Blame it on her

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Picture from FreeImages.com

She creeps into your happy family uninvited and takes him away from the place that he wants to be. The place where he has been given everything he needs from a good woman… but this woman, ugh she just had to come along and “wreck” your beautiful home. She must have low self- esteem. You want to post something on social media about her with #knowyourworth. She must be uneducated, hungry for his money and she must look quite awful. Dry weave, overweight and a terrible sense of fashion. This is how I usually hear women who sleep with married men described. I am not an advocate for cheating but I feel enough conviction on this topic to call this depiction of the other woman as bullshit.

I refuse to believe that women who claim to be as virtuous as they are, “wife material”, virgins until their wedding night, do the house work, submit to their husbands, try to keep themselves up and healthy are marrying men who lack the ability to make the decision of whether they want to stick their penises into people other than their wives. Women, I am tired of you making excuses for men deciding to cheat and trying to make the other woman look more villainous than the man so here I am, writing about some of the crap I hear when women discuss the other woman.

 

She’s ugly.

Yes and so is Angelina Jolie. The other woman can be any woman. Your broken heart may want to force you to believe that your man delights in messing with an ugly duckling but it says quite a bit if he’d fuck an ugly duckling while he has you at home either way.

 

She’s looking for a come- up.

Sometimes men become successful and feel that they need a young, hot thing in their life for their ego. But sometimes, it isn’t that simple. He just might be having an affair with a woman who is “on the same level” as him. In my short life I’ve worked at a fair amount of places and I can say that sometimes people wind up becoming very attracted to the people that they spend most of their waking hours with- their co-workers. Infidelity on the part of a man does not always have to be him becoming involved with a subordinate. Sometimes maybe the woman he has taken on this extra- marital affair with is married herself and a mother of four. So there goes your defence of her not being wife material. But sometimes attraction goes further than it should and people wind up looking for emotional support and sexual satisfaction from the people they work with.

 

She has low self- esteem.

Yet you are the one brooding over her. Okay, maybe she does have low self-esteem but many women do and act it out in different ways. As much as I’d like to believe in women propelling each other forward in the name of sisterhood I know that thinking is more Utopian than realistic. Women have been socialised to see other women as their competition. Women are taught to be beautiful, gentle, soft, quiet, chaste and a myriad of other things which has left a lot of women with low self- esteem… not just the woman who has “taken” your man.

 

Side chicks need to know their place.

How about your man not inviting her into your place? Once an infidelity has taken place in a relationship, the integrity has been compromised. And guess what, wifeys? The sanctity of your marriage does not rest squarely on your shoulders. I am tired of women saying they are trying to keep the relationship together while the man is doing everything to tear it apart. The man has already been in that woman’s special place. Please pardon her if she now does not know her margins and feels bold enough to step to you.

 

Coming to you as a woman…

This is you, wifey, making a plea to the other woman to think of the marriage that you are trying to salvage and the children that you have with this man. You of course must tell her that your last child is only one because communicating with a woman that you may or may not know but certainly aren’t married to makes more sense to you than pleading with your husband. I mean, he pledged to honour and respect you, planted those kids in your womb and was there when all 5 of them were delivered but hot damn, the other woman ought to be the one to have some compassion for you. Brilliant.

 

Karma will get you.

Yeah and I’m still waiting for karma to meet up with the families of those who profited from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, reparation and the end of white supremacy. Karma is a bitch but apparently, she is a petty one. The things that she decides to make right while ignoring the many inequalities in the world leave me to question her priorities. If a man is willing to cheat on his wife, I think that it would only become easier for him to continue the practice of cheating even with a new woman. He is who he is and I think that a side- chick becoming a main chick to being slighted by a new side chick just has to do with the character of the man and not an esoteric force called karma.

 

This post may sound like I am in support of the side chick. I am not. I am in support of facing reality. The cold, hard truth which may be the man that you are with does not love and respect you. Maybe the person you are with right now is a person that you can build a healthy and lasting relationship with but the timing is wrong which has led to infidelities. Maybe we are the problem and are legitimately annoying as fuck to deal with. Men cheat. Women cheat. But when it comes to a woman being cheated on by her man, we need to stop placing our value on how much we think a man can love us. We cannot own another human being. We cannot make a person treat us right. The fun part of it should be someone of their own volition doing right by us. We want loyalty and may deserve it but we can’t force it and we need to accept that and stop trying to blame the other woman for our inability to force attributes of love from a man that we cannot control. Love, relationships and cheating is not black and white. But how about we try to hold the person we are in the relationship with accountable for their actions for a change?

 

We are society

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Feeling fat? Longing after a big derriere, incredibly small waist and supple breast? Remember when a few years ago, your concern was that maybe your butt was too big… at least in white culture? Or what about your hair? You have decided to accept yourself by doing the big chop and embracing your natural curls. Curls? Well, that is what you were expecting when you went natural but your hair seems to have a mind of its own. So lately, you have been trying every technique to “define your curls.”

What is the cause of all this discontentment that we seem to face in every aspect of our lives? At one point, I remember it was the media that was to be blamed. By media, I mean the mainstream media that people believed were responsible for pushing only one idea of beauty. However, in recent times, there has been an explosion in the amount of persons establishing their own platforms. New media is the thing. I remember watching YouTube videos that had not so good lighting and just appearing to be more “normal.” I have officially moved very far away from looking at the television for anything whether news or entertainment related. Print media is definitely on the decline and people are getting their news from people that they think they can trust more and those who they think do not have the agendas of those dominating mainstream media. But with the shift towards new media, citizen journalism and the like is a shift in blame for the low self-esteem and discontentment that seems to cripple us. Instead of blaming magazines and commercials on t.v., people are now blaming Instagram. How is this so? Certainly, we didn’t start following insert favorite YouTuber name here for their perfect lighting, Instagram baddie looks and for a tour of their high-rise apartment but that is what a lot of beauty YouTubers have come to and what we expect to see. The reason for this is because we are the problem. We can blame society- a term that we oftentimes use as if we are excluded from what comprises it. Society, you and me, we like shiny, fancy stuff. We like notions of grandeur and perfection even if our lives are light years away from these ideals. We want to be able to live vicariously through others and express disappointment when people do not seem to have it all together. I mean, our personal lives are in shambles but hey, this isn’t about us. Our idols (as we have elevated many persons to this position) must by all means live out the lives that we deem to be ideal to make us feel better even if at the end of watching a string of YouTube travel vlogs, we feel worse.

Sometimes when we think we are making progress in owning who we are, we regress before we make progress. As mentioned before, we see persons going natural and instead of embracing their natural hair, they embrace someone else’s natural hair. We do not know how a loving, fruitful relationship looks like in real life, so we hashtag every pic of our favorite online couple that we have never met in real life #relationshipgoals. I think that sometimes, we do not know what we want in life. We don’t know the meaning of beautiful, so we embrace other people’s idea of beauty to the point where we are all looking the same with thick brows done with Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, our face is contoured and highlighted to the point that it could make Rupaul jealous, we are wearing a faux septum ring, clear heels, a body-con dress from Fashion Nova and we pose for the ‘Gram in the same pose done by every other woman. I’m not saying that being in this world we will not get inspired by others and we will not come across new things that we’ll genuinely fall in love with (for example, I didn’t think I would become a Fashion Nova customer but now I am😀😀😀) but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel pressured into doing things. We should not feel that we should have to accept another person’s ideals, not only when it comes to appearance but when it comes to anything- whether you date, marry, have children, travel the world, go to university or anything else. Take into account who you truly are and if you don’t know who that is just yet, take the time to find yourself. I am on that journey and I know it will be a life- long one. Do not view another person’s life as “ideal” and what everyone should aspire to. We shouldn’t put pressure on people to be things that we ourselves are not simply because of our own insecurities and expectations of what we should be. Take time to breathe and find yourself.

We are society. We can be the change we want to see. 

Equal rights and justice for all…

 

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Photo from European Movement International.

In the bedroom that is. Dancehall artiste Ishawna has come out to say something that has probably been on the minds of many women. Ishawna declares in her song, “Equal Rights” that she can go lick for lick with a man in the bedroom. If a man wants oral sex, he by all means should be willing to “deal with me like a bag juice.”  The song, as you can imagine has caused major backlash on social media, primarily by men might I add, with some saying that the song is “promoting slackness” and that it promotes whore like behavior. :|This just goes to show the lack of logic undertaken by men who blindly follow the rules and regulations of masculinity in the Caribbean and namely in Jamaica. How does a woman requesting that she receives equal pleasure to what she is giving her partner equate to whoring? Why does a woman’s vagina that has been sang about in many different ways by male artistes suddenly become the most repulsive thing, especially when a man in most cases would be down for getting a blow job? Now, I am not suggesting that you have to be into oral sex; if it’s not your thing, fine. If your girl does not want you to “chew on her like French fries” but she will give you a “shine”… cool. But if you are in a relationship and you like fellatio, why is it that returning the favor is abominable? Why is it that by all means, you must stick to the rules of manliness laid out by men whose sexual lives you do not know?

 

 

Some guys would say, they wouldn’t share a spliff with their male friends because they don’t know if their friends “bow.” But have any of these men stopped to think, the young lady that is doing such a great job at shining their rifle, just might be that good at it because she has done it before? So some men have no reservations about sharing a spliff with a woman who just may have had some penises in her mouth before but a man who has sucked a vagina is gross? Some men want to look so macho to other men it sometimes makes me wonder which side of the fence they are on.

Gage made a song about fellatio in 2014 and it did cause a buzz, actually it’s the only song that I can name from the artiste and the song raised interest but the outrage of oral sex being performed on a  man being unacceptable was not a sentiment that I remember coming across. Even now when I look back at comments on the song’s video, the song received positive comments from both sexes. But, how dare a woman in 2017 come out and say that for a man to get head he must service her first? Criminal, isn’t it? I don’t believe that in changing times and globalization that every trend that comes out a person has to subscribe to, but, double standards should be erased. The notion of the “ever- blessed pum pum” that has been praise by many in the dancehall sphere and entered into without a shield of protection is something that is mentioned in numerous dancehall songs but don’t you get your lips close to it although your woman has made your day by pleasing you with her mouth, because her genitalia is dirty. Remember, blood comes from there… even though urine comes from your penis.

The outrage is rooted in  sexism to me. I know that everyone is  quick to play social justice warrior now and look for something to be mad about but I am not mad. As I have said before, I have no problem with a man not wanting to give his woman oral sex provided that he does not expect to receive it and if for whatever reason a woman is fine with not getting cunnilingus performed on her for whatever reason but is willing to go down on her man- I see nothing wrong with that. It’s the hypocrisy in men receiving blowjobs and accepting it as a norm but demonizing women receiving the same that irks me. #EqualRightsandJusticeforAll

Are you pressed by self- governing women?

We doing this or wah ?!? 👙: @_mariecollette_

A post shared by Kaci Fennell (@kacifen) on

Jamaican beauty queen, Kaci Fennell is in Trinidad for Carnival and appears to be more than ready for the road. Fennell, who placed fourth in the 2014 Miss Universe pageant posted the above picture to her Instagram feed that seems to have raised the ire of many. Foota Hype (a Jamaican personality) decided to take it upon himself to repost Kaci’s image with the caption, ” don’t care if this is miss Jamaica or miss world this nuh look good u favor ediot carnival mek u degrade uself exposing uself smfh better u did come a one dance Inna one batty rider” and then added  #ilovedancehall

The cultural issues that seem to be involved with Jamaicans embracing Carnival I will not get into because I simply can’t relate. In many Caribbean islands, the festival is put on by the government and is embedded in the culture  whereas in Jamaica, the “franchise” is privately owned and seems to cause a divide between different social strata so the implications of some Jamaicans being Carnival fans while not embracing dancehall culture is something that I am able to speak on.

However, what I will address is how perturbed some people are with the decisions that grown women make in their own lives. Kaci, in her clap back to Foota’s statement said that she wore her outfit for her- not for the sake of anyone else. However, some people seemed to believe that Kaci did not have the autonomy to make such a call. In comments on news and social media sites, some stated that  Kaci as a married woman ought to dress better. One person asked, “Would you feel good to know that your daughter or wife dresses this way?” But why is it that some seemed to overlook whether Kaci, the person actually sporting the ensemble felt comfortable in what she was wearing? Why did the morality of what she had on have to lie with someone other than her? I don’t get it. If you do not like the outfit, fine. If you found it to be distasteful, fine. But what made other persons qualified to dictate what a woman should wear? Why should a woman be obligated to put the feelings of others over her own in choosing her attire?

To whom it may concern, I never respond to hate like this but something inside me couldn't allow myself to see this and brush it off like I usually do, especially with what our women have been going through recently. I have grown to completely ignore comments like these. This type of man here is a big part of the problem we are currently facing, not everything I do will be accepted by everyone and there is nothing wrong with that, the problem lies with this person believing he has the authority to comment or even dictate how a woman should carry herself. Instead of celebrating us they tear us down, this type of man makes women second guess themselves and that is absolutely unacceptable because our women are heaven sent and it saddens me that situations like this lower their self esteem. I wore this for me! I felt so beautiful and sexy (thank you @mariecollete) at no point was I seeking for anyone else's approval but my own and that's how it should be always. To any one out there that has been a victim of cyber bullying I just wanted to let you know that you are loved, you are wonderfully made, you are beautiful, you are a masterpiece…. Don't you ever let another person ever make you feel otherwise. Continue to be yourself no matter what negativity may come your way. Wait till him see what I wearing tomorrow 🤔 Ps. I love dancehall, when have I ever said I didn't ?!? 🙈

A post shared by Kaci Fennell (@kacifen) on

Kaci’s response to Foota’s comments.

I am so over men taking their fastness and feeling that because they have a bit of flesh hanging beneath them, they are automatically some kind of oracle  and ought to be enlightening the rest of us earthlings on how we should live and conduct ourselves. Foota openly admitted on On Stage to hitting the mother of his child, dancehall artiste, Ishawna. The manner in which he spoke of the subject made it seem as if he believed it was the most natural thing for a man to hit a woman that he is in “relationship” with. Imagine that a man that is so openly depraved found it within himself to be worthy of speaking on what is correct women’s behaviour. 😦

The mere fact that Foota Hype could be so open about committing domestic abuse while wanting to play dress code police for a woman made me wonder about the potential faults of the persons who commented that they shared Foota’s sentiments. We can be so quick to think that we have the right to dictate how strangers should be without taking into mind our own flaws and without considering others’ family background, education, social circles and a myriad of things that cause people to put together their own standards which are subject to change over time.

This article was timely because of the issue with Kaci Fennell, but it is not just about her. It is about women who swear and are told it’s not ladylike; it’s about women who maybe just want to have sex and go about their business. They don’t want a relationship. It’s about women who may not dress traditionally feminine; it’s about the women who cannot throw down in the kitchen; the woman  who seems to be unable to grow long hair while society teaches her that it is what she should aim for;  this is about the tall girls who feel insecure and afraid to wear heels because they are taught that they should be smaller than a man and therefore less threatening. There is so much that a woman is expected to be that seems to cater more to the egos of men than to her own well-being. Women are not a monolith. We do not share the same standards nor do we share the same stories. We have different interests and some of us whether we are married or single want to go to Trinidad and wine up with our butts hanging out. This may not be your cup of tea and that’s fine. You will not be forced to participate but the throwing around of expectations of what a woman should and should not do especially by people who do not know her personally ought to stop. We can argue that we just want the “best for someone” and that’s why we give unsolicited advice but sometimes we really need to know our place and back off. Kaci has a husband, family and friends. I’m sure that the persons closest to her have her best interests at heart and she like many of us would prefer to hear recommendations from people who we have proven to really be looking out for us.

We can make our own decisions. Please respect that.

Ya a pussy!

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Pussy. Some may use this term just as the syllable before “cat”but sometimes “pussy” is used as a slang for vagina. The word “pussy” is also thrown around usually among males to describe a man that is considered a weakling and here lies the reason for this journal entry.

Being in the Caribbean, I’ve heard men call other men pussies for not conforming to what it is that a man is expected to be- a womanizer, tough, insensitive, crude and aggressive. I am not suggesting that the word is used solely by men in this fashion but I’d argue that it is primarily the case. In my own musings on what it means to be a heterosexual male in some Caribbean circles, it seems as if male straightness is incredibly fragile and dictated by some men who are insecure about their own sexuality and overly concerned about the way that other men live their lives. If a man is met with an unfortunate situation, he is expected to respond with anger and aggression. I recall witnessing an accident during the Christmas holidays where someone rear- end another vehicle breaking one of the tail-lights of the car to the front of him. The young man who was hit came out of his car repeating this one line in Antiguan dialect that essentially means, “This cannot be real” or “You cannot be serious.” He said, “Wha da joke ya tarl.” He repeated this over and over in a way as if he wanted to start something with the person that hit him but lacked the aggression and know how on what to do next. I mean, your vehicle was hit. You have every right to be upset but I  felt that in light of persons in typical Antiguan style flocking to see what had transpired and being asked by persons who missed the accident by a millisecond what had happened, the young man who had been hit was trying to appear more upset than he actually was. To not overreact with aggression can easily cause a man to be dubbed  a “pussy.”

Or what of men who prefer hard sole shoes and work corporate jobs? And young boys who wear their pants on their waists and try to work hard and behave well in school? The young boys that don’t get into fights over dumb ish? They too often get dubbed as “pussies.” If you’ve listened to Kartel’s lyrics in one of his most recent songs “Closed Casket,” you’d hear the list of offenses that should be committed by a young man to not be considered a nerd. Why is it that men have to stay on some dumb stuff to be considered as masculine? To be accepted in the group of heterosexual males, your morals have to be somewhat questionable it seems.

Now on sexual practices, a heterosexual male is expected to have slept with every woman in his community for ratings. It’d be great if he receives oral sex from time to time during his encounters but can he give it? What??! No gyal can sidung pan a real man head. A man abstaining from cunnilingus is one the biggest ways to maintain respect from other males because of course it is another man’s concern what a next man does with a woman. Makes complete sense right? Have you ever been to a party and to get the crowd hype, the male dj would ask, “All da man dem wha know seh dem nah suck pussy, buss a blank?” Brah, why you care? If you are a straight male with no intentions of dating a next man, why are you so pressed about where a next man’s mouth has been? That seems to be something that should be of more concern to women who may potentially date men who may or may not be willing to engage in the practice and would be the ones to make direct contact with a man’s mouth.

Also, a man trying to prove himself to not be a pussy would of course have to be homophobic. I do not think that a person not being keen on the homosexual lifestyle makes one homophobic. I think that we have the right to our opinions because in reality we have views on things or on people that do not affect our lives tangibly. However, some men really are homophobic in the literal sense of the word. They are afraid of homosexuality. I remember seeing men opt to give up their seats in the front of the bus because it was deemed gay for three men to sit in front of a bus in Antigua. Apparently, being bunched between two other males could cause one to switch from loving women like Hugh Hefner to wanting to get involved with other men sexually. I’ve actually heard a young woman say that she hopes that when she has a son, he hates homosexuals and that he beats them up. She said if she heard her son say he has beaten up a gay boy, she would be proud. You see, within Caribbean culture, having a son that is straight can sometimes translate into meaning being violent, hateful and overly concerned with protecting ones sexuality by ensuring persons that have alternative lifestyle preferences are marginalized. By expressing these types of traits one can be sure to not be dubbed a weak fence and a pussy. 🙂

I find it to be sad and lame that a slang for vagina is used to describe primarily weak men when in reality, the very cultural expectations of masculinity lends itself to men who are mentally weak, unable to control emotions and resolve conflict peacefully, lack the ability and will to use education to gain upward mobility and a sexuality that is so weak that it has to work overtime to belittle and threaten others to maintain its “superiority.” Yeah, that sounds quite strong to me.

What’s your fantasy?

Jasmine Tookes also known as “Bae” to me will be wearing the Fantasy Bra in this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I learnt of Jasmine’s good fortune in a video on social media showing Jasmine being on a shoot with the Victoria’s Secret crew only to find out that she would be wearing the bra. It was quite evident that Jasmine was ecstatic to be chosen to wear the undergarment. Tookes found out she would be wearing the bra in May, however, it remained a secret until last week.

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Jasmine Tookes poses with $3 million “Bright Night” Fantasy Bra designed by Eddie Borgo.

Jasmine’s excitement  about wearing the expensive piece had me thinking that our dreams really are what we make them. Jasmine was excited for the opportunity because it was something she always wanted and worked towards. Sometimes, people try to belittle our dreams, sometimes out of jealousy and their own insecurities but sometimes… people just don’t get us. Being chosen to walk in a heavily encrusted bra may be considered a minor feat to some, nothing to glory about, but it can mean the world to someone else.

So, what I recommend is that you go after your dreams with vigour. You know what you want and what makes you happy more than anyone else does and  you should not feel that you need the validation of others to pursue your dreams. Be fearless and live your fantasy.

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Getty Images

Things I’ve learnt from the Rio Olympics

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Samir Ait Said (Source: AP)

There’s nothing like doing what you love. French gymnast Samir Ait Said broke his left leg on live television during the qualifying rounds. However, Said is anxious about beginning training for 2020’s Olympics. :0 Said also had to sit out the 2012 London Olympics because of a broken right leg. Now, I’m a believer in knowing when to hold ‘em, fold ‘em and walk away but just being in the Olympics is a huge accomplishment to athletes. Some athletes who may not have been able to qualify for their national teams  have sought to represent other countries just to get a better shot at making it to the big ones. Now, I would think that if you can’t beat your national counterparts to make the team, what’s the point in going to another team with lower standards only to wind up at the Olympics to go up against their original competition…but sometimes a person just wants the opportunity to do what they love regardless of whether they will ever be considered the best in the grand scheme of things.

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US 110 hurdle meter gold medalist, Brianna Rollins (Photo by David Eulitt)

 

“Through this mystical communication within, we keep on coming together,” are some of the lyrics to a Buju Banton song called “Hills & Valleys” that I thought could be applied to the similarities that I’ve noticed between Black people from different countries. Seeing the many different black women reminded me of the once trending hashtag #growingupblack where it was evident that regardless of one’s background, there are some things that are just inherent to the Black human and the hairstyles sported by Black women at the Olympics showed that.

Black culture will never die as long as black people live.

 

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(l-r)100m gold medalist Elaine Thompson, silver medalist Tori Bowie and bronze medalist Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce (Getty Images)

Being happy for someone else is a beautiful thing. In the women’s 100 meter track and meet final, I saw Tori Bowie of the USA who finished second, put herself between Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson who won the race and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce also of Jamaica, who finished third for a photo op. There was something about the way she did it that showed comradery. She seemed to be genuinely happy for them and ’twas beautiful.

 

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(l-r) 110 meter hurdle winners- Kristi Castlin who won the bronze, Brianna Rollins, who won the gold medal and silver medalist Nia Ali who made it a clean sweep for the USA. (Cameron Spencer/ Getty Images)

 

Natural beauty hasn’t gone anywhere. Now, I don’t want to be one to  relegate women to being nothing more than their looks so I won’t. But it is very hard to ignore appearance given that we are so heavily socialized to ascribe value to a woman based on what meets the eye. However, seeing women who were not overdone and focused on accomplishing their dreams was a powerful thing. It was unfortunate to see that some people have not matured since 2012 as they were some who were still hung up over Gabby Douglas’ hair, but Gabby isn’t a model. She’s a gymnast. And her focus was on winning.

Also, witnessing Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin effortlessly slay with little makeup on was just beautiful and showed that there is so much more to a woman than her looks. A woman’s  passion and dedication to optimizing her abilities can make her truly captivating.

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Maracana Stadium Brazil (Source Getty Images)

 

All things come to an end… so enjoy the now. Unfortunately, an athlete’s career can be relatively short in comparison to other professions because of the demands sport can place on the body. However, the glory of it all can make it well worth it. Enjoy the here and now. Enjoy your life victories because you never know what’s going to happen next. Sickness, injury or the new kid on the block might be your next challenge so don’t be afraid to beat your chest while the light is still on you.

 

 

Of gods and energies.

As an island gal, I’ve done my sentence of hard labour in the religious field. However, after a series of events, I am now not religious, spiritual nor any of the fanciful words used by people to describe their relationship  with the unknown, unseen and unproved. I respect that people use religion and other belief systems to deal with life but what I do not understand is the use of religion to avert the progress of one’s life by refusing to deal with issues within oneself.

People who embrace religions and the belief of positive and negative energies oftentimes seem to believe that they spew rainbows, butterflies, peace, and happiness… however, quite often, the contrary is true. People seem to easily dismiss their role in how people view and respond to them. They are the ones always wrongfully being met by opposition by persons who can’t stand to see them shine and by all means must separate themselves from the negative energy or have the bad vibes revoked in the name of Jesus. Sometimes, we get what we give. I will not be as presumptuous to insinuate that everything that we are met with is the result of our actions and I believe in having a positive mindset but I don’t take it to the mystical, esoteric levels that other people do.  A lot of religious people, namely Christians in the Caribbean that have interacted with, have a mentality of entitlement. As a “Child of God” they should be treated well, get the promotion at work and a host of other great things. I remember hearing of a Christian woman who was acting in a position at work and being a deaconess at her church, she would be called upon from time to time to lead prayers. Once, while leading the church in prayer, she  got into mentioning her taking on the position at work and aggressively said her subordinates that were giving her trouble “WILL submit”…. of course, in the name of Jesus.  Although there may be some opposition to climbing the upper echelons of the workplace and the usual “bad-mind” that we Caribbean people like to blame for people not favouring us, there is also the reality that people may sometimes have difficulty with adapting to change. There could also be the chance that she was not conducting her new duties efficiently that caused people to be displeased with her. It could also be that she lead with an iron fist. But instead of considering these possibilities, she made it into a holy war.

Now allow me to address the energy folks. I remember working on an event that started about an hour after it was scheduled to start. As you could imagine, in the between time of when it should have started and when it actually started, people who attended were getting agitated. A young lady who was working on the event with me then said, ” I can’t take being around the negative energy”. Seriously, though?  People getting agitated ought to be expected because our event is starting late. How people are reacting is based off of our own inefficiencies and not their malice. Too often have I seen people blame other people for being the cause of chaos, for being standoffish and a host of other negative things only to realise upon deeper inspection that the persons doing the blaming are only projecting their insecurities and hang-ups on other people.

It’s a difficult world out there and I understand that  belief systems can help people deal with this craziness called life. I know there are MANY straight up haters in the world. I know that we can put our best foot forward and still not be well received. But what I do know is that too many people enjoy hiding under the veil of religion and mystical beliefs that counter their own progress because instead of taking the time to look the ugly truth in the eye. Taking the time to reflect on ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for our own progress or setbacks will prove to be more rewarding as we take the power out of the hands of others and take practical steps at improving ourselves. We shouldn’t be afraid to look people in the eye and address issues that we have with them if it becomes necessary and furthermore, we shouldn’t be afraid to look at ourselves. It’s a look worth taking and when we are honest with ourselves and resolve to improve who we are from the inside out, the results will be beneficial.

1 step forward, 2 steps back?

We as Black people in the West have come a long way (pause for applause). We managed to have a remnant remaining after the Trans- Atlantic slave trade, go through colonialism, lack of access to education, money, and the right to vote and continue to face many other socio- economic issues.
We have also been taught to hate ourselves and have despised persons that have the features most associated with being Black. I am not a fan of simply branding features as being “White” because if a Black person has features such as a thin nose… how can the feature truly be considered as White? So before I get into some of the issues still prevailing in the Black community, let me clarify that I do not believe that certain features such as looser hair, a thinner or straighter nose or lighter skin makes a person less Black. Such perceptions are the ones that come back to frustrate people in the Black community who are tired of being asked, “What are you mixed with?” if they have hair that is more loosely coiled or not as dark in complexion as our other brothers or sisters. I have read comments of people… Black people saying that East Africans look like “white girls dipped in chocolate” and that is a statement that doesn’t sit well with me. Again, I think that it serves to divide the Black community and somewhat disenfranchise Black people who were born with a thinner nose, looser hair, etc. from their right to truly be considered Black. It’s like saying in order for you to be Black you have to have stereotypical features of blackness rather than to just be Black. Black people will even sometimes tell another Black person that they, “sound white” if the person is able to speak in complete sentences… do you see the problem with setting standards of blackness? Anyway, acknowledging that East Africans were not a part of the Trans- Atlantic slave trade does not negate the fact that they are still Black and we here in the West do not get to choose who gets to be called Black or not.
However, the problem is that we as Black people still tend to try to fit into the European standard of beauty. There’s a beauty popular YouTuber that is Black and has blue eyes and Black people seem to be in a frenzy over it. It’s like, “Yes, look at us, we can meet the standard” all while overlooking the fact that the young lady’s eye colour, as beautiful as they are, are an abnormality. There are posts all over Instagram saying that, “Mixed doesn’t have a look” pretty much stating that this girl is Black and her eyes are naturally blue. “Yes, take that! We as Black people can meet the standard”, is what I am getting from this obsession. Again, stressing the fact that I understand that features do not exclusively belong to a particular race, I still see us as Black people doing the absolute most to make it seem as if we can fit into the very tight box that the Western standard of beauty is stuffed into. Even these social media pages that are supposed to uplift Black women sporting natural hair sometimes look as if they are only trying to fill a quota of posting a dark-skinned girl with thicker hair once every two weeks. Whether we like to admit it or not, we as Black people have a long way to go in finding ourselves and loving and embracing who we are.
I believe as much as media representation is important in painting Black people as more complex than liking trap music, doing drugs and trying to be rappers and whatever else it is that the media says about us, it is important for us to love ourselves. No, I don’t mean look over at other Black people who we deem to be more attractive than us because that person falls into a certain standard of beauty but I mean looking into the mirror and loving the person looking back at us. Too often I have heard Black people say, “Yes, he’s fine.” And they begin to note the attributes that make him fine, “He’s light-skinned. And oftentimes, these comments come from people with the darkest skin tones. Or what about comments like, “I don’t have ‘nice hair’, I have real African, nappy hair”. How can a person that looks nothing like their own perception of beauty really think that they are attractive? This is why I believe it is so important for us to build up ourselves and not even rely on people in our own Black community to build us up because the people that we may be looking to for validation may be suffering from their own complexes. Recently, I heard a young man who is literally black say something to the effect that for a woman to be nice…. She has to be light-skinned. Granted that this guy is a straight up misogynist and idiot and I ponder what kind up-bringing he had, I still think it’s quite pitiful that Black people too often tend not to rate other Black people and try to pin negative characteristics on our own. We cannot even use adjectives such as “nice” to describe thick, tightly coiled, what is now known as “4C” hair, because we have given that adjective away to persons with looser hair types. For eyes, as soon as we see someone with lightly coloured eyes, the person’s eyes are immediately deemed as being “pretty” and he or she becomes bae. We simply do not celebrate ourselves enough, we do not wave our banner of blackness or black consciousness. We dismiss ourselves and because of our own self-hatred we cannot lift up our people. I think that we need to stop looking to other Black people to uplift us (yes, Black women stop waiting for Black men to do so), the Oscars and white media to accept us and learn to love ourselves. We should start on the individual level and let that light from within cause us to be a beacon of light to others because oftentimes in our campaigns to build up the Black community, it’s like we take one step forward and two steps back because of the inconsistencies in what we say we believe. We believe in Black beauty… but in only one type of Black beauty and that does not reflect liberation but a mental slavery that only we can free ourselves from.

Living every moment

Sometimes when we think of “living life” or “living life to the fullest” we think about what it is that we can acquire so that we can start “living”. We have to be able to vacation in Dubai… this summer of course, lose 30 pounds to fit perfectly into the new Victoria’s Secret tiny bikini and feel fabulous. But, what do we do in the interim? Are our breaths between our goals in vain? No, babe. Live now and enjoy every moment of it. Recently, I’ve been enjoying the little things in life… trying a different treat at the pastry stand, trying on a new outfit… simple ish. It could be something as simple as finding out what make- up looks work for you or what job you want to work, remember you only have one life to live and don’t be afraid to live it. Don’t be afraid at to try new things and don’t let naysayers keep you from going after what you want, all you will do is wind up resenting the person and resenting yourself. All of our ambitions may not work out but the thing about trying is that we learn, we learn about ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses and what we can do to make improvements for self development. So set goals and ferociously go after them, but don’t hold your breath in between .  Little things add flavour to life, so why not enjoy them?