"Love is of all passions the strongest for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses." ~ Lao Tzu
"There is always some madness in love.But there is also always some reason in madness." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Love is everywhere! God is love, we love one another daily at times without giving it a second thought. We "fall" in love when we least expect. For years the debate has run...is it love or lust? Why can't both be incorporated into one? Ladies at times may idolise the "romantic" love, and men love it too, even with their rough exterior (arguably just as much, if not more than some ladies). Why not love? Love is what makes the world go 'round, and there isn't anything better than love in my book. So over the next few weeks I am going to meditate on all the different types of love; sharing videos, poems that have struck me, and left a blueprint on my mind, memories of love and anything that tickles my fancy.
#1 Loving You: Kees Dieffenthaller and Tessanne Chin
I love this song, every time I see the video, hear the song, its a lightning bolt. Its melody entices and tugs on your 'heartstrings', the beautiful scenery of Trinidad and Tobago, and even the local Hi-Lo (Supermarket Chain:Trinidad) makes a guest appearance!
Ever heard that saying? When I first did I was disturbed. Does that mean all my fears are truly based on an innate desire for things not to work out? Not likely.
Perhaps its the continuous thought that its not going to work, the "I'm not sure"declaration, that grows and manifests into that which is referred to as 'faith'. If you follow the infamous 'Secret' (which quotes the bible funnily enough). That is exactly what it is. You think about it, brood over it and in turn, the actions which follow lead to the inevitable execution of all the negative scenarios created in your mind.
Tonight I sit, with high expectations,the excitement of a child and the fear of an adult as to what the next few days/weeks hold and how my future may be affected. My mind is clicking, brushing up on my second language, calculating what outfit I will wear, and who I need on speed dial to keep things casual and light when I start to panic.
I haven't walked in yet, into that which may be and hopefully will be the start of a new chapter in my life. Bittersweet fear grasps me. All I can proudly say is that, what is meant to be will be and the best is yet to come, and that which grasps me is NOT faith that it won't work out. Just human nature.
Trinidad and Tobago has been struggling to achieve true democracy for years. Living in what has been deemed a 'rainbow' nation, it is sad to see that fifty years later, as an independent nation, there are still undertones of race,class and sexism.
It may not be glaringly obvious to the innocent bystander. Holidaying in Trinidad and Tobago by all means is an escape to paradise. Warm weather,tropical climate and locals who love nothing better than pleasing the tourists, advising where to go for a good lime, where to shop, and where the best local cuisine may be found, whether it is at a little shop on the corner, or in their own kitchen.
Sounds like the idyllic dream, a country blessed with its own oil and natural gas, natural beauty, lush rainforests even plains and valleys. Trinidad and Tobago holds a little piece of EVERYTHING.
But, when we pull away the fanfare,the beauty, culture and talent , what comes to light is not all sunshine and lollipops. Daily our media shows footage of gruesome murders,street crimes,drugs seizures and rapes. Our most recent incident which perhaps caught international attention was the police brutality caught on someones mobile phone, while many comment the police force for their hasty inquiry, others like myself sit back and shake their heads. This case is one out of ten that is actually being investigated.
As far as international attention goes, Trinidad is becoming a hot topic. We had a 'Crime Plan' that turned into a State of Emergency, innocent people were harassed by those who were supposed to be protecting citizens, press conferences appeared to be like a game at a child's party......pass the question/buck?! We have been embarrassed by the leaders of this nation, by their blatant attempt to place blame upon a well decorated gentleman who was intended save our nation, who in maintenance of dignity and morale resigned.
Lets see what else has happened.
UN 2012 GENEVA
In closing, that which inspired this post. Trinidad and Tobago went into uproar yesterday when it was announced that the US Embassy released a statement associated with two individuals on fraud charges etc, and Trinidad and Tobago's refusal to extradite the parties to the US. Within hours a ticker was on media house websites ...Parliament to be convened for an emergency session within 48 hours to repeal s34 of the Administration of Justice Act 2011.
Yes it says 2011, an act created in 2011, amended during our 50 years of independence pre-celebration....30th August 2012. What does this section promote.....take a read...
"34. (1) Where proceedings are instituted on or after
the coming into force of this Act and the Master is not,
within twelve months after the proceedings are instituted,
in a position to order that the accused be put on trial,
the Master shall discharge the accused and a verdict of
not guilty shall be recorded.
(a) in the case of matters listed in
Schedule 6; or
(b) where the accused has evaded the process of
the Court,after the expiration of ten years from the date on which
an offence is alleged to have been committed—
(c) no proceedings shall be instituted for that
(d) no trial shall commence in respect of that
(a) in the case of matters listed in Schedule 6;
(b) where the accused has evaded the process of
(c) proceedings have been instituted;
(d) an accused is committed to stand trial; or
(e) an order is made to put an accused on trial,
whether before or after the commencement of this Act,
a Judge shall, on an application by the accused,
discharge the accused and record a verdict of not guilty
if the offence is alleged to have been committed on a
date that is ten years or more before the date of the
s34 Administration of Justice (Indictable Proceedings) Act 2011, www.ttparliament.org/legislations/a2011-20.pdf
As of recent I have been blessed with the opportunity to reconnect with a friend who made an impact in my life during my teenage years.
It has again proven to me that true friendship is not determined by the amount of time you spend with one another, but perhaps how much time you can spend apart yet still carry on a telephone conversation as though you had just seen one another yesterday.
Friendships are tried and tested, but love prevails always.
There is nothing worse than people who talk too much. You know those people that you try to discreetly move away from so that you can make a quick exit before they realise.
Years have brought numerous expressions that highlight this trait as a sign of weakness...'Empty vessels make the most noise' was a statement I grew up with, so much so it is part of language.
Sometimes I ask God to put his hand over my mouth, to learn humility and patience to deal with those whose mouths run as though there is no safety valve on a water main.
Trinidad and Tobago is a society famous for a nation that likes to 'maco' (get involved in,eavesdrop,ask about other peoples lives,business etc). It is the norm to see curtains discreetly pushed aside as a face pops out to see who come to visit who across the street, what time the neighbour got home, who works where etc.
An old friend in passing said to me '..once you have a drop of Trini blood in you ,its other peoples business and bachannal on yuh mind'.
We all have that friend, the one who knows what is going on before the rest of the circle does, who can tell you what you are going to do before it gets done.
While it brings a unique and flavourful twist to friendship and life its important to remember that which has been proven time and time again, regardless creed, colour and race, those who gossip with you, will gossip without you....don't make the mistake to believe you can break the mould or be the exception.
Spend more time focusing on you, than others around you, give and it will come back to you, karma if you want to call it that WILL deal with all those who feign humility yet live in hypocrisy.
This morning an old friend sent me a picture that read "Sometimes God sends us an Angel disguised as a friend". It was needed, and it started my day off pretty well.
Though people may scoff, everyone has a glimmer in them that shines for angels, and they are around, not necessarily in the form of over 7ft, emanating light and peace or brandishing a sword like Archangel Michael, but sometimes in everyday people.
A few weeks ago I was walking through the capital, Port-Of-Spain, and lo and behold the heavens opened.I mean OPENED, thunder, lightning...the whole nine yards! Toting an overnight bag, handbag and heels, I opted not to chastise myself for being careless and forgetting and umbrella, but to get wet. As I stood in the pouring rain waiting to cross the road, quite aware by the puzzled looks on drivers faces that I must really look like an utter nutcase, inside I was thoroughly enjoying myself. However after 2 minutes I realised I was drenched.
Suddenly I realised the rain wasn't falling on me any more, to my left was a young gentleman, probably 5ft 3in, who without asking had tiptoed and used his umbrella to shelter me. I smiled and thanked him, he smiled back and responded "I know you are enjoying it, but now you need some shelter". We both waited for the signal to cross, and when we got to the other side, I thanked him again as we were going in opposite directions, he smiled and turned in my direction, walking with me to the Terminal, dropped me off and went on to his destination.
While I was in the bathroom wringing my top, and drying off, my face was aching. I realised that I had been smiling since that umbrella was lifted above my head. He was definitely an angel in disguise.
Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.
When I was 10 years old my father walked into the living room and found me crying. I hadn't been to school as circumstances had not permitted me to do so in a while (keep track of 'A Journey of Little Footsteps' for the reason why) and when he asked me what happened and I explained why I was 'unhappy' he told me I had no reason to be unhappy and to stop crying.
That scenario never left my mind and without realising it, I assumed a tough character,which as I have gotten older, I have realised I need to modify.
Events have taught me that at times having a tough character is fine, but there are some things you cannot deal with on your own, simply because you cannot. You need a support system at times to carry you through, and at times though its tough, having an experience that can shake you to your core is an eye opener to those who truly are there for you, love you and support you.
I walked around literally zoned out for a good few days, I felt detached, no love for the world, myself or anyone around me, yes it sounds selfish but one gets to the point where they completely shut down and are unable to function, fleeting moments arose where I would think 'I want to participate, I want to smile' but for the life of me nothing could make my body act out the thoughts. I felt anger towards myself, for not being able to shake out of the 'funk' I was in. Never before had I felt so isolated from the world, backed into a corner, my anger towards myself for not being able to snap out of it the turned to observation of others, for years I had been brought up in a manner to make sure everyone was happy and satisfied, that they would always have a shoulder to cry on once I was around. Looking around me I felt as though I had no one to turn to, and that I had been left to my own devices, essentially in my mind being tough had failed me miserably, I felt alone and I didn't want to be alone, I wanted someone to hold me while I battled silently.
I did have people to turn too, but became so depressed I couldn't see a way out. My parents called, I did not want to talk, my two best friends called, I did not want to talk to them either, because every time the discussion arose, emotions would come flowing from nowhere and the tears would flow, tears of anger and sorrow. I was blessed to have family and 3 key people around me who were able and willing to take the time to let me release when I could, who didn't look at me as though I was insane when I spoke of therapy, and basically were able to re socialize me after what was probably to date a significant traumatising experience that continuously haunts me.
If going through anything like this, from my experience just a few things to take note of:
You can't deal with it alone, surround yourself with people who know you best and are able to fully deal with the situation and you. Be around someone who can sit with you while you cry till there are no more tears, who can sit there and let you express your emotions, even sit next to you and lend a shoulder or hold your hand while you are still fighting to actually break your silence.
Its not your fault, do not blame yourself for the situation, no one can predict what is going to happen.
If you are a person of faith, talk to God because you cannot do it alone, rescinding control is the first step to overcoming any barriers put in your way.
When you are able to fully comprehend and reflect what you have been through (when all the thoughts stop swimming in your head like a mixture of paint) or even before that, if you are in a state that you can see for yourself you need to talk it out or seek counselling, go for it.
Remove yourself from any situation where you feel uncomfortable and surround yourself with love.
Heal yourself first.
There comes a point in time where as humans we need to realise we cannot do it alone.So if you have the 'tough' exterior and attitude, drop it, its ok to do so, because mostly 99% of the time on the inside there isn't as much toughness as you would like those around you to think.
Many times we go around on auto-pilot, being strong for everyone around you, but being incapable of being truly strong for yourself. It sounds selfish but STOP! There is only so much one person can handle, you are not Superman or Wonderwoman.
Its not a case of completely removing compassion and becoming self absorbed, but its a case of knowing when enough is enough and you must take care of yourself.
If you are anything like me, taking a spin on it like this may help...There is no way you can really be there for anyone else, lend support, strength and love, unless you love yourself first.
If you are held back by the fact that you may lose friends and partners because you have to sort yourself first, move ahead regardless, because if you lose those around you when you are taking a step back and not extending yourself as much as you normally do and they are aware you are doing it for yourself to grow and heal, then they weren't genuine to begin with.
Plain and Simple.
There is a link attached giving the symptoms of depression, covering both men and women.
By the age of 3 I was in a leotard and tutu learning ballet. By the time I was seven I was doing every possible extra-curricular activity available.Tap, Modern Dance, Country Dancing, Tennis, Swimming, Piano...you name it I was doing it. I was being moulded into the 'perfect' young lady.
Lets see how that worked out.
In my early teens I kept up appearances. I studied hard, didn't 'duck' school (Play hooky). I became incensed when someone earned a higher grade than I did. When high school was over, as expected I left the graduation ceremony laden with certificates and Trophies, with family beaming, proud that all their hard work and sacrifice had paid off.
I remember my mother being particularly put out at the beginning of the ceremony. We had all come in the late afternoon. Uniforms ironed, not a hair out of place trying to look 'cool' by keeping the recommended distance from our parents. A classmate came running up to me and stated "But you take all de trophies!". My mother was upset, she wanted me to be surprised. I couldn't have been bothered. All I was thinking of was getting in and out of the ceremony as quickly as possible so I could #1 Have a cigarette #2 See my then boyfriend.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, in 2012 the two things I was yearning for during the graduation ceremony are still at the top of my list at the end of a hard day. Though other things have to get done they still reign supreme.
There is no doubt that the 'lady' I was training to be, did not turn out as planned. Academically wise the zeal to rank higher than others never left, but the drive and application changed. I became lazy, aware that I had been blessed with natural 'smarts', and knowing that I could get away with retaining the minimum by one read put me in a comfort zone (not very ladylike, or smart!)
By A Levels, when my mother commented on how tanned I was, I would say "We play cricket in the courtyard between classes." In actual fact I was going to one class from 7:30am till 9:00 am, and then heading off to the closest beach, roughly 10 minutes away from school. While I should have been applying myself in class, I was applying Hawaiian Tropic Tanning Oil and lounging in nature.
Today, its acceptable for a 'lady' to use tanning oil :). This may be perhaps one of the traits I inherited from my mother. As a child I could never understand how my mother could just lie in the sun and do nothing. With the sea there ready to be explored, how could she just cook. Today, I always have some form of tanning lotion in my handbag, and on my last trip to the beach though I did go in the water, I spent roughly 95% of the time cooking myself. So much so that, much to the entertainment of others I looked a maraschino cherry by the evening, and was burnt beyond belief (won't be using that tanning oil again....that's for SURE).
That's one lady point so far...lets keep count.
Speaking: According to my mother, I don't speak properly. I have picked up Trinidadian traits. She regularly asks me to spell 'the', as at times I forget myself and use the colloquial 'de'. I speak 'lazily', however, I am well aware in certain scenarios, speaking properly is extremely important. Therefore, I can reward myself with another lady point.....So i'm on two points so far.
This point may be nullified: Cursing is NOT ladylike. My mouth though not as bad as it once was, maybe looked at as a sailor in training. I stand firm at times against the view that people who use expletives are uneducated. Keeping my 2 points as I have cut down and will probably continue to do so.
Table Etiquette: Using a knife and fork properly is important. No elbows on the table, not speaking with your mouth full, waiting till everyone is finished before leaving the table (Yes at 25 years old I still ask to be excused if others are still eating ......and i'm ready to smoke). There is nothing more unattractive than sitting at a table, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner and hearing the person next to you chew sloppily, or to hold a conversation and see half chewed food rolling around. I am proud to say I am NOT one of those young women who sits at a table and begins to dig their teeth with their fingernails to remove food. Lady Point 3.
Dress: This is an area that is major War at times between my mother and I. Admittedly I love fashion, I love to play dress up, to the point where I can be seen going into my mum's wardrobe for something. I love wearing what my grandmother called 'wooly caps' on my head. This is where the battle begins, while I may have stilettos and dresses lined up ready to be worn. I also have a pair of jeans that I refuse to get rid of. They are ripped in every possible place..seen and unseen, and I still wear them! They are comfortable and sometimes comfort is key above all. I admit, I have fallen into the category of showing butt cleavage...not intentionally though (that definitely kills a lady point).
Hair: A ladies hair is her crowning glory. My hair is so processed its a shame. Once full of curls, now through relaxer and weaving (hair extensions), my hair doesn't fit the ladylike criteria, its always in a bun, or being taken out to be put back into a bun or knot. But hey...its NEAT most of the time. As a teenager I was asked whether I ever brushed my hair, and was told "It's ok, you're pretty". I started brushing my hair after that. Not sure whether the lady point can be awarded in this scenario.
Make up: I LOVE MAKEUP! But do I wear it every single day. Not the full works. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful young woman walking down the road who looks as though she has pasted on a mask. Living in a tropical climate, it needs to be considered that ladies sweat. YES THEY DO! As far as i'm concerned there is no sense in ensuring you buy a foundation that is supposed to look natural and then walking around with a neck that is two to three shades darker. Admittedly in the past I have been lazy and not put my 'face on' and then cursed myself for not putting it on when I'm out for fear of looking a 'mess'. But I can proudly say that when I'm in make up mode, I'm in MAKE UP MODE.. So I just got a lady point :D
While there are other external things that present the look of a lady, a lady comes from the inside! Perhaps a reason why at times I may be wayward with jeans, hair brushing etc. Attitude is the most important criteria for being a lady. Composure, elegance and grace start on the inside. This can only be achieved through appreciating the fact that you are a woman and representing it with you chin up and shoulders back proudly.
I may smoke, use expletives, not always brush my hair perfectly, go out without make up on, but my goal is not to fit the societal standard, nor is it to 'buck the system' as my mother tends to say I attempt to do. Being an individual is important. This isn't a promotion of not taking care of the physical, but its to say that you don't have to fit the conventional criteria to be a lady, but one must also know there is a time and place for everything.
Nothing happens by chance. For years that has been drilled into my head. Every person whose feet touch Mother Earth have been sent here on a journey, no one is truly aware of the direction their life will take. There is no way to know what lies behind each occurrence which is merely another door either being opened or closed.
In 1992, my feet touched down to Mother Earth in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. As a child there was nothing more I could have possibly wanted. I had been given the opportunity to live in the Tropics, away from the cold,rain and muggy humidity of summer. I will never forget that moment, although only 5 years old it is still vivid in my mind. The air smelled different, the humidity assaulted my lungs and the tarmac at Piarco International Airport was soft and squishy under my sandals.
The next memory that sticks out from that same evening, was the long drive from the airport to 'South'. A far cry from that which I was used to, buildings were sparse, and the street lights were a dull yellow amber. Pulling into our new 'home' sealed the deal, lots of space to run around, a swimming pool and a view that as a child I could not appreciate ,as I do now.
There was no way to have known that which would follow. That 20 years later, as a family unit we would still be in the Caribbean, that we would be tried and tested. As time progressed I would learn that all that glitters isn't gold. That fanfare fades and at times we may truly become victims of circumstance.
With that said, as a brief introduction to a series that will be continued. This must be said: There is no doubt that a journey was laid out and we followed through. Some of our journeys ended here, for others it is still being mapped out.