Wah Sweet Nanny Goat

Wah Sweet Nanny Goat a go run him belly…. The popular Jamaican proverb is one that Jamaicans can recall being told,  as we’ve heard it said many times by our relatives whenever we do things that they don’t approve of.  The proverb when translated means  that the things that seem fine to you now can hurt you later. This plays provides a great example of why we should be careful of the choices we make in life.

Being a patron of the play was a memorable experience and as a cultural enthusiast this was another play that highlighted the societal problems Jamaicans are exposed to.  Teenage pregnancy, statuary rape and single parent households. A stereotypical factor that is attributed to persons from low socioeconomic households and children that are considered troubled.

However, many of us while living this life never take into consideration that some of these issues can ever happen to us. This perception was what we were first introduced to  when Janet, Angel’s mother was in dialogue with a church sister about a child in the church who got pregnant while still in high school. Like any parent who is lucky that their children is not associated with that “mix up”. She begins to talk negative things and swear that her Angel would never do something like that.

With the introduction of Dainty (Angel’s aunt), we begin to have a better understanding of how the household is run as there is no presence of a father; here one may begin to question his absence. As the play progresses, we see the life of Janet’s sweet Angel play out, after convincing her mother that she is the sweet daughter that she raised her to be (even though her aunt doesn’t buy it). At school, that persona is nonexistent and this is where she meets her friend Prada who like her is all for the hype. Unfortunately, she’s not too bright but compliments the personality of Angel; what Angel lacks in street smart, Prada has the answers.

The relationship between Tyrone and Angel to the audience leaves us in dismay and disgust as we know what the end result will be between the two. He fills her mind with all the things she wants hear to get what he wants in return. Many of us whether directly or indirectly have been exposed to that situation where someone enters our life giving us hope that there is  indeed love. At times we may notice things and speak up, but we are greeted with lies to cover the truth.  In the end we are left hurt; some of us are able to move on while others remain in the same spot for years. This latter reaction at times promotes a cycle where more men and women are victims to these perpetrators.

The irony of the relationship between Angel, Tyrone and Prada makes you attentive to see what the next action in the play would be. Though the two girls both aim to live the high life; Prada though not as smart as Angel was the only person who was able to question the actions of Tyrone.  Hoping that Angel would notice that maybe he was not the one for her. Unfortunately she was blinded by the need to secure her relationship with Tyrone, who was already in a relationship with his “wife”. She was unwilling to entertain the idea of the truth.

Tyrone’s reaction to her pregnancy was evidence of the lie that she was living . Many times we meet people in our life whose only intention is to abuse us and feel no remorse as they are only trying to fulfill their own needs. Totally oblivious to the mental, emotional and physical abuse that the victims may face in these experiences. The unfortunate result of this treatment is that they go around and do this to other persons increasing their body counts of the damaged people living in our society.

In the play,  Fabian Barracks captured the range of emotions that came when Angel had to reveal to her mother that she was pregnant. The dimly lit room with Janet dressed in black like the grim reaper, hearing the background music as the anticipation builds.  Your heart is torn in two when you watch as Janet’s façade as the uptight and prim church woman disappears and disowns her daughter. This reaction can be expected, as we can imagine she boasts about the progress her daughter has made as she unconsciously lives her life through her. Angel getting pregnant is Janet loosing her dreams.

Later on we learn that Angel is literally Janet in her younger days as she herself was a teenager who was tricked by a “jokester”. Janet tried to run from her past and created a new one to make things better. By extension she tried to create a new life through her child.

From this revelation we learned that to start the healing process, we must forgive those who have hurt us and make life better for ourselves.Though we are trying to better ourselves we should forgive but not forget.

We should use our experiences to ensure that we do not allow for others to be hurt the same way that we received that hurt. Forgetting or running from it is never the best option, as it tends to find us and the repercussions may be worse that the first time we were exposed to the problem.

All in all, the play was worth the money spent and I say congratulations to the playwright Fabian Barracks (Charter President for the Royal Optimist Club of Kingston) for the work he produced and I wait patiently for the other story that he will create soon.

 

 

UWI MUN Mental Health Week

The UWI Model United Nations hosted their Mental Health Week on March 21-24 with the theme Think Healthy. They believed “Mental health is in an integral part of our overall well-being but is not discussed enough in the public sphere. Recognising the importance of breaking the silence and increasing awareness, the UWI Model United Nations Club is playing its part through a Mental Health Week, March 21 – 24!! #ThinkHealthy” 

The week started with their video campaign that had persons such as Chevion Morgan express his views on living with a mental illness, how it has affected him and how he has been coping since. Having him, someone who is considered the life of the party share his journey, was a step closer to what UWI MUN aspired to achieve as it showed that Mental Health affects everyone.

On Day 2, the day of the Twitter chat, where persons could be apart of the conversation by using the hashtag #ThinkHealthy and give their input. Using 7 questions, the answers for each proved that the phenomenon considered to be taboo further justified the importance of mediums like the Mental Health Week, helping to remove the stigma for persons living with the illness and  their families faced.

When asked:

Persons replied with:

 

The activities continued on Day 3, with a Yoga session  where participants were given the opportunity to free their mind and body from all the tension they had before the exercise. The last which was the Symposium in Day 4, was informative as it was also emotional as persons shared their stories. Participants learnt on how they can deal with living with a mental illness, assist persons who they know who are living with these illnesses and how they can live on a day-to-day basis.

As a former Psychology student who has interacted with family, friends and strangers who are living with a mental illness, and trying to be healthy mentally. I believe that the UWI MUN achieved their goal of recognizing the importance of breaking the silence and increasing awareness in Mental Health. My eyes welled with tears when persons shared their views about their mental health, lines had been opened for persons to seek help if they were not sure where to go or too afraid to speak about their mental health.

Unless you’re in the situation you’ll never understand. Having this mindset can help us to respect the circumstances of others. I can only imagine what persons living with mental illnesses go through; it’s not only about the illnesses, it’s about your mental well being. What you think about when you wake up in the mornings, when someone tells you that you look nice but another person says you don’t. When your superior disregards your efforts when you know and there’s proof that you are working.

From my own experience; going through self esteem issues, the separation of my parents,  being violated by my step-grandfather and the repercussions that followed. Life will always give you lemons, sometimes you get cerasse but when you are able to rise above the issues, accept what is happening and make life better gradually. You then begin receive that peace of mind.

The Optimist Creed

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

These promises are what I use as a term of reference and fellow Optimists can tell you that though we may face trails looking that this creed helps to make the day better. Being an Optimist goes a long way. Ever noticed how people’s behaviour change when you kill them with kindness?

Be patient, accepting of the changes that may occur in your life, have a strong support system, avoid negativity and smile.

 

Sources:  https://www.smore.com/7a9fy-uwi-mun-mental-health-week

http://www.optimist.org/e/creed.cfm