lot of parents don’t tell their children they love them, much less to say this to someone else. I believe once you have become a parent or have had to bestow compassion on an innocent child then you would get the message. Their innocence is all they are. A blank slate. So, it’s basically loving them through it all, tempers and tears, sweetness and fears, embarrassments and proud moments. Loving your kid should be more than providing; but it isn’t.  I almost feel like some parents withhold displaying this affection because they don’t want the child to think ‘they got them’. Let’s be honest and agree that kids hold us by the fear. This is where we start to grow up with a lot of issues. Realistically, If we allow children to run with our fears, we would be down trodden and left bare. I believe you should show them it and your hurt when they abuse it. Let them develop a conscience; this is what balances love. We should still watch our harshness, as this isn’t their fault. *follow me camera*…. I learned from watching my son that many skills take time to develop. There are a lot of things for them to learn and if they haven’t experienced anything much, they can’t show it. In some adults you see this as well, shows them a little tenderness and once they acknowledge it they’re changed. It’s the same with kids, love them either way. Buy them some time with being gracious and sometimes entertained. It is as simple as teaching a child to share their cookie every single time they have one. Every time they have a cookie, they may not, but the expectation to share will be there. There are other things that can be taught in this way as well. Compassion, patience, self-lessness, humility, humbleness, being open minded and self-conscious. Love them through it all, and let them know that. Teach them to love. It was common for this to be said to me growing up and made me be aware. I once overheard my hubby telling our son your mother will make sure you’re loved and you know it. This stopped me in my tracks because I thought what an odd thing to say, but he was right. Every chance I get I let him know and though he may not know the term, he knows the meaning….forgive and give kids some time…xoxo

Back to life….

I’ve been down a lot lately about many things. I think my hubby sensed this also which I don’t usuallyimg_20161105_121215092
like, as it’s added pressure. As such, I purposely remain mum so as to not overwhelm anyone but things have been heavy because I feel like time is catching up on us. None the less, I put on a brave face and go out there and do my best.

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Yuminess that I shared with everyone!

Today, I was sitting at work chatting it up with a co-worker about life and goals and where we want to see ourselves. In my mind I drifted back to a time when I drew and wrote poetry, randomness, everything that was going on in my life. I loved the artsy side I had and even attempted to take classes this Fall to build on that but life caught up with me. I thought about myself then and now and while somethings I am grateful has changed, some things I love that they remained the same. Mid convo I got a call for a delivery and I just couldn’t contain my smile. Here I was being in the dumps over uncontrollable things and there was so much love around me. I sat staring at my arrangement for a while because it also took me back to the early years of marriage when I would randomly get these gifts; just because. How fitting. Love remains constant and appreciation has grown leaps and bounds and I will always try to never forget that. While this affected my ability to concentrate for the rest of the day, I couldn’t help but think how perfect this was

It was the jolt I needed to focus on the positive things in my life and I am so so grateful!! I felt so girly and appreciated, so many butterflies in my stomach! I immediately I positioned myself as Ariel in the boat during Sebastian’s chorus of ‘Kiss The Girl’. Very random I know, but that’s the love I felt all over again. I just wanted to leap into my husbands arms and smack him with a big wet one! Honestly…

If a video could speak for me this would be it…percussions…strings…wind…words!….

 

 

Well played. Universe. Well played….

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…..

Barrel children…

img_20160828_154324I like to write about immigration and its effects. It has been a big part of my life and my upbringing and I don’t think people go below the surface enough. The other day, while on vacation in Atlanta, my brothers’ grandmother told us a bit of her share. She spoke about how she got the opportunity to leave her 6 kids behind to go abroad to work in people’s homes. Doing what she can so that she can feed her brood. There was one part that made me almost tear up. She spoke about being able to finally save up enough to go back home to visit. She planned the visit with another family member and told her children that she was sending things for them and that they should look out for the relative. As you can probably guess, it was her coming down after all this time. She remembered very clearly every detail of what happened when her children saw her. She walked out and one of them shouted ‘It’s Mama!’ and they all corralled her to the point of almost knocking
her down. That part ripped through me and I could almost place myself there watching in the backdrop. They could hardly detach themselves from their dear mother. She spoke about never forgetting what that reunion felt like and I could almost feel the excitement and relief. The giddy head strong feeling of seeing a parent after missing them so long will put you on a cloud. The feeling of having your personal nook back can never be replaced.

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father and son….

Our conversation took me back to the days when my father would visit. I always remember this particular day, my mother got a call and when she hung up she told me my father was in the island. I got dressed immediately. I knew he was coming, he had to. The entire day involved me talking my life away about seeing him and possibly never coming back. I was sure he would have taken me with him if he could (he never did) but for some reason his situation didn’t allow it. As night drew nigh, I placed myself by the window looking out for the car to stop outside so that as it came I would go. I eventually fell asleep, well dressed and hopeful. In true form, he turned up, late in the night with my brothers and uncle. I was bursting with love! I quickly picked up my bags and we were on our way to my grandmother house where I would stay until it was time for me to go back home. It was during this drive that I got the nick name ’Duracell’ because I just could not shut up! I spoke every one ear off.

Mi familia….

How wild was this? I was way past my bed time too, driving to Kingston! He could do anything and make anything happen; I thought. I marveled at him and how ‘he came for me’. I was deathly afraid of him, as he had stern ways but I was also very intrigued. My mother told me so many stories about him. I probably saw him once per year for a number of years and then about 13/14 he stopped coming, or at least as far as I knew. My aunt filled in for him in many ways when I was growing up and looking back on those times would prove that she did way more for me than he did. I just could not see past the novelty. He always brought me something that I treated like gold. I was so enamored and tried very hard to be a good little girl so that he would see that I was deserving; and take me with him.As I grew older things definitely changed and a lot of things wore off and changed. I am still grateful that I can look back and laugh. As I remember being at school and telling people, quite boldly that my father lives abroad and that soon I will too. It just seemed like the perfect paradise. What could be so wrong?

I see people now who still do this for the sake of a better life and I want to plead with them to keep their children in their care. Don’t leave your child with anyone to raise for too long. As soon as you can, make a home with your children around you. ‘Barrel children’ are often unintentionally slighted and they carry this through life. No to mention the situations some of them end up in and getting exposed to. Often times, they are over compensated by the parent(s) who left and even this can be to their detriment. The parent who raises them sometimes gets
shorted for being the disciplinarian and for ‘not loving them enough’. I used to think my mother didn’t want me to live in foreign. When the one that remains to struggle with you cannot afford to have you fall off knowing how much it really takes to raise a child. They cannot unsee the hard times and wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemies.

img_20160826_182954249_hdrHonestly speaking, at times the parent that is relaxed and easy going and allows you to do whatever you want to do, do so because they have to fight for your affection. They don’t want to be forgotten, so they give you the ‘easy life’. They aren’t honest and strict with you because they don’t want you to be mad at them and ‘lose you’. I later reconciled with my father and to this day can only manage him in small doses (lol!). I will forever think though, that if at all, leaving a child behind, should be avoided. I know many ‘barrel children’ and many share similar traits when it comes to their thoughts on the parent who stayed and the one that went/sent them away for better. This happens without realizing the bigger picture and these children should really be forgiven.

Until next time…xoxo

Mental Illness faces….

I would like to discuss mental illness. There are two men that I always see around my community that are visibly mentally disabled. One of these men are often confrontational and aggressive to people on the streets. Today I saw him, and I guess it was my turn? I could see that he had raw bruises on his face; cheeks and nose. I also noticed that he had a bandana wrapped around a bloody wrist. I looked at him three times (I guess too many times) and he jumped up off the bench he was sitting on and asked if I had a problem. I shook my head ‘no’ and started running IMG_20160524_144906836away from where he was, without even looking if a bus was coming as I crossed the street. Another man was beside me and we looked at each other and quickened our steps at the same time. I started getting a bit anxious and so I ducked into a consignment store in case he decided to follow me. He didn’t but he was surely giving whoever was in the vicinity an earful. I restarted the podcast I was listening to and went on my merry way. While I feel happy for escaping what could have turned into a nightmare, I can’t help but feel sad. The bruises looked like they possible came from a fight. The other man that is always hanging around the train station is usually sitting on the ground, repetitively touching his shoulder with his chin. All why rocking back and forth. I guess I feel even more discontented because both men are people of colour (POC). Every time I see them I wonder where is their support? Does the city even have something in place for people living with this? And If there family knows where they are. I was in no way shape or form being belligerent to this young man; yet he could have attacked me. I have seen him with ‘gender socialized’ accessories such as false eyelashes, colorful head ties and even lipstick. It is fair to assume that he might be a homosexual man and I know homelessness is a very big issue in their community. I can’t help but shake the fact that these boys need help. It’s not like they are downright homeless and constantly begging, I’ve actually seen one of them beg once; but they are not well.

I spoke to a co-worker today about depression and she blatantly said she cannot fathom it. Wondering even if it is real and that her relative is undergoing treatment for it. She did admit that it was only then she began to take it serious. Sharing that he didn’t realize he hadn’t gone to the washroom all week until someone else told him. I shared with her moments in my family life when we were on the ground! Faced down in dog shit and just wallowing in a sea of dark, hazy moments. I let her know how real it is and that it isn’t recognizable until it is heavy and have consumed your life. I shared that we came out of our spiral with the help of friends. We also had to physically, mentally and spiritually push ourselves out of the grunge. Everyone in our life somehow hIMG_20160312_154903970 elped us to come from underneath the lowest of lows and pushed us to great heights. It was such a refreshing feeling being removed from a torrid life that now when a storm hit we laugh at it and tackle it head first. Knocking down all doors and stomping out all fires until we are back to where we need to be. We never ever want to go back to that place!

I spoke to a good friend this week about what it’s like having a mother with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) traits. How it can drain your life and make you completely on edge and constantly angry! Leading you to carrying around residual hardness for anyone! She, hanging around and toughing things out and me, completely disassociated; share the same frustration. It becomes too much to bare when you cannot get the other party to accept what you’re saying, even though you have witnessed episodes involving MULTIPLE people. They just continue to create toxic environments and relationships, one after the other, without assuming any blame. I shared that she will have to settle herself somewhere and either learn to deal with it and handle the triggers accordingly or continue to ‘rage against the machine’. There is no winning when it comes to mental illness. There is only compassion, care and once accepting their status; treatment. The face of mental illness can be as normal as ever, attack anyone momentarily and also be a visibly troubled individual. I wish we would speak about it more and remove the shame and stigma; especially from men. Till next time; mind your mental health!