Today is June 20, 2017. What happened on this day 10 years ago, is lost to me. I don’t know OK? I have to think to remember what underwear I put on this morning. Generally speaking, in June 2007 I was in my last year of high school. I had probably just wrapped up my Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations and was preparing for graduation. (Coincidentally, 10 years later my high school, the St. Hilda’s Diocesan High School, is finally extending to have a sixth form.)
I remember a few things that were concerning me the most at that time.
Oh my God! I failed my Caribbean History examination and will have to resit it.
I DON’T fail! I just don’t. Like anyone else out there I don’t like the feeling of failing or losing. This was the first time (only twice so far) that I felt that I had not only let myself down but others as well and caused embarrassment and a blow to my reputation. After the exam I went home, got into bed and cried all night (again, this only happened one more time after this).
Leading up to the examination I was online (yahoo messenger…yes. It was hot) chatting with a classmate of mine about unrelated topics. Once at school, the chatting was taken offline and face-to-face. I did not revise or read over the way I normally would have in preparation. I felt unprepared.
When the results came out, I passed Caribbean History with a distinction (the highest score/ grade category). What was I stressing about? I don’t know. And on top of that, I am not an historian today.
I am not graduating or taking any graduation pictures until my broken tooth is fixed.
That was the demand I made to my parents. This must be the first time I am talking about my tooth. I usually don’t even acknowledge it because I’ve been insecure about it for the longest while. I should just accept it because I am stuck with it.
In primary school, I broke my front tooth and got it fixed. A few years later while still in primary school I broke the tooth again AND the tooth beside it. When I went to get it fixed, the pain was too much to bear so I couldn’t go through with the procedure. I went through high school with a broken tooth and the nerve started to decay after a few years.
The long and short of the story is that it could no longer be fixed and had to be replaced. Yes, I have a fake tooth in my mouth. I was so uncomfortable smiling and it affected the way I moved my lips when speaking. That was the most annoying bit. The fact that my speech sounded a little different (only for a short while) was nowhere close to how annoying it was that my lips instinctively tried to cover the tooth when I spoke. I am still a little self-conscious of it especially for pictures but I have learned how to just work with it (it’s all in the angles). This should not have been such a big deal because I found out that it is a lot more common than I thought. Young and old have a tooth like mine and we are all living just fine.
I can’t wait to get out of this place!
Not the school (I loved school). I just wanted to get out of the community and town I lived in. It wasn’t a bad place but it wasn’t my fit. I didn’t feel comfortable and it got worse as time went by. I felt as though I would be stifled there and Kingston would be a better fit for me.
As it turns out, Kingston is a better fit. The friends I am closest with I have either met here or reconnected with here in Kingston. My nomadic spirit is free to move around and the constant bustle is in keeping with my need to always be doing something. BUT low and behold, why must life be so expensive here? Sweet heavens! I don’t even want to think of the alternative. I am happy where I am and that’s that.
If I could go back in time I would have told my younger self to stop stressing. It is all going to work out. Focus on your own lane and do not be distracted by the pace of others. You possess a power in you that you cannot imagine right now but you will see it at work.
That would have been comforting to hear 10 years ago.
What were you worried about 10 years ago that no long matters today?
As I write this, I am sitting around my dining table in my apartment (if it falls under that category of housing) and thinking. Thinking a lot while I munch on food. Things have changed. I have changed. I read two old posts of mine and thought ‘Where is that girl?’. My voice and creativity have changed and are not as pure as they were. I don’t mind change but I do mind when it takes up too much of the space that is reserved for purity and hope. I want to see blogging as extremely fun and satisfying again.
It is not that I have lost that. I started writing not for myself anymore and that is when I started to change. I was writing on demand for anyone that wanted. I was writing for someone to like it. I started writing because it was my escape and it kept me calm. It just so happened that people liked my recorded thoughts. It can still happen that way (even though I missed out on making many hilarious posts because of that change).
Since I have decided that it’s back to posting my thoughts, here is what I am mulling over:
How do you keep calm when everyone around you seems to be moving faster on their escalators than you are on yours?
Truth is, it is hard. It’s a constant reminder that their destination is not yours.
I have remind myself that their circumstance or situation is not the same as mine. I have to reassure myself of those things to keep calm and focused on the goal.
It could also be that they are more prepared for their reward than I am. I can definitely think of one goal that I want but don’t want while I’m not prepared to receive it.
It could also be that they aren’t on their way to goal they had set or to any goal at all. They good very well just be going.
Blinders need to be put on for 2017 because I don’t want anyone’s seeming ‘busyness’ make me lose sight of what I am working towards.
Nap time then back to work. (I have my fingers crossed that the second half of that statement works out).
BTW, have you heard Letoya Luckett’s Back 2 Life song? You should listen and watch the video.
Looking at it, I had my life together at one point. This point was in the first five years of high school. I know what you must be thinking; ‘How is that even possible? You were just a kid.’
Yes I was, but in comparison to the state that my life is in now, I had it together. Maybe it was not all by my doing but I wish life would go back to a state that has a similar situation.
I had money
I had never worked but I managed to save from what little I had been given. At one point I had so much change, I was the weekly cambio for my mom who wanted to change her $1000 bill into smaller notes. Even my older brother was impressed and had me change money for him too. I never saved with any goal in mind. I just saved. I never had much needs or wants to spend money on, so I just saved. Now…it’s shameful. I have not saved in forever. I have had too many needs and wants and I have this mindset that if I want something I should get it for myself without the help of anyone. I find it so sad because I am always talking about the importance of budgeting and saving, yet I didn’t do it. Having a budget idea in your head is not enough. Put pen to paper and make a real budget. Keep that budget somewhere you will see it and check with it.
That last bit of advice is more for me than anyone else.
Maintaining Friendships were Easier.
All my friends were in the same local. Granted that I didn’t go over to anyone’s house to hang out, I saw them weekly if not daily. We attended the same school and church. Chilling and hanging out would happen when I went to school and church. It was easy. Now after we have all gone on to different areas of life and college, we have been scattered. Along with that, I have met other friends at college that live EVERYWHERE! We are all over Jamaica with a few outside of Jamaica, making it that much harder to keep in touch regularly.
I enjoyed life
I like what I did; studying. I like learning. I liked going to school. I was excited about the seasonal activities as school that showcased creativity and talent. Now, I’m not so sure about the enjoyment thing. I feel like I’m just existing, not even living. I am a creative person. Visual arts that require precision to execute are not my thing. I cannot draw a straight line, even with the assistance of a ruler. I can visualize how I want something to look and communicate that idea but to manually make it would be a disaster. The other arts are my forte. Now I am not doing what I love. It’s not because I don’t want to but the means of doing so are just not there.
I had a routine
Routines are boring. I can agree on that with you but I had a routine that ensured that I had something to occupy my time. It was not always something enjoyable but I was doing something and never had enough time to be sad or feel depressed.
The future was not so imminent
The future will forever be approaching and even when it gets here we will still be looking to the future. It’s just the way time works. What I meant was that the future that we were all preparing for was not to so close and upon us. There was still time to live. Now that future that we were preparing for in school is already here. The problem though is that we were preparing for a utopian future and got this jacked up mess.
I take some joy in knowing that history has a way of repeating itself so that type of situation will return and I hope I am ready to take the most advantage of it when it comes. Right now I am going through the ‘primary school’ stage of my life again, the period of great dependence.
Last month (October 18 & 23 2013) two caricatures were published in the Jamaica Observer that somehow were saying what I was observing and thinking, just in a more extreme/radical way.
The dominant source of protein from meats in Jamaica is (I am now tempted to say ‘was’) chicken. For the last few years I have watched the price of chicken climb to the sky. In more recent months we have seen the price skyrocket to the point where chicken is now way too expensive for the masses to buy as they would AND chicken back (the oh-so necessary) is now going through a shortage!
Chicken was reasonably affordable at one point and families could enjoy the meat kind a few times a week. Now that is not so possible. To add insult to injury, our beloved Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Roger Clarke, made a statement that we need to find alternatives to chicken such as ox tail and beef!
Ox tail and Beef!?!?
This man seems to be so out of touch with the realities Jamaicans face. Chicken and the two aforementioned meats are nowhere in the same price range per pound. Chicken is eaten by the masses not just because of its versatility but also its price! Please tell me HOW are Jamaicans to afford ox tail and beef in these hard times when 1. Chicken back short! and 2. We can’t even afford chicken any more.
I am not suggesting that we will be looking in the direction of wild animal as such, for our meat alternatives to complete our meals. We can explore the following:
Start eating more of what we haven’t consumed much of. This is tricky though. It has to be affordable and in good supply (don’t want after two months we are back at square 1…searching for meat!)
Drop the price for other meat kinds while the chicken drought passes (this goes against the laws of business and marketing)
Lets go Green! When last have you challenged yourself to go without meat? Lets eat up the herbs and the greens man! Some good callaloo you want!
The other day I was just realising how not just humans suffer from this shortage of chicken and chicken back. I was cooking dinner and my dad told me to cook extra so the dog and our two cats could have something to eat (No! My pets do not eat those fancy things you see in pet commercials). Now I’m thinking to myself (as I always do) about the cost of the food and the quality of labour that had to go into providing it then preparing it and MIGRIEVE! Mi grieve to know say good food that is so expensive has to be given to the animals. In a former life, they had food to stone each other with but while the IMF is still real in Jamaica, that is just a shadow of a past life.
I love my pets, though they make me cuss sometimes, but my mind couldn’t help but think: ‘With the way things are economically, it is hard to prepare food that you worked so hard to provide and having to think about food for your pets as well! So, my solution is that in such times, DO NOT keep pets that cannot CONTRIBUTE TO DINNER!’