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The Ponderings of SCsquared

The musings of my self-discovery

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Wisdom

Opportunities, Advantages, and Privilege

Like clockwork, at least once a week I was reminded of the “opportunities” I had in life. I was reminded not to waste them. I was reminded that not everyone got them. They were the diamonds I had because I existed in my unique juxtaposition in life. Parents spoke about it. Teachers spoke about it. Even my helper spoke about it.
“Don’t waste the opportunities you have in life.” “We worked hard so you can have opportunities.” “Be careful that you don’t lose these opportunities you are given.” Sometimes, opportunities were revealed for what they truly were, advantages.
Growing up in Jamaica, I have had what pop culture now refers to as privileges. My parents, and those of most of my childhood friends, called them advantages and opportunities. Everything we were born into, every single thing that we had, every point of access, every book and birthday party, was one of these magical things that we had to be mindful of.
Hate having to wake up for school? Tough. Get up and don’t waste the opportunity for an education. Did the security at the bank not call you by name? (Or by your parents name?) Make sure you learn his name and always address him / her by it, and try to give them a Christmas Card or gift. Did you “have to” visit your grandparents in the country with kerosene lamps? Be grateful for the running water at home, and take the sunbath.
The reality of it is this, we each have some level of privilege over someone else. However, in Jamaica, we were constantly made aware of it. Aware that we had it, that we did nothing to get it, and that we could lose it at any moment. We were taught the responsibility of having this privilege. That it is our duty to look out for those without it, and take care of them. To not allow others to trample on them and stand by silently, but to step in and use our privilege to protect them. The privilege we have is fragile, if we make a misstep, it will cost us this privilege. Not only ours, but also those around us – siblings, cousins, parents. We must preserve the good name our forefathers built.
Then, I look at our northern neighbours just discovering they have privilege. First, it shocks them that it exists at all. The initial reaction is that it’s a lie, created to give “them” an excuse to fail at life, to ‘play the victim’. Then, it sinks in that maybe, just maybe, they had breakfast more often, or chairs in their classrooms, or teachers who understood the curriculum. But then they find their exceptions to defend the original stance that it’s just an excuse for lazy people. Then they see the news and wonder why we talk about “Black Lives Matter”, and labour over the loss of our brothers, sisters, children, parents, friends, with judgement. Slowly, one by one, it dawns on them that this is real.
Privilege is not just a fashionable word, it’s real.
Now, as shock settles into knowledge, it’s time for everyone to learn how their individual privilege can be used to help someone else without it. Let’s start by acknowledging the ones we have.

 

The Truth About Friendship

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?

Tears On My Pillow

Injustice for one is injustice for all.

My heart tears up at the thought of those forced to live in constant war zones; farm on barren land; not have access to potable water; live in constant fear.

The question is: What can I do about it? That isn’t the life I have, I don’t have the power to change it. I’m not a world leader, I don’t get to decide the allocation of resources to make a difference. Or do I?

The truth is, if I don’t stand up, who will? If I don’t make my voice heard, who will speak? If I speak, how much do I say? If I do something, what do I do?

Here are options available to us mere mortals when we are bothered, concerned, irritated, or empassioned by an issue we feel is beyond our reach:

  1. Donate to a cause. You may not be able to go to a war zone, or research AIDS, or dig wells; there are people who do this and they have given their lives to this. Help them with funding, no matter how great or small, you can help them.
  2. Raise awareness. Sometimes this means giving speeches, or choosing project topics on the issue. At other times, this means just raising the topic for discussion amongst friends. Use the platform you have to inspire others, to urge goodness, to educate.
  3. Apply your skill. We each have skills that are useful to world issues, some of us do PR, others do Financial Management, some build homes and others put on parties. Use the skills you have to help, be it through writing to people in power or throwing a fundraiser or calling and asking how you can volunteer your skills to help.
  4. Go. Yes, it is as simple as that. Go. Go to the area that screams out to your heart. Raise funds if you need to and go. Do you stand for Palestine or Israel – go volunteer in a refugee camp. Do you cry for hungry children in India – volunteer to feed them. There are thousands of ways to go. So, go.
  5. Focus locally. No matter what world issue you bring up, there is a local version happening in our back yards. Want to help people in war zones, or feed the starving, or bring water to communities, or help the diseased? You can do all of this where you are. There are areas in every land that people are suffering, even when it’s not on the news, it is the reality.

You can make a difference, no matter where you are, what you have or who you are. It is your choice, how you make a difference, and if you make a difference.

If you are in Jamaica, a good place to start looking is: Do Good Jamaica.
Want to go global? Try: RED, UNICEF, Salvation Army, or the Peace Corp

Sabbaticals, Sabbaths and Sleep

I have, like many, worked myself to the end of my wits. I get caught up in the pursuit of perfection, only to realise that I’m really angling for approval and losing myself in the process. I have been known to work until 4 in the morning only to be back in office at 8, and to just keep going until my body shuts down with a flu of vengeance.

Why? Well, because we all need down time. Our body needs it to regenerate and re-energize, so that it does not shut down on us. Our minds need it to solve problems, to renew and reset itself so we can still function at optimal levels. Our spirit needs it to be refilled with joy and peace, to be happy, so that we can be balanced in our lives, and not be all over the place.

Continue reading “Sabbaticals, Sabbaths and Sleep”

A Little Obsessed

Confession: I am obsessed with planning.

I always find it weird when people say I’m organised or that I am efficient or anything in that direction because I always feel I am falling short. I have a compulsion to organise my time, to ensure my priorities have dedicated space, to schedule rest, to simply ensure I get things done. I just do not believe I am efficient enough, a part of that has to do with the fact that I do know I can be better at it. Continue reading “A Little Obsessed”

When In Pursuit

When in pursuit of dreams, ensure the dream you pursue is your own.

(@scsquared)

I have had the opportunity to speak to and listen to the hearts of many people, it has allowed me the opportunity to learn more about the world around me. It has also taught me things about myself and shown me things I do or don’t want for myself and my life.

One of the saddest things to witness is someone pursuing someone else’s dreams. This comes in a couple forms, and they all end in dissatisfaction and emptiness. They are:

  1. Pursuing an expected dream – You know them, their parents, teachers, friends etc… expect them to do something because of some talent or affinity they have. Some see it as encouraging the person, yet the person feels pressured into it. It happens, quite innocently too. Note, not everyone that sings well wants to be a singer.
  2. Pursuing a projected dream – These would be those cursed with parents who weren’t able to be a this or a that due to some circumstance in life and now have pushed these dreams onto their children. Just think of TLC’s programme Toddlers & Tiaras or those parents who harp on not being able to go to Law school, and like by osmosis, their child wants to be a lawyer.
  3. Pursuing a manipulated dream – Theses poor souls were manipulated to change the dream they were pursuing, because someone convinced them that this other dream was the one they “should” have instead. No, these are not projected or expected, those are innocent, this one is purposed to change the dream being pursued.
  4. Pursuing a stolen dream – Yes, people steal the dreams of others. These tend to be a result of lack of a personal dream, failure of achieving your own dream, and plain old jealousy (or bad mind). These are never innocent either, you know you are stealing someone’s vision when you do it.

Most of us are walking around with dreams, some dreams are simple and some grandiose but all dreams are meant for their own person. One person dreams of having her own pet spa, while another dreams of making beautiful desserts, yet another person simply longs to parent and another to help other fulfill their dreams.

Pursuing a dream takes guts, only the brave truly do, and they go unnoticed everyday. These brave people who determine that they will see their dreams fulfilled are not just Nelson Mandela and Oprah, they are the secretary who saved to help her daughter finish university, the guy bagging groceries and even the man who pours your wine. They pushed through odds you would never know of, but they are living their dreams, decide to live yours.

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