Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Of Pride, Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility

I've become very fond of theatrical recreations of Jane Austen's more prominent novels: Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion ... in all these books, I can sort of identify with the heroine - the woman who learns to fall in love and live with the consequences.

There is an abundance of happy endings, but these, at least, are not cloying or nauseating. In fact, in most instances, the happy ending seems only natural and right - a fitting resolution to a most distressing conflict.

I watch all of these movies and, to an extent, I can relate: like Mansfield Park's Fanny Price, who doesn't realise that she loves Edmund until confronted with another love, and from then on, fiercely defends that love, that hope... because it has become an undeniable truth and a lifeline; like Ann, in Persuasion, who is influenced excessively by a well-intentioned, older woman, but eventually pulls away from the guiles of external effectors and makes up her own mind - just in time too; but more than all of these, I often feel like Northanger Abbey's little country bumpkin Cassandra, who is 'dangerously' raised to believe that everyone is as pure as she, and therefore gets herself into excessive trouble because she fails to see that the deceptive double lives people lead in the novels she reads are true reflections of reality - tragic as that may be.

Purity is one hallmark of Austen's characters. They all exude exceptional moral fortitude. It is the flower that most often attracts the bee ... So, if a young woman, in this day and age can flourish as an Austen heroine, or something similar enough, if only for a little while longer, let her be. Let her stand apart from the accomplished tempstresses and seductresses that already pollute our landscape.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well, I Hope ...

I am writing this blog post as the events unfold, not certain whether I should laugh or cry or shake my head in incredulity at the truly 'unique' events that characterise my life.

First off, my crew at work had this fabulous idea of a pre-Christmas dinner - a potluck sort of thing. It was awesome. And I bought into it TOTALLY.

Second, I was assigned to do the potato salad - not a challenging task in comparison to certainly more awesome feats of the roast beef and ham and baked chicken and candied yams and gungo rice and peas that my coworkers were attempting...

Third, yesterday, I worked the late shift, which meant that I was here until 11:30. When I got home, it was after 12:00 going to 1:00. Instead of rushing off to sleep (which my mind and body were begging me to do), I decided to push past the boundaries of human fatigue and make my coworkers a fabulous feast of a potato salad.

Now, there are about fifteen of us in this little pot luck. That meant that I was peeling, dicing, boiling and straining a whole lot of potatoes - not to mention the vegetables to be boiled and the eggs and the mayonnaise and whatever else that needed to be procured. But at last, after four this morning, going to five, I completed the task, set up my utensils, and went to bed.

Then this morning ...

After going to bed so very near to sunrise, naturally, I woke up late. Bad start. I ended up rushing to finish my salad. The eggs, while boiled, had not been shelled. I made the rookie mistake of leaving them in the same water they were boiled in overnight - so the damn things chipped and cracked in my hands and only one or two of the twelve came out perfectly round. Eventually, I finished the task and managed to leave home with about fifteen minutes to get to work. I tried calling a taxi service, but they told me that it would take at least fifteen minutes to get to me. I couldn't wait. I'd be late. So I headed on to the road and got a regular 'robot' cab to take me to work. That's $1,000. But I was desperate.

He drove off, and we were on our way. Lo and behold, the pre-Christmas traffic was a headache, backache, heartache, and would have made for quite a hoarse throat if I had followed the basic instinct to yell at every passing motor vehicle (I did not). It took me one hour to get to work - one long hour!! When we got there, I was so late and harried that I quickly paid the driver, dashed out of the cab, into the lobby, into the elevator and up to my floor to start what promised to be a very full day's work.

Then I remembered ... the potato salad. I left it in the car of a complete stranger with no way of contacting him and no time to go back for it. This, I thought, was the start of a perfect day.

It only got better. I called home to see if someone at home could go to the bus stop to check if the taxi driver was there, only to be told that the person was "tied up" in housework and could not leave home to walk the two to three minutes it would take to go to the bus stop and check for me.

It is now 6 p.m. I still have no idea where my potato salad is, or if I will ever get it back. I've been at work all day. We had our little dinner. It was great. There was so much food there that I don't think anyone really missed the salad, except maybe me. I can't readily forget the huge unopened jar of mayonnaise, my three plastic cover dishes, the tin of mixed veggies, my foil, my Ziploc bags, my cling film, my dishtowel, my one sharp knife, or the gym bag that contained them all. But more than those, I can't forget those potatoes ... I spent so much time peeling and dicing and boiling and straining ...

It's Christmas. It ought to be a happy time of year. Ah well. I ate. I drank. I might as well be merry. Even if I wasted all that time, all those resources, all that energy ...

Merry Christmas everybody. I'll whisper a prayer for you all. Tomorrow is another day. And soon, this too shall pass and fade into obscure memory.

I can't wait.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spoilt Rotten


I have to admit that my generation has it pretty good. Most of us don't even know it. When I saw this cartoon, I laughed so hard... then I thought about what my mom's response to any antics like that would be, and it was a sobering enough thought. Woe be unto the kid who wastes phone credit to call my mummy from the back seat of the same car she is in... to find out how close we are to a drive-thru?? Lord ha mercy! I can see the hell breaking loose!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Days Are Winding Down (Or happy birthday to me)

Ah yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, and we here at ruthibelle have much to be thankful for ... Another year is coming to a close, and, yes, the days are winding down - nicely, I might add.

2010 has been, in a very true sense of the word, a full year. I think I finally shook my giant awake, and she is walking. Not roaring yet, but at least walking. I started the year feeling quite asleep, but now, I feel awake and very alive. I see hope, and that's always a welcome horizon.

Apologies for all the cliche references, but, really, what a difference a year makes!! On the local and international scene, I think the world got shook up quite a bit (in many cases, literally - 9 major earthquakes come to mind). I think the issues that stood out most for me were the ones that involved armed conflict or great natural disasters. I felt this year like I have never felt any other year in my life. I lived going from one emotion to another. I felt the news in a different way, and, as my mind gradually expands to a more full comprehension of the meaning of globalisation, I was aware that those people uttering incomprehensible words on my TV were not strangers or foreigners, as we are wont to call them, but neighbours. In some cases, literal next door neighbours!

When I say I felt this year, that's what I mean. It was a year to feel with people all across the globe and around the world. I immersed myself into international news. I plugged in to the documentaries, editorials and commentaries. My appetite for knowledge of world affairs was (and still is) insatiable, and this became a propellor for how much information I consumed and how I viewed my own personal world (if it can be called that).

I think this was a year for locating myself on the globe, and seeing the interconnectedness that runs through human beings across cultures and continents. It was time to see more than Jamaican. More than Caribbean ... I can honestly say I am acquiring an international perspective. After all, this is my world as much as it is anyone else's, and the occurrences therein affect me as much as they affect my brothers and sisters elsewhere. I ought to be concerned. I ought to be informed. I ought to be aware. And I think, to a great measure this year, I achieved that.

I have no intention of making this one of those long-winded posts that give away more insight than is savoury, or appropriate. I do, however, wish to say to one and all that this has been a truly transformational year, and I thank all the players involved. I've grown.

Tomorrow, I'll be a year older. Wish me a happy birthday, won't ya? Like I said, the days are winding down nicely ... :-) ;-) ;-p

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Pun Is A Play On Words

One of my coworkers is pregnant.

There's a joker in our office who has something clever to say about everything.

When aforementioned pregnant lady walked by him, he remarked, "My, oh my, you look swell!"

=)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jamaican Frustration 2

The second incident was far more tragic than the first.

I was walking by a vendor, peddling her wares on a wooden cart. She sat with her baby - the child could not have been more than a year old - on the edge of the cart.

A man passed by on the opposite side of the street. The child looked at the man.

Suddenly, whollop! The mother gave the child one big slap upside his head that sent him toppling like a doll.

"Mi seh nuh look over deh!" She yelled loudly at the child. The child righted himself on his seat and sat in stunned silence, looking down at the ground and rubbing the side of his head. He never shed a tear.

IN contrast, my own eyes were brimming with sympathy. I wondered what kind of frustration would cause an upset mother to unleash such unbridled anger on her child ... and if the child did not cry because he had become accustomed to it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jamaican Frustration

Like a pot full of steamy stew – way past ready – spitting bubbles, spewing heat that sears unsuspecting, naked flesh, there is a seething, boiling rage in our people ... a thinly-veiled, barely-buried hurt. They are fed up and frustrated.

This morning, I witnessed two vivid examples of the frustration that is rampant in Jamaicans.

The first happened while I was sitting in a bus on my way to work. A police officer pulled the bus over and asked to see the driver's documents. The driver's annoyance was instantaneous.

"Wha me do? " he loudly queried. "After me nuh do nutting. Boss, gimme a bly nuh man?"

The police officer calmly repeated his request to see the documents.

The driver begged. "Jus mek me drive outta di park nuh man?"

The policeman did not budge. He informed the driver that he had three children to take care of and would not be loosing his job because he gave one lousy, uncouth driver a 'bly'.

The bus driver cursed a string of profanities as he rummaged through an old bag for his papers. He gave them to the policeman, but refused to step out of the bus. The policeman refused to return the documents until he did.

The passengers entered the quarrel and began to curse – some at the driver for being so obstinate, some at the policeman for being part of the system of 'Babylon' – a system that had let them down all too many times. Some cursing at the ceiling and begged God to get them to work on time, others just cursed at no one in particular ... whatever the reason, everyone cursed.

Finally, the policeman turned the papers over to an inspector, who decided to give the driver the 'bly' he so desperately began to beg for.

After we drove out of the bus park, the cursing ceased - except for one bitter woman whose soul was full to overflowing with the atrocities of the "damn police", the injustices of "the system" ... she began to sympathise loudly with the bus driver, relating how her car was also in a state of disrepair because of the horrible conditions of the roads. She spoke at length about how difficult it was to even buy herself a pair of sneakers because of the high costs of insurance, electricity, water, rent, food, and, of course, the damned car repairs.

She was still unburdening herself - her complaints interspersed with the most colourful language - when I alighted from the bus, thinking to myself that it can't be healthy - or safe - for people to remain in such an extended state of frustration and tension. What happens when the strings of a woman's life have been drawn so tightly, pulled to such extremes, that she feels no remorse in unburdening her sorrows to a bus-full of strangers? When she can find no relief in her incessant cursing? What is this nightmare that our people live? What is the real definition for Jamaican frustration?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quote For Today

Today I choose.
Today I decide.
To walk away from apathy.
To embrace destiny.

- Ruthibelle

This is for Lucy, a blogfriend I have not seen or heard from in a while. Hope all's well. Hope you're good. Hope you're still living in your today.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hello Yendiverse

Yendi did it.
She placed second in the Miss Universe 2010 pageant.
She tried for Miss World.
It didn't happen.
She gave it a break.
She tried for Miss Universe.
People told her to quit.
A large portion of Jamaica told her to "give someone else a chance" ...
Someone said she was stupid to think that if she missed the first time, she'd get it right now ...
And the obstacles just kept coming.

But tonight, she did it.
Found her inner lioness.
Roared to an international crowd.
Made history.
Achieved a goal.
Planted Jamaica's name more solidly on the map.

Congratulations a million times over.
I believe in dreams.
I believe in fighting.
I believe in not giving up.

And so, tonight, I celebrate Yendiverse.
I celebrate a dream come true.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Ever Give Up

You know, it's funny. I woke up this morning feeling a little heavy. An outstanding, not-so-hopeful-looking issue weighed on my mind. I felt like maybe God was tired of helping me... I seem so (spiritually) needy these days. I sure was frustrated with me. Why wouldn't he be?

I logged on to Twitter. Just to tweet a word or two before zapping off to work. One of my friends posted this link. And it grabbed me. It held me, threw God's arms around me. I just want you to know that you can finish strong too. And God will be there for you - so don't ever give up!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Don't Forget

We should aspire to greatness without forgetting to recognise the greatness in the people around us.
- Ruthibelle

Honestly, sometimes I forget.

Sometimes I forget to see beyond the familiarity and everyday laughs. Beyond years and years of shared experience that has become common, everyday, happenstance and plain old unremarkable.

Sometimes, we get so used to people and places, we forget to value them. We fall into the trap of believing that the things with which we think we are familiar are all played out and too ordinary to have any outstanding value and meaning.

We wistfully gaze into another time, another place, another space, for examples of the greatness to which we should aspire. We place little to no value on what we see in the here and now as we make a mad scramble for the luxuries we think we'll enjoy in the then and there.

Today, don't forget that greatness surrounds you. Yes. Right there. In the monotonous humdrum of daily life.

Yes. Right there. In the unremarkable smile of a friend you see everyday.

Yes. Right there. In the community you grew up in, went to school in, got married in, had kids in, found a job in, constantly dream of escaping ...

And the same way you spend your time desiring a life in some other place, with some other people, in some other space, someone spends time desiring a life in your place, with your people, in your space ... Imagine that. Someone sees greatness where you are ...

We should aspire to greatness without forgetting to recognise the greatness in places and faces around us, and in us.
- Ruthibelle

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesdays: The Rainbow




How pretty and precious and perfect.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Comedy Saves The Day

A rumour was being circulated today that Bill Cosby was dead.

When I heard it, tears immediately sprang to my eyes.

But, thankfully, it wasn't true. Below is the very witty and remarkably humorous reply of that man whom I have come to respect and recognise as an icon of all things comedic:
"About 10 hours ago, an Internet hoax started that said Bill Cosby is dead. The announcement of me being dead may be a VIRUS.

And now ladies and gentlemen for my rebuttal:

As you well know, a dead person cannot rebuttal. Therefore, I am rebuttaling to tell you that when I heard the news I immediately began rebuttaling and went into denial. My wife has just informed me that there is no such word as rebuttaling, she says the word is rebutting. But I don't care, because I'm alive!

Thank you.

PS. That's another thing dead people don't say."

I read it with a big smile on my face.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blog-A-Day Challenge Review

After blogging (more or less) faithfully for the past month, I have discovered that:

1. I like reflection. Yes, there are splashes of humour, but mostly, I think deeply, heavily. About greatness, life, dreams and inspiration.

2. It was difficult to create long posts each day. I resorted to brevity, which, at first, was lazy. Then my posts developed depth and meaning. I said in a few sentences only those things that were most essential. The posts became shorter, more substantial.

3. I can do a post every day. It is possible. I have proven it.

4. This blog is, as I am, still becoming ...

PS Happy emancipation day to Jamaicans everywhere.
Let's keep the black, green, gold flying high.
Hardships there are (black),
But the people are resilient (green)
And the sun still shines (gold).
Jamaica land we love!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Challange Day 31: Oui!!

My friend is convinced that Jamaicans have a problem with French.

For example, one day she took a taxi.

After the taximan asked her if she had arrived at her stop, she said, "oui."

He nodded and stopped.

As she alighted from the car, she asked, "you understand what 'oui' means then?"

He nodded, smiled, and said, "yes, we - you and me."

My friend was sorely disappointed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Challenge Day 30: Complimenpoetry 2

I'm surrounded by brilliance, I tell you.
This latest blush/laughter-evoking compliment
from one of my friends.
He deserves a big hug for this!!

There is only one Ruthie! Greetings pure soul child love energy non-ceasing releasing the healing of true love feeling revealing the layers of prayers from the heart's temple! You that true that, Super Ruthibelle!

ROFL
I don't even know where to start with this one.
It's just, well, exceptional!!
I'm going to print this and frame it!

Listen, you simply CANNOT have better friends than mine!
They're the BEST!
I luv 'em!! This truly made my day.

Have an AWESOME day everyone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Challenge Day 29: Role Model

Who is your adult role model and why?

My parents readily come to mind. They may not have done anything that is considered outstanding by the world's standards, but they live their lives in silent integrity everyday, and make do with what they have. They create joy and beauty out of a situation that is often less than desirable.

In fact, to me, the people who haven't got the spotlight on them, but who choose to live their seemingly small and unrecognised lives in honesty and truth, who face the ordinary hardships of regular life and still come out triumphant at the end of each day, are those from whom I draw inspiration. They are the real heroes. They never get handouts or a hand up. But they work hard and do their best anyway, not because anyone is watching, but because they CHOOSE to.

THAT'S a real role model.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Challenge Day 28: Complimenpoetry

One of my friends told me this,
and I just wanted to kiss her!!
Awesome girl she is!

You're like the full moon before the sun sets
(daring and beautiful and bold!)


Now, if that's not complimenpoetry, I don't know what is!
Here's to great friends and greater friendships!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Challenge Day 27: Mr. Torres

Mr. Miguel Romero Torres. Obviously Cuban. The name alone tells. He taught me Physics for two years - two glorious years of learning in high school.

He was strategic, very structured. Did everything step by step. Whatever we were doing was always crystal clear. If you've ever read one of those text books on how to effectively teach, you could say that was Mr. Torres, summed up. We always knew what we were studying, where in the syllabus we were, and what we would go on to next. He had an uncanny way of keeping you on your toes so that you stayed aware of the entire year's worth of lessons. Revising for his tests was easy, because each class was a new lesson, and revision!

And he was kind.

Sometimes kindness is sometimes not felt in a touch or heard in a word, but seen in the eyes, in the affectionate tilt of the head, in the patient explanation of a hard-to-grasp concept, in the silent encouragement to always do better next time.

There was no doubt that, though he never said it, Mr Torres loved his students. And wanted us all to be great.

A good teacher is not hard to find. There are many good teachers out there. But the great ones - they are rare. Like comets among the stars.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Challenge Day 26: I am what I am

I am not what I am
Because I am not
What I should be
Or could be.
I remember when I was much younger, I wrote a poem about myself, trying to describe where I thought I was, or, more specifically, WHO I thought I was. And what I saw in myself didn't quite add up with who I thought I ought to be. There was a great divide.

So, I wrote a poem. Quoted above is one stanza.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Challenge Day 25: Now

Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily. - Napoleon Bonoparte
Quotes like that always hit me. Somewhere in the pit of my stomach. And they always leave room for pause and slow (sometimes painful) deliberation.

To live defeated and inglorious is to die daily. Dead. Every day. Walking around. Thinking you're alive. But you're dead. Such a tragedy.

I can't afford it. It's too expensive. I pray and try, really hard, every day, to make sure that I LIVE!! Full, whole, free --- life is too valuable. I just can't waste it!

All I have is NOW. All I have is now ...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Challenge Day 24: A word from Pastor Brian

Hillsong's Brian Houston's teaching last year on TIMING has some very salient points.

Good timing requires:
1. Desire
2. Decisions
3. Sacrifice
4. Positioning
5. Patience

It's that last one I'm working on.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Challenge Day 23

If practice makes perfect, I have for too long practised imperfection. May that change today!
-Ruthibelle

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Challenge Day 22: Habbakuk 2:2-4

Write the vision, and make it plan upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is YET for an APPOINTED TIME, but at the end it SHALL SPEAK, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold, the proud, his soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by faith.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Challenge Day 21

I always believe that the 21st of every month should be three times as perfect as every other day.

And I always make it so!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Challenge Day 20: Psalm 90:12-17

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, oh Lord! how long? have pity on thy servants! Satisfy us in the morning with thy steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad as many days as thou hast afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil. Let they work be manifest to thy servants, and thy glorious power to their children. Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it!

-Psalm 90:12-17

Monday, July 19, 2010

Challenge Day 19: Short Yet Powerful

Think big.
- Ben Carson

I dreamed a dream.
- Susan Boyle.

Yes we can.
- Barack Obama

Conceive it, believe it, achieve it.
- Napoleon Bonoparte

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Challenge Day 18: Nelson Mandela!!

I love him.

This man was - is - my hero, my role model, one of my chief motivators.

I love him.

There are a select few people in this world who I'll allow to take any prominent place in my heart, even though I've never met them. People with something special about them. People who make me take the risk of falling in love with them anyway. Nelson Mandela is one of them ...

I LOVE HIM!!

I read Fatima Meer's account of his life in her book Higher Than Hope, and I wept over those pages as I got insight into the life and mind of an icon and an inspiration. I wrote out quotes from the book. I went online and did a little research ...

The more I read, the more I loved him.

How do you keep the vision of a nation alive from the depths and darkness of a prison cell?? It takes something pretty special for a man to unjustly endure 28 years incarcerated and come out preaching a message of peace, love, respect and hope. A man like must be immortalised.

Viva Mandela.
Viva Nelson Rohlilahla Mandela.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Challenge Day 17: Food For Thought

Something to think about:

"What I was capable of compared with what I've achieved is pitiable."
– John Charles Walsham Reith, BBC founder

This man founded the BBC and felt like a failure ... what??!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Challenge Day 16: Back up and start again

I was about to get discouraged
Because I set this goal
To do a post a day
Then all sorts of stuff
Started to get in the way

I wanted to feel like a failure
And then I remembered

Hey, I set the rules.
So I'll just back up
And start again!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Challenge Day 15: Resisting The Urge To Stop

I make the decision
With every new day
To keep going

Because I MUST.

I have a legacy to leave
To my children, my brothers and sisters

I must go forward
I must take charge
I must open doors
So they can walk through

Others have done it for me
I must do it for them
And for mine
And for me

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Challenge Day 14: Up!

I finally watched Up. And it's one of those movies that I almost can't wrap my brain around. Too simple. Too straight-forward. The storyline is too plain and predictable for all the raw power and punch this movie packs. It's incomprehensible - how an old man and a silly little boy (I don't think I've ever been more annoyed by an animated character in my life!) can make you think, stop, smile and then cry.

Yes, cry. Because I cried. Especially at that part where he opened the adventure book and saw that there was something there - pictures of what his wife had considered to be her adventures - the best part of her life - spent in 'ordinary' days with him. This movie proves, through it's profound simplicity, and through Ellie's action, that there is magic in everyday life. There's magic and beauty in it. And that it's ok to be ordinary. Ordinary can be an adventure. Like that annoying little scout said, "it's the boring things I remember the most." He annoyed the heck out of me, but I don't think there's any other line in the movie that could more perfectly sum up what it was all about: the boring stuff is actually special. Now those are new lens to see your life through! And a challenge to try to see life that way.

So I did. I took the challenge. ANd I looked around me at my own life. And I saw many 'ordinary' things starting to sparkle and shine. Many bring moments suddenly taking on a life of their own. And new worth.

Have I been living for my Spirit of Adventure. Yes. Very much. I've wanted to be great since God-knows-when. I think I popped out of the womb singing, "Somewheeere... oover the rainboooow..." Have I missed a lot of the little moments that make life great? Yes. I think so. I think I have.

But then. I haven't missed them all. I've caught some. I've caught many. Because the perspective given in Up is one that I've believed in for a very long time. I've even made the little adventure scrapbooks and kept the journals. I think I really DO love my life! I mean, I love this feeling of being alive and this joy of knowing that tomorrow will be greater, but today - with all it's ordinariness - is great too. Whichever way you take it, I'm great! And so are you.

And so is whoever came up with the concept for Up. That movie pulled tears out of me like nobody's business. Right from the start, when Ellie died. And I loved every second of it. It was a great movie and motivation.

Now, I feel propelled to keep going "UP"!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Challenge Day 13: My Love For To Kill A Mockingbird

I've always loved literature. I've always enjoyed the magic of a good book. I remember reading my sister's literature books (I was two grades behind her) and enjoying them. So, of course, by the time I was supposed to be studying those books, I knew the stories and characters very well (a tendency to read books more than once).

I remember being especially struck by Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. There's a reason that book is studied in schools all over North America - it is a brilliantly-written book. And the themes that it explores are all subjects of every day life.

I think I've read that book more than ten times. Yes. I love it that much. Everything about the book speaks to me: from the title to the last full stop. Everything about that book is strategically written and perfectly placed.

I fell in love with Scout. I saw the world through her eyes and I grew as she did. I saw Gem grappling with adolescence. Dill trying to create a world that was more palatable than the one he lived in. And Atticus. Just trying to do right and protect his children. He'd seen better days. He was too old for children. But he did his best to be the father they needed, even if he often fell short of being the father they wanted.

And Aunt Alexandria?? I bought Scout's story and had no sympathy for her as she tried to make Scout into a 'lady'. I have no sympathy for people who try to make children into something far more unapalatably and well, much less innocent. And I suppose she was trying to teach Scout the ways of the world, to make it easier for her to adapt in 'society'. But there are some pains that a child will willingly endure in order to maintain that precious part of him/herself that is just that: him//her self.

The book's resolution was dramatic and moving. No happy endings. Well, not really. Just a quiet acceptance of life's unjust moments. A realisation that while "all's well that ends well", sometimes things do not "end well", and in these instances, we learn to be "well" anyway. We grab the lessons and keep on going.

Yes. We. These books would not have had any profound effect on me had I not placed myself right there. I was there the night Boo Radley helped Scout and Jem. I saw it so vividly in my minds eye, I had to have been there. There's no way I couldn't have been there.

And when Tom was wrongfully accused, sent to prison?? When Scout couldn't understand how, in the face of what she and Jem knew was brilliantly presented evidence, the court still decided to sentence Tom to prison, I felt her pain and confusion. I couldn't understand either. It just wasn't right.

How do you read a book and not get carried away with the author? And if you don't, is it still a good book?? Can a good book keep you solidly grounded in your reality, unattached to its characters, and still have a deep impact on you?

Reading To Kill A Mockingbird those ten times (if not more, I kid you not) has never been boring. I've not gotten tired of it. The story doesn't get stale. Each time I read it, I relive the conflicts. I feel the emotions. I get carried away again. It could be because I'm a literary romantic. It could be because I have a very vivid imagination. Or it could just be because To Kill A Mockingbird is a good book. A very good book.

I'm more inclined to think it's the latter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Challenge Day 12: One Deep Sentence

One of my friend's Facebook status:

"It's me I'm trying to
protect myself from!"


Much said there.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Challenge Day 11: Why Iker Casillas Won MY Heart When He Kissed HIS Girlfriend

Because it looked like this ...



Absolutely spontaneous
Quickly passionate
Oh.so.romantic

What a good thing I studied Spanish in school!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Challenge Day 10: And So It Began ...

A post a day I promised. The challenge was going to be fierce.

One post for every day. Because my life was that interesting, and I had that much to say.

But then, not even half-way through, I realise the truth of that statement: my life is that interesting. So interesting that there's hardly time to take a breather much less post.

But I make time and perhaps cheat.
I grit my teeth.
I carry on...
Because I'm that committed.

Cheers, blogland.
Have a good one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Challenge Day 9: Tony Deyal's Joke

I nipped this from Tony Deyal's column on Saturday in the Gleaner newspaper.

A polar beer walked into a bar, looked at the bartender and said, “I want a gin . . . and tonic.”

The bartender asked: “No problem, but why the big pause?”

The bear replied: “I don’t know. I’ve always had them.”

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Challenge Day 8: Got Class?

I didn't know what that feeling was - the jelly in the pit of my stomach, the grief, the kind of shaky bewilderment that engulfed me as she spoke.

She explained that she was a woman of class, and that there were certain things that were not good enough for her family. Things she reserved for the 'little people', like her gardener, the little Rasta man who cuts the yard, and her dogs. She went on to let me know that in doing something she associated with these persons/animals, I had behaved like a 'little person', and it did not suit her class at all.

She sat there and told me - in clear, non-verbal tones and shades of attitude - that she does not value the gardener or the little man who cleans the yard, and thinks that she is better - much better - than them. By the end of our conversation, I understood that she also thought (and still thinks) that she is better - much better - than me.

My mother always tells me that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Myles Munroe said that the easiest way to conflict in misunderstanding of intent. Intent defines purpose. Without it, we confuse actions and misinterpret deeds.

Let there be no doubt that this classless, tasteless, immature and foolish young lady has a heart that goes for God's greatest and most priceless gifts - none of which are material.

As she finished her lecture and brusquely told me to "get out of her sight", I thought:

Too bad I had to learn the look, feel and sound of condescension from a woman of class. God, hasten the day when MY TIME truly comes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Challenge Day 7: Stolen Depth

Stole this from my friend Tuggy's Facebook status. It rings oh so true:

"I am always pesting my momz...when will i find the right girl...i would cry and moan and mope about it..so momz sat me down one day and said, "dont worry about finding the right person..concentrate on being the right man"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Challenge Day 6: A Praying Human

Psalm 132:1. Lord, remember David and all his afflictions.

Somebody prayed last night. Actually, several hundred thousand thousand somebodies prayed last night. And the night before, and the night before that. And even right now. Somebody's praying. All kinds of people - fat ones, skinny ones, brown ones, black ones, big ones, little ones ... they're all praying. And for nine out of ten of them, it's a prayer of desperation. It's an I-can't-see-a-way-out-of-this-mess prayer, and a God-if-you're-there-you-need-to-answer-quick prayer. For some, the prayer is summed up in one word: help.

What is it about trouble that makes us drop to our knees and mutter words into the air, hoping, believing that somebody somewhere up there is listening and ready to help us? How does faith suddenly rise in the human soul when we're at our last, like we've been programmed to never see the end as the end. We always hope there is a way out. And there usually is.

I prayed last night. I prayed with David as I read his seven profound words. I read them and wept. And then prayed 'em like my life depended on 'em. And maybe it did. Because I have so many afflictions. And they seem to grow more each day. I feel like I'm at the end of a very long season, a very hard season - a really trying time. And I've tried to look cute, and I've tried to smile. But I couldn't hide this one. I couldn't hide this one. I walked around for days as a brittle frame, praying and hoping that no one would touch me. Begging God to let people see me and suddenly be blind. I was brittle. Brittle. Just about as breakable as you can be. And if anyone touched me, if anyone so much as looked at me too hard, I might have fallen apart right there.

No one touched me. I made it home in one piece. But as I sat down, as I threw down my handbag and dropped my butt in the chair - a little too heavily, I'd forgotten how brittle I was - I fell apart. Butt cheeks didn't hit the seat before the first tear splatted on the floor. And then came the rains.

Why can't I cry like this before people?? Why, in this, my realest, least pretentious hour, do I feel the need to hide? Why do I feel guilty and ashamed? Like I'm not ever supposed to be like this?? Don't they know I'm supposed to be human? Don't they know I'm supposed to have faults and fears and make mistakes? Don't they know that since Adam bit into that apple and defied God, it's been part of my genetic makeup?? Don't they know I'm human too?

Don't I know I'm human too?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Challenge Day 5: The Thoughts I Hid During Haiti's Crisis

But when sun sets

When lights are turned out

Who will be there for us?

Who will be there for Haiti?


I was reading a blog post written by one of my former university lecturers on the plight in Haiti. He was asking a very fundamental and provocative question: did CARICOM arrive in Haiti after the earthquake incident, or were they already there? When I first read the title, I didn't understand fully what he meant. And after reading the entire thing, maybe I still don't. But I was left with this haunting feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. Something ominous and foreboding. I had questions of my own.

Like this rush to Haiti's assistance. Where in us, in the human continuum of emotions and realisations, did it spring from? Where did it come from? Everybody has been speaking about how the tragedy that hit Haiti has opened in us this small window of light, this flicker of hope that the human race will always rise triumphantly, in times when it is needed most, to prove our sovereignty above lesser creations. To fully utilise those emotions that distinguish us from mere brute beasts and elements of nature. Over the last couple of weeks, it would seem that we all tapped into our deeper selves, and found that supreme, intangible substance that propels people to act in the midst of a crisis. We found in us a treasure and wellspring, they say, of love.

But I'm not certain I accept that. Haiti was a country born from indomitability. They refused to be silenced, refused to be oppressed, fought long and hard for a freedom that has come with many costs just and unjust (not that justice is not a very subjective word dependent on many subtle lines of delineation). In Haiti's history, there has always been evidence of a handing 'down' of this 'supreme emotion'. And not just Haiti, but certain African countries like Somalia, and Asian countries like Indonesia, have felt this supreme emotion at work.

The restoration of Haiti is once again being celebrated as a cause to champion. How soon before they are left alone? How soon before they are jilted by the suitors who've come to be their knights in shining armour? How soon before that fairy tale evaporates?

I want to see the aid and relief efforts continue long after the media has gone. I want different organisations to be there, assisting, helping, giving hope, when the rest of the world has turned its eyes from Haiti and looks elsewhere. Only then will I be convinced that this overwhelming outpouring from all directions is not just a prick of guilty conscience, nicely veiled condescension and empathy, sympathy birthed out of pity. But is actually that supreme emotion that looks at Haiti as a pearl in need of care long after the rewards of doing so have gone. Especially from CARICOM and Caribbean nations. Haiti has known this feeling before. They have already walked this road with suitors in their choicest robes, tempting them, caressing and cajoling them with their finest wares - in the limelight, before the crowd. But when the sun sets, and when the lights are turned out, who will be there for Haiti? Who will still see her black face and exalt her as a cherub of great price?? Who will value her then? Is this outpouring just pity? Or is it love? And don't we need the latter?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Challenge Day 4: The Year I Wrote Again (Pt 1)


Disclaimer: What I'm about to say may not come out right, because it is still somewhat mixed up in my mind. I am only now just getting back to the place where I can write from the clarity of my mind ... or at least sound like it. And I must wait patiently while I work up the will to get back there. Because it takes a while, and it takes effort, and practise. But I want to get back there.

Or do I?

Do I want to sound like I've already figured everything out, and nothing is a mystery, and nothing boggles me, and I have very clear, solid and concrete views on everything? Because at this point in my life, that may be a lie. It may not be true. I've come to a place - this place of epiphany - where I realise that I do not have all the answers, and I do not know everything. In fact, there are many things - many, many things - that I do not know, and may never find out. I don't ever feel like I know enough.

So this that I'm about to say may not come out right. It may be contradictory. To some, it may not make any sense. To others, it may not be a sensible thing to say. It may be wrong, very wrong. I may be wrong. But I think I still want to say it, because, if I'm wrong - when I'm wrong - it doesn't bother me as much anymore. Maybe that means a lowering of the standards I've set for myself? Maybe that means a new realisation of my own human-ness and fallibility. Maybe that means increased stupidity ... I don't know. But. When I'm wrong, I've learnt that, if it doesn't kill me, I can live with it ...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Challenge Day 3: The Deep Things Of Life

Live fast
Die young
Have a beautiful corpse...

...would seem to be the mantra of my -and successive- generations.

Live.Fast >> for time is short and you won't be here forever. Get what you can while you can and enjoy 'it' as much as possible. Impatience is a virtue. Go fast. Very fast. Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow, we die... Tomorrow, we... >>

Die.Young >> Each year, millions of youth and children stare death in the face and do not live to tell the tale. Their lives are snuffed out in a variety of ways, for a variety of reasons. It was just yesterday at work that I heard one of my coworkers declare that he had no problem blowing all his money at a bar in one go, especially considering that he doesn't expect to live forever. When did not living forever become reason enough to live foolishly? Since when does short time give us leeway to squander what precious little we have on transient, meaningless things? We've become vain - this generation of mine - preoccupied with the material and physical. God forbid we should get old and shrivelly. Let's die early and ... >>

Have.A.Beautiful.Corpse>> But what does it matter how my corpse looks if I'm dead? Especially if I'm dead without a lasting, positive legacy? Dead having made no meaningful contribution to society? Dead, as in as useless as I was the day I was born? And isn't our world already overrun by beautiful corpses - the walking dead. The millions of people who traverse this earth in a tragically comatose, sleep-waking state of nothingness... long ago checked out. The living dead. Ghosts among us. No fast life for them. Sadly, no life at all.

I'd rather
Live slow
Die old
And have an ugly corpse
For with each wrinkle
Will be a story
Each line will testify
That here lies a woman who lived -
Who really, really lived
Until the day she died.


May our hearts rest in peace ...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Challenge Day 2: Hot chocolate, please


Another panacea.
A beverage like no other.
It makes me happy.

I like hot chocolate.
Especially the real country kind.

I go home.
I sit.
And I sip.
I take deep breaths.
I smile.
And let that sweet, milky warmth saturate my insides.

Hot chocolate, anyone?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Challenge Day 1: Random Growth And Goals

It's the end of an era. The end of a decade. The closing of a chapter of my life.

I can't say I want to look back. I've developed the habit of trying to not looking back so much as I try to look forward ... eagerly anticipating the next now.

I've listed as my interests:
1) Life
2) Journalism
3) Authoring at least one great work before I die
4) Effecting at least one lasting change in my country/region's development

I'm interested in life. Curious to see and know more about this world. I'm a resident of this universe. I want to know it and feel it in every vein and every cell.

I'm interested in journalism. I want to know the truth. So I can share the truth. So we can effect change based on facts. Not erroneous perceptions.

I want to author at least one great work before I die. I love writing. I was born to write. I could easily write all day long. Everyday. I enjoy writing. It's my first love and deepest passion. Then comes reading.

I believe laughter is medicine. I laugh a LOT!

I know love makes the world go round.

I see life as a cycle of stories ... Some day, I'll expound. Look out for my first novel.

I'm such a romantic sometimes (in terms of outlook on life).

I. Literally. Scare. Myself. Sometimes.

I have a friend who writes blog entries straight from her imagination. She writes about what she wants to see as if it were in the past tense. And then she asks the universe to deliver...

I'm tired of waiting. I want to go and I want to GO NOW!!

PS I've been on Blogger for 5 years. I never noticed till I checked my profile. Yay me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm one of God's favourites!

[If you've read my blog post about my familiar face, or if you've known me for any decent period of time, you'll know that, yes, I have plenty of lookalikes, so, yeah, I kinda do have a 'common' face ... but who wants to say that?? Especially when it sounds so ... common]

Coworker:
Rb, you know, I saw a guy the other day who looks exactly like you. I seriously thought he was your twin, except I've never heard you talk about a twin. Do you have a twin??

Rb: *sighs* Actually, I have many twins. I'm just not related to any of them. I've met and heard of too many people who look like me. It's the first I'm hearing about a male though.

Coworker: *smirks and laughs* Oh gosh, you mean it's common? You have a common face?

*Rb looks at cheeky coworker and smiles brightly*
Rb: Well this is God's favourite face ...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

July Blog-A-Day Challenge


Finally.
I'm taking a stand.
It's gotten really bad, and I'm ready to do something about it.

I'm ready for change.
And I think change has long been ready for me!

That's right, blogland. I'm about to make a change.
A big change.

I'm closing my eyes, taking that big swallow and jumping over the edge:
I'm doing something about my awful blogging habits.

More specifically, I'm going to blog more often. Very often, actually. As often as once a day.

I'm challenging myself, igniting my higher powers of tale-telling, quick wit and remarkable brevity, demanding more from my magical fingers, and taking this as an exercise in discipline as well.

As of July 1.

A post a day. And not just a picture either. Unless it's one that's worth a thousand words. Or a million trillion zillion.

One post everyday.

Because my life is that interesting.
And because - mostly because - I've got that much to say!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Will To Rise

Don't bury me, I'm not dead yet.
There's too much life in this body
For me to give room to regret
There's too much left to do
And too much time to do it in
Too much in me still dances
Too much inside me still laughs and sings.

I've made many mistakes
I know you'll never forget
But don't bury me,
I'm not dead yet.

The.Legacy.
I bequeath to you today an unusual gift. Intangible and yet priceless. Not to be categorised among 'the little things'. This is a big thing - this is a big gift.

And it is necessary for every day. For the million and one little things that can go wrong. For the dark times. The sad times. The awful and bad times. The times of deep despair and despondence...

Sometimes falling becomes commonplace. An easy thing to do. And each time, getting up feels more like a chore. An increasingly difficult task to master. Sometimes finishing a race in which you've stumbled many times seems silly and unwise. Sometimes, giving a thing at which you've failed a second, third, fourth try seems like cruel and unusual self-punishment.

A fall can look like a fail. Especially when it's repetitive. The fallen can be branded a failure. Rising - or trying to - in the eyes of the onlooker, can seem like a symptom of stupidity. The fallen one, in the eyes of the observer, can be easily underestimated, underappreciated ... the fallen can be buried before the fallen is dead.

But don't listen to them! They don't know you. And they've never caught a glimpse of your heart. When the whole world decides you're over and done, know that I will NEVER give up on you. When everyone else has walked away, look up. See me waiting to see you rise.

Because I have given you this gift. And I wait to see you use it.
For all you are and ever hope to be ...

... I give you the will to rise.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Throwing a Theory Out There...

Some misguided direlict made the statement that all good things must come to an end. When I look at the mess Jamaica is in right now, I disagree: ALL BAD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. And coming to an end (or at least temporary recession) they are...

The revelations of the connections between our politicians and drug-dealers, dons, king-pins, etc are about to get worse. This is the tip of the iceberg, and people will begin to squeal like stuck pigs...

Do you realise that it is the 'dreaded' economic recession that has propelled all of this?? Times got tight, and the people laundering or illegally dealing in money started to find it difficult to source easy capital... as they became unable to make good on their promises to their 'lenders' (think CashPlus, Olint, WorldWise, Madoff's empire), their lenders became restless, their activities began to look suspicious, they came under international and national scrutiny, and were subsequently exposed.

That is directly linked to the seemingly legitimate bigwigs who assisted or depended on them for money... their connections to these people, and the sources of their wealth started being investigated as well. Some of them have already gone down and the rest are very close to going down.

How does this tie in to politics?? Well, these bigwigs are connected to politicians who facilitate their illegal acquisition of wealth in exchange for 'sponsorship' of political programmes and campaigns. It can be in as illicit a manner as providing the 'dons' or small men to do this bigwig's evil bidding, or as small as turning a blind eye to wrongdoings of their 'brethrens'. These politicians are getting antsy, because these bigwigs are going down, and their connections to them are also being questioned and coming under international scrutiny.

Enter the infamous extradition matter. The entire Jamaican Government froze. That's a big risk. In more than one ways, for more than one reasons... depending on who you're batting for. This extradtion matter has raised questions about (the already well-known absence of) cleanliness and transparency in our Government. It puts them directly in the limelight (and they're already indirectly in the limelight through their connections to these bigwigs now being exposed and brought down). It's the final link. It shows the connection between the government and the dons, druggists, gunners. The blood that flows through all their veins is POWER and MONEY. It's always been about these two elements.

But now, (I really hope), this system is going downhill and leading to one place: exposure.

I'm not sure if I'm 100% correct, or if I'm not missing some key links, but from my viewpoint, this is what I see... you can let me know what you think.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why I need a car...

Ok. This has been a long time coming. And it's inevitable... I need a car.

I mean, I really need a car!! *Sees my parents blinking their eyes, unmoved* No, seriously, I neeeed one!! And I can prove it!

1. I've been living in Kingston for the better part of five years, and my family is in St Mary. If I want to see them, I have to fork out $700 to travel there and back... that's A LOT of money when I have to do that regularly... a car would help with that!

2. Many a time, I'm stuck at a supermarket waiting for a taxi to take me home... and sometimes I actually have more places to go to (post-supermarket errands)... and too many bags to carry... that can run up a hefty bill. Now, imagine if Ruthi had a car ...

3. I like movement, I like speed (ok no, in case a transport official is reading this, no, I don't like speed at all. Speed is bad, very bad). But I do like to be able to get to where I'm going quickly. Hehe.

4. If I had a car, I would never be late for work. Ever. Having my own ride would cut the time it takes to get there in half. And cut out the unnecessary delays that sometimes come with commutes, speaking of which ...

5. No more commute!! No more rude, handsy, chatty, loud, stinky, noisy people trying to cow me down or drive me crazy. Just me and the sweet sounds of Hillsongs playing on my stereo in my BMW 318i... can't you see it?? Doesn't it just make you want to buy me a car? *smiles sweetly*

6. No more being stranded. No more not knowing how I'm going to get home after a late concert, or a long night at work, or an extended visit at a friend's house. No more waiting for mobile friends to come pick me up (because I'd be mobile!), or worrying if that one fickle friend won't cancel on me at the last minute again ... *side-eyes that friend*

7. Free rides for my friends and church family... knowing me and my propensity to go on spontaneous adventures, we could FINALLY start to go to all the places we've been planning to go to FOREVER!

8. Adventures. Yes, gas costs money. But I could freely travel. Plan trips to far places and just budget for gas money, car maintenance and such, instead of having to plan with public commute in mind, which can be such a bother.

So, why am I posting this on my blog?? Well, my dear, dear, dear friends, my birthday is December 7, which gives you ample time to let the Lord speak to you... lol. But if He doesn't tell you what I want to hear, I'll still drop by your blog and show some love, just leave a comment below... have a good one all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Death of an acquaintance

I call him an acquaintance because I think that's what he was to me: an acquaintance. A friend of a friend. Or rather, the son of a friend and mentor. A part of a family I'd seen enough of to feel like I could call him an acquaintance, to feel like I kinda knew him: a little.

To them, he was so much more than that!!

And now he is dead.

Dead.
DEAD!!!
Shot. Murdered. Killed. Justlikethat.
Nothing left. No life. No nothing.
Just dead.

What does that even mean??

She is a good woman. A great mother. An awesome mentor and friend.
He taught me in university. I mean, he was one of my most inspiring teachers.
His sister is fun and cool and down-to-earth. Spunky sometimes.
His sons are young and innocent, and probably oblivious to what's going on.

They don't deserve this.

Nobody deserves this.

Why??

A life.
Snuffed out like it has no value.
What's going on?
Jamaica, seriously, WHAT IS GOING ON?
When is this going to stop?

It keeps getting closer to home.
And you wonder, who next?

My deepest and sincerest condolences to the family, friends and relatives of my acquaintance. I feel deeply for you, and that alone tells me the immeasurable pain and burden that you must carry...

I am sorry. I wish I could bring him back to life. I hope and pray that you all get through this. Somehow.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prayer for the Self

Dear God,


I pray this feeling never goes away.


I pray I feel this agony
Each and every day


I pray I feel their pain
I pray their cries burn my heart


Let me live the situation
Till I find a solution.


Give me no peace
And give me no sleep


Make me desperate
Make me restless


Let my respiration
Be filled with desperation


I am the solution.
Help me to find me.


Copyright 2009 Ruthibelle

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If ambition is a disease...

On behalf of young people all over this country who dare to dream, I proudly, defiantly declare...

If ambition is a disease, I am terminally ill... -Ruthibelle

H. W. Arnold said that the greatest bankruptcy in the world is the person who has lost his enthusiasm. I have many friends who walk around bankrupt. Empty. Daily. Fighting to keep hope alive in young hearts and minds that would rather retire and die. Or run off to another country for (seemingly) 'greener pastures'.

It makes me sad, because I remember their determination while we studied at university. I remember the light and fire in their eyes ... It is a tragedy to watch creativity and ingenuity get smothered by the recurring hardships of life, especially because those now dying struggled so hard to keep these flames of passion lit while attending university. For many of my friends, life has been a series of battles to keep hope alive.

What kind of country does that to its youth? What kind of country kills creativity and somehow transforms hard-earned success (like graduating from university) into a negative, burdensome experience? A member of our government recently made a statement to the effect that university graduates who cannot find jobs or afford to repay students' loans are in that predicament because they chose the wrong professions. Isn't that an irresponsible and careless thing to say? A statement indicative of a government becoming unpalatably abusive and insensitive to its people?

One of my friends pointed out that, by making such an irresponsible statement, our Government is, in essence, condemning ambition and telling young people to choose careers that guarantee them jobs (which ones are those, pray tell), instead of studying subject areas they are actually interested in.

Max Lucado said that ambition is that grit in the soul which creates disenchantment with the ordinary and puts the dare in dreams. I have long been disenchanted with things ordinary and substandard. And I walk among like-minded friends. We are not satisfied with average. God knows we love Jamaica, but it can get rough. It can be really hard to have a dream in a dreamless state.

Today, I use this blog post to recognise my friends all over Jamaica who dream big, and do not let the pressures of everyday life kill their passions and desires. I recognise the quiet strength it takes for them to choose energetic, active living over merely existing each day. And I respect that. Even if our government doesn't. I do. And I hope that makes a difference and counts for something ...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Perspective

Sometimes
it just takes
one moment
to put
EVERYTHING
into perspective

...

One moment.
One experience.
One epiphany.

Here's mine:

A habit is a developed discipline ...
constructive or destructive,
you decide.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Foot

Have you ever noticed that ATMs are always built in some areas that get very lonely after certain hours? Always some little corner out of the way, where people can easily get shot, robbed, mugged, killed... you notice these things when you're heading to one such secluded spot at 8:47 at night...

At the ATM:
A woman is inside doing her business.
A man is outside waiting.
I carefully look him up and down: no untoward bulges from his pants waist, no tattoos, piercings or weird shiny objects...
Man says good night.
At first I jump a little. Then sigh, smile and return the pleasantry.
I look around: no lone, suspicious characters nearby.
No police car either.
I wish that woman would hurry!.

The woman exits the machine.
The man enters.
I'm outside alone.
A prick of apprehension.

The man doesn't take long.
Soon, I'm safely bolted into the little cubicle
... or trapped, as the case may be ...

I hear a sound.
I quickly turn round to look outside.
Nothing.
I realise the ATM glass is not transparent from my end.
People outside can see me.
I can't see out.
I wonder which genius built this thing....

There's a little clear-looking strip at the bottom of the machine.
I stoop down to peep out...
I see a foot!!

Just one foot parked menacingly at the at the edge of the glass cubicle.
The rest of the body is hidden from view.
My heart beats double time.
who's out there?
what do they want?
will they hurt me??


I grab the money from the machine.
Quickly grab and tear up my receipt.
Stuff the cash into my bag.
Zip it tightly, push open the door and .... run like the wind!!

At a safe distance
I turn around, panting, breathless...
No one. Absolute emptiness.
Thank goodness I'm not being followed.
The predator must have ran off too...

I sigh. Look down. Eyes get stuck on my shoes.
I chuckle, then giggle, then comes full-blown laughter.

That 'menacing' foot I had been seeing on the other side of the ATM?
My own--- my reflection.

Steups.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Death... Again.

I just found out that one of my favourite high school teachers died yesterday. Sad. Very sad.

Remember this post that I wrote as an ode to the teachers who invested quality time and energy into molding my mind and life?? Well, the Mrs Mullings I spoke of died of cancer yesterday.

I feel it in places I didn't even know I had.

I feel it in ways I can't explain or imagine.

I mean, it hurts. It really, really hurts. And I just want to cry and get mad and thump a pillow.

And after all that, I look around my sorry room and realise none of that really helps because it doesn't change the fact, the irreversible fact, that she is GONE. Gone. I don't even know what to say. And I never got the chance to say a million and one things to her that I should have said, could have said... don't know why I never said them.

Mrs. Mullings was my teacher-- my teacher. She was as precious as they come. She was a rare gem. A real beauty - inside and out. I miss her already, even though I have not seen her in years. Miss her dearly, and deeply. I almost feel wounded.

That was one of my favourite teachers. What she did for me.... what she did for me!! It was a miracle. In my life. She worked a miracle. And I will never get to say these things to her. Not in this life, anyway. Not anymore.

I've always had this grand plan in the back of my mind to one day go home and just shower my teachers with love. At this big luncheon, at a time when I would be able to adequately, truly express the depth of my appreciation to them all at once. How can I do that if, as time goes by, they all start leaving, one by one... I need a new plan. Because this one is too risky. I risk missing another opportunity to let someone special know just how special they are.

Mrs. Mullings was the wind beneath my wings for most of my high school life. The way she believed in me when I was still finding my footing, still trying to figure out who I was and where I was going, and why... the way she encouraged. When I was drowning in depression and despondency.... the way she taught, with eloquence, such grace and unparallelled clarity, the patience she had... the times I could catch her outside of class hours and get her to teach me something I missed in class all over again... the way she held on to grand hopes for ALL her students, not one, not some... she believed in ALL of US!! The way her life was well-lived, and she spent her years working small miracles in little lives everyday...

A life like that should get honorary prolongation. For being so well-spent. A life like that deserves to live on... A mind like that should have written books, thousands of books, or at least one good one, explaining the years and the experience, immortal knowledge bequeathed to the next generation. So much has left the world with Mrs. Mullings' death. So much more has left my life. It makes me tremendously sad.

Another death to deal with?? I don't know if I can handle it. Nobody told me that, in your early twenties, you start to see and feel death in a much more personal way... a warning of some kind would have been nice. I really would have liked to know so I could prepare... see, I like to be prepared. And why does it just do that - how can news like this just completely disrupt your life and your mind, and knock the wind out of you and, no matter how calmly you think you can handle it, completely take you by surprise??

I'm not liking this very much at all. I'd like to stay home from work today and just bawl. (Sadly enough, that line rhymes).

Sense of Adventure

One of these days,


I will pack my bags,


board a plane,



AND GO FIND ME AN ADVENTURE!!





The world is calling... can't you hear it?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finally!!

I did it!! I. DID. IIIIITTT!!!

Did what, you ask.

Well, for the first time in a very long while, with deliberate effort and concentration, and that exceptional mixture of brevity, wit and timing that is necessary... I told a joke!!

I can see people shaking their heads in disbelief, and a few of you chuckling to yourselves and thinking, "OK, the bird has left the nest ... she's cuckoo." But you don't understand.

I'm never funny!! At least, not intentionally.

Usually, my attenpts to give jokes in large groups are met with laughter at the unfunniness of the joke more than anything else... and my misplaced enthusiasm, and pitifullly hung head after I realise that everybody's laughing at me and not with me...

So, when I sat with a group of my coworkers and successfully related a joke at which they all laughed, (not because I did a poor job of it, but because they got the joke and thought it was funny) I flung my hands into the air and screamed with delight. Finally! Finally I got it right!! I told a joke that made people laugh... I'm so happy I could cry.

*sniffles* You don't know how many years of humiliation I've had to endure for my awkward timing, unnecessary drawing out of the subject matter, or just plain unfunniness. But now?? Now?? The world of humour is my oyster, and there's no joke I can't tell!! Who knows? From this point on... Maybe I can do stand-up comedy... Suddenly, it all feels possible...

**YEEEEEEES!!** I finally found my funny!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kids are desperate

I've started this post about a hundred different ways, and then promptly deleted each paragraph, because I don't quite know what to say, don't quite know where to begin, don't quite know how to verbalise these feelings ... don't even know if I should yet again enunciate syllables that have reverberated in the corridors of our nation's history for centuries. Sometimes, words just seem inadequate.

"Children are desperately vulnerable," said Glenn Tucker in his letter to the editor in The Gleaner recently. He couldn't be more right. Children are desperately vulnerable. Vulnerable not only because of their inherent innocence and naïvette about the world they live in, but also because the care and protection that these inherent weaknesses necessitate are not being and cannot be met by a society full of irresponsible, selfish, greedy, apathetic and unconcerned adults.

Why are we so unmoved by the plight of our children?? Where did our hearts go? When did the little red valves and capillaries stop performing their critical functions? When did collective responsibility become a relic of an era buried under centuries of callous, inimical inertia?

Have we forgotten that our children are the future? Maybe that statement has become so regularised that we no longer remember what it means - that our children are us - in a future light, yes, but still, they are us. Ask any mother and she will tell you that her child is a living, breathing and irreplaceably precious extension of her life ... that that little bundle of ingratitude and laughs makes her existence meaningful, worthwhile and complete.

Kids complete us. They finish the life cycles that we begin and help to fulfil our lives in ways that we never truly understand until we're over the eighty year mark and ready to consider the 'important' things in life.

And what irks me is, we've all talked. Everybody has an opinion on the issue. Everybody gets hot, sweaty and pasionately riled up about these things. And, after venting their frustrations, concerns, heartaches and heartbreaks, we shut up, put up and do nothing. We go home to our warm, comfy beds and sleep peacefully and do nothing. Nothing. Nothing at all!

I don't want to sleep anymore. I can't anyway. Not now. Not anymore. I lay awake thinking. I lay awake dreaming. I lay awake groaning in my spirt for kids I've never seen. Angst and desperation bitter my respiration as I try to wrap my brain around the situation, and find the solution. There is a solution. There has to be a solution. Or else, what are we living for??

If not us, who?? If not now, when?!! I pray God give me the strength, courage and wisdom to once and for all shut up and act - decisively, effectively - to help rid our nation of the evils we have for so long gabbed about.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dreams

Dree-ee-ee-ee-eeams, dreams, dreams, dreams ...
Dree-ee-ee-ee-eeams, dreams, dreams, dreams ...

That song is exactly what I feel like ... dree-eee-ee-ee-eeams. Just lots and lots of dreams packed up in one head and heart that's about to explode!

I watched the Oscars yesterday, and saw Gabby Sidibe sitting there, nominated in the same category as Meryl Streep after only her first movie role... can you say dreams??

I saw Sandra Bullock finally win an Academy Award for lead actress, even though she's been leading for so long... Can you say dreams??

And what of Jeff Bridges? His breakthrough came after 38 years! Can you say dreams?

And Kathryn Bigelow was the icing on the cake with her best director prize... the first woman to win that award, after 82 years of Oscars. Can you say dreams?

Dream hard, scheme harder, start planning for your AA moment.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Began...

It happened while I was reading the opening preface of my latest literary fixation: A compilation of all three volumes of The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee. After I read those two words, I missed the essence of his sentence. For a minute, whatever else the author was trying to say was completely lost on me. Those two words struck me and drowned out the sounds of the office buzzing around me. They floated around in my mind and impressed themselves on my internal eye. Two words glowing in the night: I began.

Watchman Nee said that he felt "commissioned of the Lord" to undertake the task of writing a book that would explain man's spiritual composition in a simple, straightforward and easily understandable manner. The next sentence starts with those two dynamic words: "I began". He started immediately ... he started at all. He didn't leave his impression as an impression, but acted with immediacy on his belief. And now, here I am, reading the completion - the fulfillment - of this dream.

And all because he began.

What does it take for a man to begin? How does he define the realm that should be his ideal starting point? Is there such a thing as an ideal starting point? Aren't all points in life axes on which we can build the momentum for the next phase, for action that takes us to the next level?

Watchman Nee may not be your favourite author. His religion may not be yours. But, if you take anything away from this post, let it be this: Wherever you are, whatever your name, age, grade or stage, if there's a dream in your heart and a desire in your mind (that is noble and positive and laced with integrity), begin. Begin it now. Let today be the day when you say, "I began."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Death

What do you do when you stare death in the face?? Squarely in the eyes?? When there's nowhere to look but at that ugly brute beast? There - standing right there - forcing you to reconcile truths your mind would rather reject?

What do you do?

My grandmother died this morning. In her sleep. She was my mother's mother. She was, therefore I am. And now that she has gone, a piece of me goes with her. A piece of me. And a piece of my mother.

What do you do with that knowledge? WHat do I do with these seconds of slow realisation that I will never, ever see her again? Never hear that laugh again? Never see that smile again? Never learn anything more about that life from the one who lived it? Because it is over. That chapter is over. That book is permanently closed.

And here I am. Wondering. Waiting.

Waiting to inhale and let the truth in. Waiting to exhale and let the sadness out.

Here I am, waiting to feel something in a heart that suddenly refuses to feel.

Help?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tuh-ribble!

Below is a video of a sting operation that was carried out by a police group. It shows an UNCLE selling, prostituting his BARELY THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD NIECE to tourist men for money.

My stomach turns. I am truly pained by this. First time I saw it, I hit at the man and nearly destroyed my laptop monitor.


I wonder, though, about so many things... they say the mother did not know, but did she really not know... didn't she have even a smidgen of suspicion? And at thirteen, what experiences could this young girl have had to lead her to believe that sex with tourist men is normal and acceptable ... and not worth telling her mother, or someone else who could put a stop to it, about?

Someone must be held accountable for this. The uncle is the obvious target. But what if there are others involved? How do we get them? Because we need to get them!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm ba-ack!!

September 11, 2009.

That was the date of my last post. And so many things have transpired since then... I hardly know where to begin. And it's funny, because since my year-long hiatus from blogland, my number of followers has actually increased!! That's real encouragement.

I have something worthwhile to say afer all, and there are people who are willing to listen, and even respond! And perhaps be inspired to say something worthwhile too! That makes me smile.

It's been a year. A whole, long year (or something close enough). I didn't really plan my absence from blogland. Like so many other things, it just sorta happened.

But today, I step out of obscurity and recapture my voice... my blogvoice, to be more specific. I haven't been blogging, but I haven't stopped writing, and I definitely haven't stopped thinking... in fact, my brain seems to be producing more thoughts per second than it ever has. And I haven't stopped reading. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. All sorts of books. About all sorts of topics.

And the million and one issues that affect this lovely country and region of mine? Oh yes, they still get to me.

Am I wiser? Maybe... I think so...
Am I richer? Oh good God, yes!! (*grins*)
Am I more focused than ever before? You bet.

Am I back for good? Time will tell.
For now though, rest in the sweet assurance that I'm back.

I'm here, blogland. I'm back.
And I'm ready to start talking.