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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Diaries of love won, lost & won again: A countdown to Valentine’s Day. No. 1

In Haiti, Personal, Relationships on January 21, 2009 at 5:27 pm

 

Gregory, my first boyfriend

I never talk about Gregory.  Until now, he’s been a part of my private self. I have a lot of things tucked away in that innermost part of me. I imagine the good and bad memories kept to myself are disorderly stacked on one another – a heap of confusion buried deep inside that only I can decipher. But memories of Gregory, I’d like to think, are neatly folded in a special corner in my heart underneath a soft stream of warm sun rays. I’d have it no other way. 

I was 10 when I met Gregory. He was in my sixth-grade class at a public school in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. He was Haitian American just like me. He loved to smile just like me. He had lots of jokes just like me. Gregory was zany and zealous with an infectious laugh. His dark brown eyes sparkled when he smiled and dimples simultaneously sank into his creamed-colored skin.

Made. Me. Melt.

He was cuteeeee, cool; not arrogant, and he wanted to be my boyfriend. 

At the tender age of 10, I wasn’t allowed to date or even posses innocent feelings of love. My elders would reluctantly lift that ban when I turned 18. But until then, I was to ogle only my books or face the possibility of being sent to live under the tutelage of some no-nonsense relative in Haiti.

It was the first time that I outright defied my parents thou-shall-not-look-at-boys rule. I’m glad I did. Gregory and I spent a total of one school day as a couple. That spring day, during recess, we hung out close to the school’s fenced perimeter, taking in the view of its massive concrete courtyard. We could see our classmates chasing one another, playing double-dutch, and hear faint prattles in between gurgles of laughter.

We were shy about our relationship. Gregory played with my fingertips with one hand and bounced a blue handball with the other. I just smiled at him and sometimes clumsily threw my girly come hither look in the opposite direction at no one or nothing in particular. I was a shy kid brand spanking new to the concept of having a boyfriend.

Several days later, I was to become acquainted to the reality of death. Gregory’s death.

As many deaths are, it was sudden; and as all deaths are, tragic.

That warm day before Gregory died, I distinctly recall the nervous laughs we shared in the courtyard followed by love notes exchanged during class. He kissed me on the cheek when school dismissed. His kiss was soft, gentle. He walked toward the B12 bus stop looking confident. His dirty navy blue backpack bobbing to the movement of his bouncy steps.

My heart, virtually in unison to Gregory’s fading footsteps, went pitter-patter; my stomach felt slightly queasy from the realization that we were an item.  My first boyfriend. 

I promised to call him that evening but dozed off earlier than my usual 8:30 curfew. I learned the next day that at about the time I had gone to bed, Gregory’s younger brother had set fire to the apartment where he and three brothers lived. His mother had been doing a night shift at work and the babysitter supervising in her absent was paying the next door neighbor a quick visit when the tragedy unfolded.

The apartment quickly filled with smoke, suffocating one of Gregory’s three brothers. He, my first boyfriend, my childhood sweetheart, endured third degree burns to 70 percent of his body. 

I have a scar on my right hand from a first-degree burn received when I was four. My brothers had also been playing with fire. At 10, I was able to compute that a third degree burn to 70 percent of ones body equaled a slim chance of survival. 

Gregory lived for two days after the calamitous incident. His mother loss three of her four sons. The surviving sibling would receive a series of skin grafts.

The news rocked my school where they all attended. 

I was devastated. Crushed. My 10-year-old heart forever altered, irreparable. 

The evening after the school principal broke the news to my sixth-grade class, I sobbed in my room for what felt like hours. The world felt so bleak and I thought how unfair it was that God could allow me to feel happy one day and empty the next. 

I never forgot Gregory. I learned a lot from his death, the most important being that life is short and love is sweet. It’s best to always cherish every minute spent with that special person because at any given moment, it’ll be your last moment together. Make it memorable.- MJ

The Inauguration Report from BK

In Humor, Personal, Politics on January 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm
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10:07 am

Wow. It’s exactly 10:07 a.m. Crazy. In a little less than two hours Barack Obama will be sworn as the 44th president of the United States of America . My palms are sweaty. I’m emotional. One of my closest friends called me a short while ago. She was in tears. She couldn’t believe that she was at work while this historical event is unfolding. I’m in my mother’s bedroom, taking it all in on television, I told her. I suppose it’s not about the what ifs, or should of, or could of. I suppose it’s about taking it all in no matter where you are. It’s about recognizing that something awesome is happening. What. A. Feeling.

10:12 a.m

Watching the Today Show. Caribbean folks always have to represent and of course in Chocolate City, they are representing strong. Saw a Haitian flag (go Haiti!) in the crowd. Not sure who the reporter was but this reporter was interviewing a person of West Indian descent, who was talking a mixed CD he made with lots of Bob Marley tunes. He said something positive the inauguration though I can’t recall what exactly that was. I was too fixated on the Haitian flag fluttering in the background.

10:20

No disrespect. I collect shot glasses. I need to buy a shot glass with Barack Obama’s face emblazoned on it. Random thought for sure.

10: 21

This sucks. Why am I not in D.C.? I had lodging options and also a free magazine party to attend on Sunday. Sigh. WTF? My D.C. pals will never let me forget this major faux pas. I mean I’m broke but even that’s no excuse. I read reports of unemployed people with mouths to feed who have traveled from as far as Texas to D.C. to experience this once in a lifetime moment. Be back in a few. Going to dunk my head in the toilet cause I’m feeling like an ass right now.

12:44 p.m.

Wow. Shivers. Great speech. I never sang the national anthem with so much passion. Loved the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery’s benediction. Goose bumps. Hair standing. Wow!

1:00 p.m.

Preparing to head out. Need a celebratory lunch. Feeling very festive. Feeling proud to be an American. Woo hoo! Throwing one of my several Obama tees. Palm still sweating. What a feeling. Wow! 

1:19 p.m.

Let’s get involved. President Barack Obama has called on all of us to do our part. We have to our part and choose hope over fear. Ready to do your part? Go here to learn more.

6:02 p.m.

Watching the inauguration parade on CNN. Can’t wait to see what Michelle O wears to the inaugural ball.

10:01 p.m. Decided that I like Michelle’s dress. It’s fresh, flirty and young but not in a weird way that plays against her age. Mm…Barack sure can move those hips. Oh, but wait…where was I?

12 a.m. The Barack fest has come to an end. I literally watched on MSNBC this beautiful couple attend 6 balls. I’m fatigued. Heading to bed. Gotta wake up bright and fresh for a new day under a new president. What. A. Feeling.- MJ

Taken by Associated Press

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President Barack H. Obama’s inauguration speech.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Turn Back Da Clock

In Family, Personal on January 4, 2009 at 12:07 am

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Ever ponder questions like, “Why the hell did I grow up?” or “Why couldn’t I remain a kid for the rest of my life”? Perhaps the latter is a stretch. But maybe you’ve wished you stayed a kid a little longer.

Maybe you’ve yearn for super powers to slow time and push back adult things like going to work each morning, riding crowded buses and trains, or hopping in your car and navigating traffic-jammed streets.

As a kid, the streets were still busy, but from the vantage point of a child, the view was different then. It was fun – an adventure. The responsibilities were humdrum, lacking the trepidation connected to adult duties. As a little one, your biggest responsibilities included getting your homework done, cleaning your room and/or feeding the dog. To think that those task seemed monumental then. Remember when a weekly $20 allowance felt like a lot of money? 

You’d spend it on candy, toys, comic books and still have enough left for Chinese food. Yeah man, those were the good old days. Grown-up world, back to you now. I’m off to work! Peace. – MP.

 


To be or not be…with a Caribbean beau that is.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal, Relationships on November 30, 2008 at 2:00 am
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Island fare: Jerked salmon, macaroni pie, rice and peas and salad

“Can you do it? I can’t. I can’t date a black American guy,” one of my friends proclaimed in between bites of a cheeseburger she ordered from a burger dive in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood.

It wasn’t the first time I heard this sort of admission but for some reason, it stuck. Perhaps it’s because my friend’s parents are by way of Jamaica and the South, and it surprised me to hear her share such sentiments.

Perhaps it stuck because it suddenly dawned on me that this sentiment was repetitive. I’d heard it expressed in various circles quite often. 

My friend explained that she preferred to date Caribbean guys because they possess a certain je ne sais quoi. My cousin, in a separate conversation on the same topic, described that mysterious something as oomph.

“Black American guys seem to be one dimensional,” my cousin said. “Caribbean men have sex appeal, swagger. There’s something about the way they walk and talk. There’s an extra layer to Caribbean brothas. ”

I’m conflicted. On one hand, I understand such sentiments though to a lesser degree. I love Caribbean men. How can I not when my father and uncles are from the West Indies.

Caribbean men do possess an indiosyncratic quality that I think lies between the accented speech and seemingly innate confidence. 

The fact that these men tinged with mellifluous accents come from a region steep in African (albeit colonize) history make them interesting, intriguing, even exquisite. But there’s something equally beautiful, though in a different way, about American brothas, particularly those from the South. 

I’m not talking about grimy Lil’ Wayne and those of his ilk. I’m referring to the genteel bunch with degrees from Morehouse, ecetera. I’m talking about the ones who believe in God and family and love. Ah, yes, mm, mm…those Southern brothas. Those Southern brothas who love their mamas and think women should be given the utmost respect. 

I’ve never exclusively sought to date one kind of black man over another based on origin. That type of thinking strikes me as borderline jingoistic, not to mention a tad parochial.

Given the dearth of available bachelors on the market, I also don’t think black women can afford to be that picky. We’re already particular. 

I’m opting for a man who believes in love, family, and commitment. Origin is secondary. – MJ

Chronicle of Nina Sky: A Caribbean gal’s dating tales in South Florida.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal, Relationships on November 14, 2008 at 8:39 pm

*Major disclaimer, guys: Characters in this series are fictional, er, not really. Any resemblance to actual people you know is strictly coincidental! Hmm…then again, I might be talking about you.* 

First of all, let me begin with a shout out: “Big up to my Haitian massive!”

Now that I’ve gotten that pleasantry out of the way, let me follow with a caveat: I have nothing against my people. But I’ll never, ever, willingly date a Haitian man EVER again. 

I speak from experience. My last three boyfriends were bona fide Haitians, – straight from the island. You may think that sounds pretty pejorative, right? Wrong! I have what I feel are good reasons I’ve given up on dating Haitian men. 

  • They’re aggressive: At times they are very affectionate, which can be a good thing, right? Well, don’t speak too fast. Probably, when you’re dating them, this might be viewed as a plus but it when you’re ambling on the street and one grabs you to tell you that you’re beautiful then ask that you call them later, that’s beyond over confidence. I mean does that line really work out of the year 1985? 
  • They are extremely possessive: Jealousy is not an endearing quality in anyone. It’s especially daunting when you can’t exchange pleasantries with the mailman because your man thinks said mailman – innocently conducting on his neighborhood delivery route – is gawking you. 
  • They love you too quickly: Haitian men profess love in the first week of meeting you. Every one of my ex-boyfriends told me they loved me within a short time span. The crazy thing is they actually meant it. When they fall for you, they fall hard. They expect too much, too fast, too soon. They start talking marriage way too early in the relationship. Case in point, I met this guy recently. We’ll call him Pouchon (sounds like Pooh Shown). Well, I met Pouchon a little over three months ago. As to be expected, he told me that he loved me and wanted to marry me because he’s not getting any younger and neither am  I. What was I waiting for, he wanted to know? I was like “whoa, dude! I barely know you and you want to marry me.” Then he starts talking about wanting to move to the state where I live cause all his brothers and sisters are married and he wants to get married too. Priceless! 
  • After they have you in their clutches, they cheat: I’m talking more so marriage than the courtship part. After being married to their wives for a bit, they decide that it’s time to get some new booty. I don’t know this from personal experiences – at least I don’t think any of my Haitian boyfriends cheated. But, I do know that my father did, my uncles (notice plural) did, and my brother-in-laws also followed suit. My friends’ Haitian husbands also dabble in adultery, and if you’re married to a Haitian man, he’s doing it too. It’s a rite of passage ladies and I want no part of it. 

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I LOVE all my Caribbean brothers especially my Haitian brothers. I just don’t want to date them. I’m an equal opportunity dater but I strongly prefer men who are Caribbean. Those from St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadalupe, Bahamas, etc., are so sexy and my choice du jour. – Nina Sky

M&M + Merlot = soothed heart.

In Personal, Relationships on November 14, 2008 at 5:05 am

For the first time in almost a yearlong span, I cried. It felt good to release suppressed hurt, pain, fear; I unleashed my inner sufferings – got acquainted with my vulnerable side.

I soothed my wound with handful bites of peanut M&Ms and sips of Merlot poured into a hunter green mug emblazoned with “Westchester County Center.”

A haunting thought about unrequited love swirled in my head like a twister with an agenda to unhinge my emotional stability.

I like being in control. Putting on a stoic air is my armor. It protects the ribcage, and most importantly the heart. It keeps me from crumbling into a sorry sob, frustrated over love’s complexity, and having to clean up the mess that ensues (runny nose, sunken eyes, etc.).

Pretend I don’t care and bam! I sequester myself into a protective cocoon of sorts. It’s how I deal. It’s how I’ve dealt with pain and matters of that ilk. It’s my modus operandi. Funny thing is it worked really well when I was young. I gave birth to this seemingly no-fail technique when I was 12. This was around the time that my parents’ divorced.

I’ve since used this coping mechanism to assuage a string of heartaches in my adolescent and young adult life.

Weird thing: It doesn’t work that well anymore, hence my normally steadfast emotional self disintegrating into a five-minute-long tearful Carrie Bradshaw bit this evening. It’s like the older I get, the harder my subconscious self works to excavate these underlying feelings. My subconscious self – that damn devil – wants to expose my soul, my inner me, the real me – I think – for public viewing. 

I can’t stand to be bare. I get cold and embarrassed fairly easily. I’m speaking for the inner me as well. 

I plan to wrestle this sly demon to the ground that has weaken my coping mechanism, making my frustrations more apparent than I’d prefer. I plan to eat more M&Ms and gulp Merlot until the inner demon, my pain, is quelled. I refuse to let it win. I’ll outwit this fiend.  

Time to put on my game face. – MJ

 

Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come 
when, with elation 
you will greet yourself arriving 
at your own door, in your own mirror 
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,               

and say, sit here. Eat. 
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart 
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you 

all your life, whom you ignored 
for another, who knows you by heart. 
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, 

the photographs, the desperate notes, 
peel your own image from the mirror. 
Sit. Feast on your life.

 

Granny

In Personal on November 6, 2008 at 9:43 pm

My grandmother died more than 10 years ago. I knew her as mammy. I never got to tell her how much I loved her. I never really got to show her. In the all the years that I knew granny, she wore a crown of gray hair; she was a fair, loving, hard-working woman. She was altruistic. She’d share food with those less fortunate in our Grenadian neighborhood. The size of her heart couldn’t be measure with the ocean. 

Even though my mother was present in my life, she – my granny- took on a maternal role, particularly in the first 10 years of my life. I remember when she’d take me and a group of cousins to the beach, church and annual island carnivals. She spent many hours minding us while our parents worked long hours to provide for the family. We are all deeply grateful.

She fed us, bathed us, clothed us. She also didn’t spare the rod when our behavior required discipline. She fought for her grandchildren in every imaginable way. Granny made our young lives enjoyable. She instilled in us morals, respect, unity and hard work. That’s why today we’re successful as a family.

Granny was one of my heros. I love her tremendously. – MP   

 

CARIBBEAN LOVE

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal on October 3, 2008 at 6:36 am

I was thinking about Caribbean women one morning.  For no particular reason at all, a general thought crossed my mind.

It was more of a personal assessment actually about my feelings for Caribbean women. I love em’. I can’t see myself with any other type of woman.

They know how to make a man feel like a man – appreciated and loved. They go to war with you. They stand by your side in the trenches. They have your well-being in mind.

Times have changed, and with that, the dynamics between men and women have changed.  Women are hustling just as hard, if not even harder, than their male counterparts. But with today’s bustle, Caribbean women have not shaken off their nurturing ways. They feed you when you’re hungry, wash your clothes when they’re dirty and keep a clean house.

They’re so strong and their beauty is above the rest. Their positive attitude and ambition are unmatched. Their intellect and beautiful mannerisms should not go unnoticed.

Caribbean women, nuff love and respect. – MP

Selita Ebanks

Selita Ebanks

Naomie Campbell

Naomie Campbell

Grace Jones

Grace Jones

Alicia Keys

Melanie Brown

Melanie Brown

Nina Sky

Nina Sky

Vivian Burkhardt

Vivian Burkhardt

Garcelle Beauvais

 

It’s My Single Life so Cece Your Way Out!

In Personal, Relationships on October 2, 2008 at 3:53 pm

 

 

 

It’s become apparent to me with every concerned inquiry, with every raised brow, with each pointed finger that women in relationships hold the answer to finding a companion or so they think.

 

I love my girl pals. But, boy oh boy, their fretting about my love life, which at this moment is moving in slow motion – Matrix style, has soared to the top of my list of peevish things.

 

It’s as if relationships with their significant others go on auto pilot and they’re looking for something to keep them busy, like say, my love life or lack there of.

 

For starters, I take sporadic breaks from dating. It’s an urban jungle out there. Lots of slimy two-legged creatures walking around. Recuperating every so often is good for the mind and soul. Keeps you sane.

 

I have this friend. For the purpose of divulging zilch about her identity, being mindful of privacy acts and all that other crap, I’ll give her the alias Cece. It’s a nice alias that says a lot about my friend like she’s a sistah, thinks she can sing, and doesn’t hold back.

 

So Cece – a married woman (alert! pertinent information here) – thinks I should tackle dating more aggressively, marathon-style if you will.

 

Cece has essentially turned me into her pet project.

 

Cece is stubborn and convinced that a woman should always have a man in her life. Always! She finds it difficult to believe that I’m truly content with my life as it stands. I love to cook, eating is one of my favorite past times, I travel quite a bit, I’m a nature geek, amateur photographer, I love trying new things like horseback riding, and taking spur of the moment adventures.

 

I’m quite zany so zorbing – a New Zealand sport that calls for stuffing a human being into a clear plastic ball and pushing it down a hill – is something I’m dying to do.

 

But from Cece’s vantage point, I’m man less MJ. The numero uno convo had whenever we hang out is my love life, which is why I’ve put a much needed moratorium on our monthly Friday night bar hops.

 

My repeated pleas for her to stop meddling and setting me up with the kookiest men has fallen on deaf ears. It’s borderline maddening. Cece seems to think she’s helping me out because,  after all, she’s “been there.”

 

Where you wonder? Damn if I know. But “there” seems to be code word for single female, which when further analyzed translates to desperately lonesome.

 

Well, I’m on to you Cece and those of your likes. I know you’ve forgotten the non marital days of yore when the sun shone just as brightly, life was dandy, laundry wasn’t urgent, parties were nonstop, and fruity cocktails satisfied your palettes. That’s your prerogative.

 

But for the love of all things cosmopolitan, chic, and open until the twilight hour, please keep your nose out of my single and independent life. Love ya, girl, but really… you were “there” once. You had your fun. It’s my turn and I’m really having fun – lots of it. – MJ

 

Epiphany at an Obama Rally

In Personal, Politics on September 29, 2008 at 7:00 am

This Sunday I attended a Barack Obama rally in Detroit. Good stuff. Good times. Good quotes that got me thinking about my goals.

Destiny is not written for us. Destiny is created by us,” said Obama at the rally.

Those words stuck.

There’s much that I want to do like help fund the grade school that sits on a parcel of land that I own in Haiti. The kids could use some school supplies and clothes.

I also want to write a book and I don’t care if it never makes the New York Times best seller’s list. I simply want to write.

I’m embarking on a new career – sort of.  My new j-o-b is going  to be quite the hustle but I’m prepared to work really, really, really hard. This weekend I plunked down $2,000 to move that ball forward.

I’d like to improve my finances. Sort of strange thinking about finances as the U.S. economy teeters and Congress hammers out a $700 billion bailout. Alas! Gotta look to the future, which starts in the next minute.

Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

I plan to see South Africa, Australia, Tokyo, London, Amsterdam, Brazil, the Amazon rain forest, the Nile River, West Africa, Italy, Greece, and Ireland.

I dunno. Something about economic and demographic shifts happening in Ireland has piqued my curiosity to see this lush island. That and Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes.” A tearjerker, I know, but what a story about human strength.

I love to read. I want to read more. I plan to read more. I also want to laugh until my stomach hurts. I will laugh more.

I love nature trails. The sound of birds chirping and dried leaves crunching beneath my feet make me feel close to God. I want to lean on God and love him/her deeply. I want to always be grateful for my 10 working fingers and toes because life could be worse – far worse.

I’ve always been a woman of action. I’ve always believe life is what you make it. There are always choices.

Always!

Yup. Yup. Yup.

Destiny is not written for us. Destiny is created by us.

How do you want to live your life and what’s taking you so long to live it?

Like the Nike slogan says, “Just do it,” or better yet, heed the words of Sen. Barack Obama.

I know I will. No. Scratch that. I know I am. – MJ