I’m a Boxer 

I feel that this year I’ll do more of what I want to do.

Years ago, I was this child filled with greatness and as the years went by I had allowed comments to guide my actions.  Not understanding then that people aren’t perfect. We are all guided by our experiences and at time strongly believe what comes out of our mouth.

   “I don’t see you as that type of person”

   “You? ??!!! LOL”

   “You can’t dance”

   “No!!! Dat no soun ‘ good” (me trying to         sing and started wrong)

Oh the fuck yous and bashed in heads I have for you. Yes, I’m short tempered that’s why I’m on the reserved end of the vocal spectrum. The many years that I’ve been in this ring called life taking hits from those considered amateurs and heavyweights and boy some of these boxers were annoying in their approach. 

I will never forget when I visited my ailing grand cousin and when asked to pray for my mother (she was a pastor in her day), she looked at me and spoke. What she said unfortunately I can’t remember. I thought it was a mistake, and thinking about it now it was God’s way of showing me that he did not forget me. That he was still and always watching over me. 

My “relationships” have been interesting but I won’t ever say that I regret them but I know now that I’ve grown from then til now. There are few loose strings that need to be cut and that will be soon. 

I’ve reached a point where I’ve realized that I’ve been living for people and have not truly lived for me. That ends now. How can I be an adult if at 24 I’m still concerned about what people have to say? None a unno cyah beat me; the most you can do is get upset and malice me. You do that, I can get a break from you for a while. I won’t be the one affected. There are moments in which they’re advice would count but not always. 

I’m learning to be my true self and I like it. You can deny yourself for so long but eventually it will affect you immensely. 

Evidence of what I can be was first noticed on my leadership challenge for the Blue Mountains. There were moments where I wanted to give up but motivated myself on the fact that I couldn’t tell people that I was there as I never made it to the top. Plus the mountain kept croaking in the dark. Another instance was being president for  my Optimist Club. Right now, I have no idea what I’m doing, but the reassurance of my exec team, members and other Optimist members have me pushing to make my year a good one. 

My beauty is an factor that in my reflection I’m taken aback.Why are you intimated by me though? You see immense beauty and all I can look it how strong my genes are. I see my father his brothers and his mother in my face- to me that’s not cute. They’re family (cracking up as I write this).

I’ve been been belittling my own self using past experiences of when people told me no. Another year is approaching and I intend to do more and talk less. To think highly of myself and try rather than assume that because someone has done it and it didn’t work for them, I’ll also have that same response. 

My ramblings may not mean much but it’s helping me as I complete this blog. I’m in a fragile state now. If I answer you in a way that surprises you. I’m currently renovating.

Growing up RICH

outdoor-bathroom-at-belmond-khwai-river-lodge-botswana-conde-nast-traveller-26jan15-prBathing while overlooking  vast acres of land layered with sugarcane, and cows grazing in the open fields. Waking up to the sound of the wind and other exotic creatures. Picking cherries, guava, tamarind,  starapple,  guineps and other fruits during the summer time to snack on. Watching grandma make marmalade and cherry jams from scratch and adding Pineapple Lasco to oatmeal porridge for lunch. Waking up to Johnny cakes, dumplings,  eggs, bananas, bread and other foods that were in season at the time for breakfast EVERY morning.  Watching cornmeal and potato pudding being baked over a coal stove. This is how I spent holidays spent at my father’s parents house.

My days after school were spent creating plays and stories and reading books that I couldn’t understand the plot. Eating syrup and crackers to pass the time because grandma’s method of cooking was not easing the level of gas in the stomach.My grandfather died years before I was born so my experiences with him are non existent.  This was at my mother’s parents house.

I am a dry land tourist. I’ve been to every parish for sight seeing, special assignments through work (mostly with daddy), anniversary getaways and school trips.

Living in Kingston has exposed me to the finer things in life. Retreats and conferences out of town,  courtesy calls at King’s House, lunch with executives etc.

However having these experiences doesn’t mean that I have not seen bad times. I’ve seen my mother fashion chicken back in more ways than one. I’ve had cornmeal porridge so many times that on one of my most recent visits home, I asked mommy for cornmeal porridge only -she thought that I was joking. I had my first try at sweet and savory chicken foot one Sunday evening when that was the only thing in the house for dinner.

I’ve learnt to be appreciative of what I have, years after learning in University that I wasn’t rich. However I’ve been blessed to have hand me downs, that I’ve learnt to fashion to my suit. Spending summers at relatives because my mother had to turn up the hustle. To be blessed with a godmother who did and still does her best to provide for not only me but also my younger brother and mother and reminding me that I should live my life for ME.

My house is no vacation house, but it has a vast history. My experiences living and even visiting are those I’ll always cherish,  even if they weren’t always good. I’m now willing to accept it as my dwelling. Once it clean you cyan go wrong. Who wants to clean a huge house?

I’m not rich, but I’ve been blessed.  I continue to be blessed. With these experiences,  they are building me for the life that I want. One where there is less judgment,  where I understand the need to hustle and I am appreciative of what I have. Most importantly I’m happy with who I am.

Assalaamu Alaykum

Bismillah (In the name of Allah)…

I was not born into a Muslim family; my family members are either Rasta or Christian minded. I am the only Muslim in my Family.

I remember in Sunday school being told stories and they just didn’t make sense to me. For example, when Cain killed Able and ran off to the land of Nad and found a wife.

“If a two man pickney alone and two a dem live, where him find wife? and the land of Nad mean wanderers so how that come een?”

“Stop question the ting, stop question God!!!”

A no him mi a ask a you.  A you a tell me suppn’ so u mus know the details.

From there I realized that we as a people tend to think on a straight line and once you take them off the line, you’re bad or you’re the devil. An’ me love ask questions and if you cyah ansa the questions then it means you’re only regurgitating what someone else told you- you’re not thinking for yourself.

So when I started doing my own research and found Islam, I was puzzled and wondered why America always painted a bad picture about Muslims. I went further into my research and realized that the things they said, were not true- that they were made up.

I remembered in the Bible it told us that Abraham ( Ibrahim as said in Arabic), had two sons and one was sent away into the desert. That’s where I thought Islam came from- the desert. So maybe that’s the son that started the religion. Then when I went to the mosque and they showed me the same thing and where they originated from. I realized that it is the same people like Christianity, it’s just that when it comes to Jesus and Mohammad it’s separate.

So when I started going to the mosque I asked if they believed in Jesus and they said:

“Yes, but he’s just not the son of God”

“OK, what do you basically believe?”

“We believe in one God, a messenger and angels”

“OK then, it’s similar to Christianity  where you have the Father, Son and Holy Ghost but you use different terms”

“We are waiting on Jesus to return”

  Muslim a wait pon Jesas to return??? Fus mi a hear dis!! Mi no tink a Mohammad(Assalaamu Alaykum (peace be upon youI have to say that after I say Mohammad) alone unno say???

 “Oh, basically a the same thing”.

Muslims show brotherly love and as much as people discriminate against them they still love each other. So the family bond that I never had with my family drew me to them. Once you’re a Muslim, colour does not exist; your race and socioeconomic status are of no importance the Muslim brothers and sisters. For example, if I want to go to Africa tomorrow I don’t have to worry, I just let them know at a mosque there that I am a Muslim and I am accepted. Thinking of the Christian religion where in some churches, you have to be  re-baptized to join the church. I looked around the mosque and saw how open it was; nothing like how Christian churches were set up. I was skeptical and said:

“How is this possible?”

“Everyone is a watchman for themselves, no one is better than another Muslim other than the good deeds that they have done”

This cyah real, anything without rules and regulations is bound to fail.

So the brotherly love and equality shown to everyone, even if you are not seen as a brother in your own family are some of the factors that encouraged me to be apart of the faith.

I’ve faced discrimination as a Muslim in more ways than one. Through my experiences  I’ve concluded that I prefer to be Respected than Loved. I remember at my workplace when people first heard that I was a Muslim, they treated me differently. I was told to clear my throat when walking into a room. Someone called me once, because they heard that I was a Muslim and asked if they should come to work the next day.   I remembered another instance where there was the bombing in France by a Muslim group and when I got to work, I was confronted about it saying what my brothers did was wrong. Because I am one of them immediately I was seen as the enemy.

Many persons show respect for people out of fear. That is the same for me; whenever they do something wrong they stop themselves  and say “see Muslim deh” – I’m not even called by my right name. This is considered a sign of Respect letting that “bad” person know that I’m in the room so they should behave themselves. I have to be reminding them that they are adults and free to do as they please, once it is not directed at me.

There are only few people that try to understand me; most persons claim to but in their actions I notice that they don’t mean it. For those who try to understand me, they try by learning about the religion and my lifestyle. I share books and they read and we discuss what was read, anything that they hear, they come me to and we talk about it.

“Never worry about when things slow down, only when it stops”.

That is a Japanese quote that I live by. My interpretation is as long as you’re making a headway just keep moving.

“You are not what people say about you but you are what you say about yourself”.

The most important things to me are my religion, praying, reading the Qur’an and observing the life and adjusting where necessary. Those are the things that motivate me- those are the things that I live by.

 

****Name withheld to protect Identity

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