Posted by: scsquared | October 5, 2015

Missing Christmas Already

I thought about what this Christmas is going to be like and a tear or two escaped my eye. Yeah, the left one that’s always the most rebellious.

I thought about how we do Christmas mornings. How we have evolved from a loud house of seven children just happy to see our Dad before he jets off to somewhere on a Reggae mission to deep discussions at breakfast.

It grew into just us, sharing our hearts with each other in the quiet of the morning. Reflecting on the year that has gone, the joys, the sorrows, the lessons, and most importantly, the blessings. Speaking about our hopes for the next year, the plans we have, how they feed into our personal visions, how they feed into building Jamaica, and how we see God using it for His Glory.

The breakfast, made up of pretty much whatever is there, almost always is 100% Jamaican. Coffee, Kidney / Liver, Boiled Yam & Banana, Fried Breadfruit, Fresh Juice, Stew Chicken, Sorrel, Callaloo… Except the wine, which somehow is always Australian :)

I love this Ministry-Business-Catch Up-hug up-support group styled meeting. I love that it starts and ends with Prayer, that Daddy shares the Word with us, that we sing a worship song with sleep still in our eyes, that we share not just our hearts but our lives, first thing in the morning before the world comes barging in. It’s the raw honesty of our love.

This year, I won’t be able to share these moments with the people who matter the most. As a matter of fact, I will likely be at work just praying that I won’t freeze to death. No big family dinners to go to, no special parties to attend, no phone calls with the besties, just work and sleep.

I will miss Christmas Morning, but unlike today, I will not let a tear escape, I will think of the $1500US I am saving by not going home. I will pretend that the money really matters.

Posted by: scsquared | September 8, 2015

Jamaica’s Beauty Queen Issue

Over the past few weeks I have been spending time preparing my “self-introduction” presentation. It is meant to introduce my students to me, however I have designed it to focus more on Jamaica.

One of the purposeful things I am introducing into their subconscious is diversity. All my teachers can now explain our motto, “Out of Many, One People”. As a matter of fact, so can the head of the Education Department, the Mayor and all authority figures. The first example of diversity I show is the side about my family – well because we are truly a rainbow of people in this tribe. We range from Anglo, to African, to Asian, and everything in between.

So imagine how excited I was to include our beauty queens to show how complex and amazingly diverse beauty can be. The variety we can show, especially compared to the controversy of them having their very first mixed queen this year. I knew this was going to be a killer part of my presentation, I just knew it.

I started out with the Queens who had won titles, easy enough, Carole Joan Crawford, Cindy Breakspeare, and of course, Lisa Hanna. I then started on my palate of national queens for each “group”; dark-skinned, light-skinned, coolie, white, chiney. Yes, purposefully looked for each, in that order, most difficult to easiest. Or so I thought.

It was as easy finding a dark-skinned winner (or that was dark-skinned at the time), as it was finding a light-skinned one. Finding blatantly Indian and White (enough) ones were admittedly not that hard either. However, when it got to a Chinese one, let’s just say, I’m still looking for the all elusive photo of Sandra Kong during her reign.

Sandra Foster, Sandra Cunningham, but no Sandra Kong. This wouldn’t have been so big an issue, if a Jamaican of clear Chinese decent had won more than twice. Sounds like a shocker? Twitter has you believing differently? Well, me too.

Every year, when friends, cousins, school-mates, friends children, etc… enter and lose either Miss Jamaica World or Miss Universe Jamaica, a huge outcry of racism and colourism becomes the topic of conversation. How disadvantaged black women are in the competitions. How only uptown, light-skinned, brownings, with affluence and connections have a chance. Every year, I brush my own feelings aside and avoid the conversation, it becomes too emotional and personal.

Instead, each year when I see the photos of the entrants/finalists, the first people I write off as having no chance whatsoever are white. Why? Because no matter how good they are, it’s too controversial to let them go past the top ten. Crystal never had a chance, and yes, they do try to appease the audience. Then I start looking at the rest, I look at their smiles, the length of their legs, their bikini ready (or not ready) bodies. I compare them, I pick my winner as well as the one most likely to win. I’ve been doing this since childhood. I am rarely wrong on the winner.

The problem is, we forget what this is really about. This is a beauty contest. One that feeds into another one. We get caught up in the effort and expectation of our *person* in the contest. We argue and fuss, about whether or not they are a “real Jamaican” – even when they are born and raised here, sharing no other nationality. Forcing people to justify their Jamaicaness, in the way that Obama is forced to justify his American-ness.

Jamaica, displays this wide range of everything. In most variations of food we call something “Chiney”. We have Chiney Bannana, plum, jimblyn and guinep, but in this day and age, we have no Chiney Miss Jamaica. Not since 1977, when Sandra Kong withdrew from Miss World in protest of South Africa’s participation and its system of apartheid.

We ignore that when we became Jamaica, independent nation, Chinese people had been here for over a hundred years already. That Jamaicans of Chinese decent have been a part of our industrial development since landing on our shores, despite laws being put in place to restrict them. That for those Chinese to even come here, they had to prove literacy in a minimum of THREE languages, plus pay a sort of visa fee. So go ahead, eat a patty, drink a bag juice, and give your kids a Kisko, but don’t forget all of those came from a Jamaican-Chineyman.

The slide ended up like this:

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 1.15.34 PM

The only difficulty I had in finalising this was selecting which of our darker queens to show these children. Of course I picked Sara, because I wanted to also show diversity in their lives too. Two current title holders (at time of presentation), a doctor, a politician, a TV host, a model, a business owner and a wife. My students got the picture, despite the obvious deficit, that Jamaicans all look different and do different things in life.

It burns me inside to always be faced with a Jamaica that is so vastly different from the inclusive one I grew up in. We are no longer one people, with the hopes of making the world better for all people. We have become a nation of “Us versus Them”, always pushing for exclusivity of an identity that none of us have a greater right over than the other. We are all Jamaican, and if our bodies are hot enough, and “tree nah grow outta wi farrid”, we too have an equal right to be a Miss Jamaica.


Posted by: scsquared | August 20, 2015

If I Were Brave…

When I was a child, I had this purple-blue lump on my stomach. It was right below the my rib-cage, slightly left of center. I played with it often, much in the same way I will rub scar tissue, or elbow skin today. They called it my blueberry, and I loved it.

Legend (also my doc) says that when I was born, I was so small that my veins didn’t have enough space to spread out, so some of them bundled up together in that spot. This was the explanation given to the single digit me. They added on that it would not go away unless I stopped playing with it, almost like a threat, but I liked it, it was mine.

I don’t recall who it was, but, one day someone pointed out this strange thing on my body that was wrong. It possibly was some parent of a friend at a pool or something. What I do recall is suddenly wanting it to “melt away”, so I stopped playing with it. It took a couple years, but it did fade away almost completely.

Now, I’m left with what can only be described as a slight shadow in that spot. If you look closely, which you won’t be able to do, you can see random bits of veins on my stomach. I can see them, I know that they’re there. The bits of my blueberry spread out like little spots of dirt pounded into a carpet. Now I wonder, if I begin to play with it again, will it come back?


Why share this? Well, because if I were brave, I would have submitted this to Nas for #ProjectBrave and let her photograph me. The moment she first posted for submissions, I knew her project was a great idea. So much so, that I refused to consider it for the possibility that it would one day become a book. Something for coffee tables, bathroom reads, library shelves, and research papers. My fear of exposure betrayed me whenever I thought of it.

She has published two installments of the series so far. I think you should read it, see the beauty of the photographs, the bravery of the individuals, and be inspired by their bravery. Then, when it sits on your soul and drenches you with all the pointless why’s and why not’s of your own shame, write her and volunteer to be brave too.

Posted by: scsquared | July 5, 2015

Hurt & Hope

Dear Chris Tufton,

I cried that night you lost the vote. My heart broke, not just for you, but for my country. A little piece of my faith in Jamaica died that night. It hurt, and it hurt beyond that night, for weeks it felt like an open wound, and even now, four years later, it feels like a scar that’s still there.

See, before that night, though I felt unsure about most seats I was certain yours was sure, solid like a corner-stone. Why? Because I could see you working, I saw your commitment to the agricultural sector, your vision to help it develop and to bring younger people into the industry to ensure longevity and our survival as a country. I saw your love for South Western St. Elizabeth, and your concern for the members of the constituency, you were not half-hearted in this either.

What I saw in you was a man who understood and loved his ministry, but could stand and negotiate and deal with those that don’t – the bankers, the buyers, the bullies. Yes, I said bullies. You are a good blend of what I think an MP should be, you were doing what you were elected to do. You are an example of how leaders should carry themselves, you have a calm confidence that seems missing in the days we are living in. You seem to be a decisive contemplator, not that you have not made mistakes, but you clearly think before you speak and act. You are not easily thrown off-balance, and you do not jump up and carry on because of sensationalism.

I can’t vote for you, wrong constituency, but I do hope that you have learned what older and jaded politicians know – how to win elections. You are the new politician that my generation hungers for and wants, however, we tend not to vote. This means pandering to those who do, and no one does it better than the ones we wish would “just resign already”. Find out the legal and ethical side of their secret and WORK IT!

Dr. Tufton, shortly after the election, I saw you at a party, I wanted to just hug you and lament with you on the loss that I could see you were trying to not dwell on. I did not. I thought it would be a little weird, having never met you and it being a party and all. Also, you are still human and need the space to not be on show, to drink some rum / scotch, and breathe.

I hope you do not let go of the hopes you have for our island and your role in helping us get there. I hope you inspire others to get involved in the service of our fellow citizen, so that we can play our part in advancing the welfare of the whole human race.

With Hope,
S. C. C.

Posted by: scsquared | June 21, 2015

I Honour You

Growing up with a father like mine was good, bad, adventurous, chill, and all sorts of things in one. As a child, I thought my father lit up the night sky and pulled the sun out of its slumber every morning. As a teenager, I loved him but resented his work. In my early 20’s, all I wanted was his approval and respect. Now, I adore him and appreciate who he is, where he’s been and most of all, the relationship we have.


I honor him not because he is my Daddy, but because of the man he is. The man I grew up with. The man I respect. The man who mentors me.

When I was very little, my dad always had money for the many persons who reached out to him for help. Even when we ourselves were stuck with tin mackerel for dinner, he somehow was able to always help others make ends meet.

I recall one night that he had a homeless man come to the house to bathe and get some new clothes. It wasn’t the only time it happened, but I remembered wondering why does he always do this. More importantly, why couldn’t he let them use the outside bathroom, why let them use ours? When I was a little older, he told me the man was the same as us, he just had a different struggle.

His kindness and care for others was never a matter of pity though, it was just a part of community, a genuine caring for others. It was not always the grand gesture of helping to pay university fees, but it was also in things like buying a breadfruit or a pear (avocado) for his friend just because. Why? Because that is who he is.

The struggle of being my father’s child is shared by the children of any passionate person. When you grow up with someone who is excited to go to work, who can’t wait to pursue their vision, it’s hard to settle for anything less. It is difficult to imagine a life more ordinary, because you have seen and experienced a life less ordinary. There is no return from that.

I appreciate you, my wonderful blessing of a father. I honour the love, the joy, the peace, the passion, the amazing, the principled man you are, because you have taught me about the person I only can hope to be.


(Originally written December 14, 2013)

Posted by: scsquared | April 20, 2015

My Wish

I wish you understood that the things I care about are not because they are my personal experience.
I wish you recognised that speaking about issues are not simply passion projects, that yes, they can be good business.
I wish you understood that my passion isn’t about promoting my self-interest.
My passionate cries are because someone has to speak up for the silenced.
I wish you understood that each time you say it’s not important, you enable an abuser, a cheater, a rapist, a racist, and yes, your own blindness.

If you understood that standing up for each other, even for those hidden in the shadows, meant standing up for yourself, maybe you would not be silent.
If you realised that silence enabled the Holocaust, Bosnian and Rwandan Genocides, but speaking up let the Nuremberg Trials happen, then maybe you would say something.
No, it doesn’t have to happen to you nor does it have to be the hot topic of the day, but if you say something, ask something, simply acknowledge it exists, then it doesn’t have to grow in the shadows it likes so very much.
Maybe if you said something, you could help to make it stop.

I wish you understood, I don’t care if you think I am but a voice in the wilderness because I know that I am a voice and I will use my voice until my very last breath.

(Nov. 2014)


Posted by: scsquared | April 17, 2015

Be Awesome Instead!

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.08.34 AM

I give high-fives. I tell people they are awesome. I do this every day. Yes, every single day. Most people are receptive to it, and it lifts their day just a smidge. At the very least, it makes them smile.

Others think that because I do it daily, it has little value, and others shouldn’t get happy about it. They suspect it is not genuine, that it’s just “a thing” that I do. It isn’t. Here’s how I came to celebrating our awesome.

A couple years ago, I watched a video of a 9 year old who asked, “Why be boring, when you can be awesome instead?“, it changed me. I stopped using the word bored when describing myself, my mood, my activities. I decided to look for the awesome in life, in the same way I used to always find something to love about each person I met. I decided to be more awesome.

For me, being more awesome means celebrating others, going on adventures, finding peace, worshiping God, encouraging others to greatness, and enjoying life’s moments.

Now, I make it a point to celebrate awesome, remind people that they can be awesome, and share high-fives for the little victories in life. I celebrate a lot.

So yes, I say “Be awesome“, “I’m awesome“, “That’s awesome“, and high-five multiple times a day, but I mean it every single time. When I do it with you, know that I am celebrating with you because I know YOU are worth celebrating.


Posted by: scsquared | March 3, 2015

A Joyous Year – Week 1

I have looked on my life thus far and weighed and measured it, I have found it to be a good one. I have had ups and downs, laughter and sorrow, poverty and wealth. Through it all, I find that in each day, there is joy to be had. Yes, even in moments of devastation, we can all find a bit of happiness.

So, for this new year of mine I will publish “A Joyous Year”, a weekly list of things that have brought me joy within the previous 7 days. The first list, today’s, covers the first week of my 38th year :) and I am excited to start sharing joy!

A Joyous Year Headline

Sisters whose love travel across oceans:

There is nothing as wonderful as pleasant surprise, especially one that takes your breath away. At almost the end of the work day I got one of these; a huge beautiful bouquet filled with roses, orchids, and lilies. Not one filler to be found. Just a beautiful arrangement that is still blooming two weeks later. Grateful as I am for the flowers, I am even more grateful for the givers, The Conners & Baby Cowan. When I read the card, what was lovely bloomed into a heart touching moment, knowing that a student in Canada and a very busy family in Texas found the time to scheme and brighten my day in a way that only sisters could.

Flowers for ME!

A Friend who supports my secret dreams:

I have this friend, who just makes me, no, forces me to take steps towards my secret hopes and dreams. She doesn’t judge my fears or insecurities, but she doesn’t let me use them as a crutch either. She ignites the pro-active part of me to move forward in the direction of my own dreams, not just help others actualize theirs. She is like a treasure box for me, not only can I deposit precious things, but she gives precious things back. I asked God for friends in the faith, and she certainly is a gift He gave me. (Oh and yeah, thanks Twitter.)

An Island Home filled with treasures:

There is no expression that can ever truly express how amazing an island Jamaica is. No matter where you go, beauty can be found. No matter what your plans, an adventure awaits. No matter what you need, we have it in abundance. I spent 3 days in places not found on a tourist map, but certainly filled with moments to make you smile.

I went on a “picnic-chill” at Hope Gardens, drove half of the North Coast, and listened to the waves on Lime Cay. All happy moments.

My Jamaica

Friends who are up for adventures:

How I spend my time is almost and important as who I spend it with. Only the most adventurous people, can take a rainy Portland day and end up in Ochi. I have some friends that make my heart burst with joy at the thought of a drive out – any card can play. I am never in danger with them, yet we always have adventures. Whether it’s a random corner shop meal, or a community dance, or bailing a friend out of jail in the middle of the night, I have found them to be both wise and adventurous. I can count on them to get me out of trouble as much as I can count on missing trouble by a hair with them. I am forever grateful.


All-natural, 100% organic, Coconut Oil from the street side!

This is my fave part of going to Portland, the stop at the bottom of Blacky Hill to buy coconut oil from my dread-locked, happy, vendor. I love the smell, the feel, the taste, of coconut oil. It reminds me of going to the beach with my Mom, and it soothes me. Nothing brings me that except the sounds of water and the smell of coconut oil.

It doesn’t get any fresher than this


Other happy-happy, joy-joy things from my birthday week:

Chocolate Cake from Kim, Special desserts from Quizz, Chinese New Year, My parents, Days off, Sushi, 3 story yachts, Lifelong friends, did I mention Chocolate Cake? But really, these messages warmed me to the core:

Untitled design

Posted by: scsquared | October 27, 2014

The Truth About Friendship


Someone asked me if I was still close with people I went to high school with, ahhhm – No. She was shocked, partly because her long lasting friendships were birthed in High School. Truthfully, a lot of people have that experience – I’m not one of them. This is not to discount the value of anyone I went to high school (or prep school for that matter) with, it’s just that we were classmates – not friends.

My reality is just different. I come from a home of 7 children, who for the most part were taught – you have each other and that’s all you need. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to grow up simultaneously in two great neighbourhoods filled with kids and where everyone was part of the family. Seriously, we ate dinner at various houses each night. My closest friends, the ones I trust the most, call the most, e-mail the most are from these two neighbourhoods, Innswood & Gallery. They say, “Blood is thicker than water”, I say “Concrete is thicker than blood, and they are my foundation.”

I say all of that to tell you, the truths of friendship, according to me:

  1. Not everyone that you know and have had a conversation with is your friend.
  2. You can be someone’s friend, without them being yours. In other words, friendship is mutual but being a friend isn’t.
  3. You know you’re friends when the convenience is gone and you still choose each other.
  4. Not all friendships are for life, some are just for a season.
  5. On that note, “We used to be friends” does not mean we had a fight and are in malice, it just means life happened.
  6. These people are not automatically friends: Class-mate, dorm-mate, room-mate, church sister/brother, siblings, cousins, bredren, sistren, friend of a friend, parrie, Boy/girlfriends friend, co-worker, god-siblings, parent’s friends kids, neighbours, ….and the list can go on forever
  7. Friends are trust worthy, honest, caring towards you.
  8. Anyone that gossips about others with you will gossip about you with others ~ my Dad told me this early on in high school and I trust it as Gospel
  9. It’s not just mutual interests that make you friends, it’s a mutual positive influence on each other, a mutual desire to be together . . . .

What are your friendship truths?

Posted by: scsquared | October 16, 2014

My Boss is Better Than Yours

Last year, I got the opportunity to work in a different aspect of the Marketing Industry, it meant change. It meant shifting from being second in command to being a pleb, going from being an employer to employee, from having my own office to having a cubicle, from setting my own hours to conforming to a standard. I was going from Event Production and Promotion to a full service Marketing Agency.

No lie, my heart was heavy, the fear was real, I was about to step out into the unknown. So in preparation, I did what I always do, I sought advice from those with more info than I. They were discouraging for the most part, but still I was told in essence, give it a try. I prayed and was settled.

On January 6, it began with an “All Hands On Deck” meeting and big speech from JJ, my boss. He spoke about the great things that the team did in 2013, and the value of each person in the organisation. He took the time out to commend everyone, to remind them of their value, to honour them and yes, to lay out the vision for the year. This was already a good start, because we all know, I love leaders who can clarify the vision.

Since then, I have had what can only be described as an awesome adventure. I have been given random chances to do things I would probably not have volunteered for, like writing scripts and idea generation. I have been able to come up with something and have the resources to see what it could be (even if no one else ever will). I get to be challenged just as much as I get to challenge others. Most importantly, I get to learn, grow, and laugh every single day.

My boss, JJ, is a huge part of this. Here is why my boss is better than your boss:

  1. My boss is a highly creative being, and expects you to develop your creativity.
  2. My boss is highly perceptive, sagacious, and intelligent.
  3. My boss knows his shortcomings, but accepts that he is still growing and so are you.
  4. My boss is not afraid of grunge work. Anything you can do, he can do too.
  5. My boss is willing to invest in all of us.
  6. My boss is concerned with our impact on the business and its impact on us.
  7. My boss will protect his people, and does it more than anyone realises or credits him for.
  8. My boss’ eyes light up like a 5 year old when he gets excited about anything new.
  9. My boss has an eye and ear for cultivating amazing talent – meet anyone on staff, you will see.
  10. My boss is a father, drill sergeant, the Mad Hatter, and Manet all in one.

Is my boss the only great part of working there? No, however, no matter where you work, no matter who you are, what happens there is a result of who leads. So, when you walk into our office and see history on the walls and shelves of trophies, remember, it’s not there to intimidate you – it’s there to celebrate us. When you step in and see us, remember, we are chosen, hand-picked, selected, for the awesome that we are and the standards we are expected to surpass. Why, because he wants to inspire us daily, does your boss want to inspire you?



Happy Bosses Day!

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