I miss the ideology of my childhood.
The beautiful picture of adulthood I painted in my mind,
Filled with a family of my own,
4 boys, 2 girls, 6 grandparents,
3 homes, one on the beach, a farm, and a city house. Continue reading “Adulthood”
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. Continue reading “Missing Christmas Already”
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.
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. Continue reading “If I Were Brave…”
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.
S. C. C.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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: