10 Things you Probably didn’t Know about Jamaica

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Alexis Chateau

In Homesick on my Honeymoon, I shared that few people ever believe me when I state my nationality. My mother-in-law often jokes that maybe if I put on a real Jamaican accent, people would take my claim more seriously. One person also had the audacity to tell me I’m a tad too light-skinned to be Jamaican.

Yet, I was born in Jamaica, and lived there for 25 of my 26 years. With that said, you’re likely wondering if the stereotypes are true. Am I Bob Marley’s biggest fan? Do I smoke weed? And wow… isn’t Jamaica just the most amazing little slice of paradise ever? No to the first two, and sometimes to the last.

But to share some real truths about my home country, here are ten things you probably didn’t know about Jamaica – as told by a Jamaican.

#10: Foreigners Love Bob Marley more than We Do

When…

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Attractions to Affections

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Your self confidence is strong

Sexiness exudes from you

Lust betrays you

False love crosses your path

All the signs of attraction

My confidence entices you

My sexiness pours heavily from my being

Makes your attraction for me mature

Lust is no longer the verb to your sentence

Need, craving and a must have overcome you

False love is no longer crossing your path

But…

Staring you in the face

No longer signs of attraction

But

Signs of affection

 

Danielle Mackin ’09

Larger than Life

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Popular Society has a way the ideal person is to be, look and act, and if you do not fit that mold, it becomes a little more difficult for you or, can it? As a child you are your truest. You have not been jaded by what society, your parents, and peers want you to be. As you begin to develop, you begin to ingest all of what life is about; the truths, the lies, the good, the bad and the ugly. You live, and in the midst, you can sometimes begin to lose the true you as you take on the "burden" of popular society. For those of you who are wondering, I am talking about Lost Identity Syndrome© or LIS©, something that affects many Americans and if broken down, women in color in particular. Note: This is not real in the clinical sense but true all the same. And, I am quite sure we suffered or know someone who is suffering from this syndrome. The funny thing is, it cannot be quantified, because most are in denial or don't realize they have the syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome can include, not fitting in, wondering if you are good enough/doubting self worth, constantly changing your appearance, and trying to hide from your past.

One comes to luv oneself by, accepting their past, acknowledging their present, and working toward their future.
-Mackin

For a lot of us, we have multiple personalities. I don't mean schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, more like trying to fit in with the "group of the season." We see this group we think we like so, we acculturate our personality to that particular group. Some of our identity slowly chips away as we gain another personality. We change our looks and how we act; anything that will make us more accepted. This is not done on purpose. We do this because we think this is who we are and in the process, we continue to find another identity/group until we feel comfortable, hence attaching another personality. Each time we change, we go deeper and deeper into LIS. For most of us who continuously change groups, we don't realize the damage we are doing to ourselves.

I watched one lady grow up with the skills of being creative, intellectual, the ability to grasp academia without effort, and to speak with elegance, to trying to fit in with the "cool kids" - who hasn't? Now, running away from her family, her past to finding solace in a completely different culture. Idolizing their lifestyle, "repping" it as is if she was born in to it. Clearly I am not a doctor nor do I know if this has anything to do with it but, because of this new chapter and not understanding the true background of the culture, she has lost several friends. And each time someone tries to reach out to her, it's as if we push her further away. The positive side...she is still young enough to enter the "loving you for you" phase with time to fulfill her life and potential dreams.

Then there are others who luck up and find themselves early on in life. I think because they were tired of constantly being rejected, they took a step back; analyzed their life, their dislikes, experiences, lessons learned, and apply them to there new or should I say, old identity and become the more powerful and true them. In this case, that's me.

I tried to be a part of the cool kids club but, because my parents purchased functional clothes instead of the latest fashion, I couldn't fit in; from that, I learned how to create my own style. Something that a lot people don't know about me, I used to get teased about the color of my skin and for a while I had a complex about being dark skinned. Yeah, the adults said my skin was beautiful but, kids are ruthless, and some of the kids I knew were rough. What was even crazier, it was black on black discrimination which made it worse. And during that time, their opinion mattered more than the adults did. It wasn't until my late 20's and I became plus size that I began to embrace the beautiful chocolate skin God blessed me with. There was a glow that came with my confidence. And finally, I used to get teased about speaking properly so, I began to speak with slang and sound more urban. In this case that actually kind of helped, I can now speak with proper diction when need and change it up when I need you to understand my frustration.

I share all of this to say to Lost Identity Syndrome© is not a bad condition. Especially, if you learn from the paths life has taken you. In the case of the young lady, she is still trying to find her, the true her. And, when she does, she will be a force to reckon with. And, if I continually try to step in and help her, I would be doing nothing but hindering her growth. I now understand why my mother allowed me to "fall and bump my head" a few times. As for me, I survived LIS© by beginning to not give a cuss what others thought about me, to an extent. I began loving me for me, having the confidence of the gods, I have come to accept my randomness, eclectic, artistic, painfully truthful, introvert/extrovert, high off life, pessimistic, optimistic self and I would dare anyone to challenge themselves to find who they are and introduce their present self to their future more stronger self.
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Who are You?…the prelude

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Our truths are what scares us,

Our fears try to drive us,

Our courage is what defines us.

Our destiny is written

and, our path can be driven

by the amount of effort we put in.

We are what holds us back.

Only we can demand

and, determine our success.

Before we fulfill our destiny,

We must accept our truths,

Understand who we/you are,

Acknowledge there is no wrong path,

Never give up,

Never accept nothing less

than the best

from anything and those around us,

Strive for excellence,

And, once life catches up

Sit back and watch your destiny manifest.



1-Luv

D

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Music

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Life is nothing but a walking musical.  Each moment, has a song/story to tell.  As I type this post, I am singing in my head, Eric Sermon’s , Just Like Music, in my head.  If someone is speaking to me and they say a trigger word, a song will appear and I laugh quietly.  Think about, when you are walking, talking, or doing something random, you ever notice how a song appears in the forefront of your mind?  Where do you think songs came from? Life’s experiences.

As much as I hate to admit I know the song, when I think of my best friend and how she’s doing with her new baby gurl, that dumbass song pops in my head, That’s my best friend by Young Thug.  Or, when someone is messing with my coins, I go semi – old school…”I’mma throw shade if I can’t get paid, you can slide to your girl like the army grenade, and itchy yitchy yaya with the marmalade…” Lil Kim (pre cosmetic surgery)

There are times, when I look at my son and think about how proud my grandmother would be if she were here and I start singing, Incubus, I Wish You Were Here – interpret the song how you will point being, there is a song for everything.  It makes the craziest of moments fun and a little stress free.  It can turn your anger into a mellower state (if that’s a word/phrase – if not, I am coining the phrase).

If it weren’t for music, how would those expression their emotions, no different than poetry, books, and even blogging.  Music is more of a melodic form that reaches the masses.  I was at a wedding recently, and the song the couple danced to was an expression of love shown to the crowd witnessing their union.  To me, my best friend, my mother and anyone else who knows me, writing and music is my release, I like to think I am the new, Sound of Music; I have a wide range in taste of music.  And if you try it, you might find that you like to dibble in being a walking musical as well.

 

4 P’s In A Pod

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You ever have that one friend you want to punch in the face because they “can’t get right?!?”  Always with some drama, never learns from their mistakes, never “drops” knowledge, wisdom, or laughter (not at someone’s expense) in others lives.  Question: why are you allowing them to be in your life?

Oh! I get it… initially it was to help them, guide the in the right direction; no one should struggle on their own, especially when you have the means to help.  However, when they take your kindness for weakness, you should probably time to let them go.  Hopefully, they will find their path in life.  In the meantime, make sure you keep building your circle; circle of success.

Start out with who you are?  Who are you?  Then make sure that each vacancy is filled.

Vacancies are subject but, not limited to:

  • Rachetness
  • Knowledge Drop’ers
  • Motherly Figures
  • Mr./Ms Spontaneity
  • Spiritual One
  • The Boughie One
  • And, always an Apprentice

While few try not to admit it, everyone needs that “Ratchet” friend; they bring that spice to your life and will do things you only dream of.  Your “Knowledge Drop’er” is the one you go to for information/perspectives you never thought of, the “Motherly Figure” is exactly what the name implies.  She keeps you in check when you are getting out of hand, makes sure you are okay whether it be feeding, comforting, protecting you or, telling you about yourself when you f’d up.  “Mr/Ms. Spontaneity” will remind everyone that you can work hard but, you also need to play harder.  The “Spiritual One” is your Zen, your spiritual base; they are the one’s who views life from a holistic perspective (you need clarity).  The Apprentice is the next in line; everyone needs someone who they can look  up to.  Whether it be you, someone else in the group or, a collective effort, your apprentice will feed off the knowledge you bestow and continue to pay it forward.  And then, the “Boughie One,” their attitude and fashion is something we can all take and mold to form us.  Remember, there are levels to anything in life.

And, that friend that can’t get right…Girl, BYE!!!

So, while you do not need to label your friends, it is always fun to figure out who you are in the group and assess who you friends are.  In one of my miniature circles, we gave ourselves names, Classy, Fast, Ole, World Wide; I am the Classy One.  The good thing about our circle, we have been friends for years, we have our good days and bad days, we feed positivity off of each other, accept each others flaws and individuality.  We are four peas in a pod, and I luv it.

Circles do not have to be big.  Your group of friends and family should distill nothing but positive energy in your life and if they don’t then maybe their season has come to an end.  I think sometimes, we as humans get so caught up in status of any relationship and don’t realize how drained we are from those who are slowly taking our energy away from us.  We sit and allow them to do so until one day we become so fed up that we say things we really didn’t mean to say and hurt them in the process.  Once we figure out who we are and what mark we want to leave in this world, we can begin to chip away at those who take and never deposit and reach our full potential.

Growing up, if you did not finish eating your vegetables (peas) you could not leave the table.  Those veggies were what made you healthy and strong is what your parents would say. LOL!!!  Well…

1-Luv

D

P.S. This post is dedicated to my crew “4 P’s in a Pod”