Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions

This is something that truly annoys me. People look at their lives, see something wrong, and make a decision to change it. Nothing is wrong with that. The problem occurs when the person decides that on a particular day they will effect this change in their life. What complicates the issue even more is when these persons decide to gorge on whatever bad thing that they had to make a resolution for.

The majority of the time these resolutions are unfulfilled. Most people end up giving up on the resolution within a month or end up pushing it off until it is never realized. I believe this occurs because the resolution is often push back to a particular time. If you really want to change something about yourself, once you have recognized what it is, then make the necessary changes to accomplish it. Don't delay on making the change. Take a quote from Nike and "Just Do It!"

The perfect condition may never arrive or by the time it has, you have lost interest. Take for instance the resolution to start working out. "I'll wait till I get some work out clothes." "I need a particular pair of sneakers." Or "I need this video to start." All statements that delay that person from working out. If you really want to exercise, start doing stretches in your yard clothes. The more limber your body becomes, the more you will intensify the workout.

Whatever is your resolution, don't set a date and binge and then try to accomplish it. Start doing it at the time you decided that you want the change in your life. Start it now! No excuses.

I leave you with a note that I bbm to my friends:

Happy New Year!!!

Make 2013 an adventure: do something you never have before; make amends with an enemy; tell your loved ones that you loved them; and do something for you.

Forget the New Year's resolution and just do you. The majority of people fall back on them and feel guilty when they do. Times too hard to be taking up head space on unfulfilled resolutions.

Let's make this OUR year, whether it goes badly or not, whether we meet harder times or not. Let us stay positive and thank God for the treasures that we do have in our lives.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


For me, Christmas is the happiest time of the year. You get to see family and catch up with news you missed out on for a year. You can visit friends, hangout and party. Let us not forget the gift giving...finding the ideal present for the people who are closest to you. Don't even get me started on the food; curl up your toe goodness. In Jamaica it is traditional to have ham, fruit cake, and sorrel. But we can add so much more to that list, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, beef, chicken, smoked chicken, manish water, rice and peas, candied sweet potatoes, raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, ... let me stop, I'm getting hungry as I type. Another thing that I love to do is to go through my wardrobe and give away clothes that I haven't worn for awhile to the Salvation Army and I drop money (not coins) in their "pots" at the supermarket. Christmas really is a wonderful time of the year.

What I don't understand is the use of the word Xmas. Have we gotten so bad that we cannot say Christmas anymore. I understand and I am sympathetic to others who aren't Christians or for persons who do not celebrate Christmas but I believe that if you will be involved in the celebrations then you should call it what it is. So at no point there should be the use of the word Xmas. I'm good with Happy Holidays. Seasons Greetings is fine. It's just, Xmas annoys me. The group of people that I find use this word the most are business people. My take on it is, if you are going to make a profit on Christmas, then by all means call it Christmas.

I find that we, and by we I mean consumers, allow these companies to get away with this foolishness. They have preyed upon us for getting the perfect gift for our loved ones that now this period of time is more about the gift than it is about family gatherings, going to church, etc. We as consumers complain that Christmas has become commercial and yet we still make a mad rush for what we are told are the perfect gifts during this period. We are the ones who are fueling this fire.

Now, don't get me wrong. It is fun to give gifts to our love ones. But it shouldn't be that on Christmas Adam (December 23) and on Christmas Eve we are out in the middle of the night trying to buy gifts. What we should be buying is supplies because you will be spending the day with your family. You should be buying groceries, ingredients for the Christmas dinner, toiletries (because you may have unexpected guests), and so forth. When did Christmas become a time period of such stress?

What values are we teaching our children? Must you always get a present for Xmas? What happened to the hand made card? What happened to baking or cooking something for someone else? I love gifts, but I wouldn't feel comfortable knowing that someone else had to be out late at night trying to get that gift for me. I would rather they give me at another time, than to cause them so much stress. If they are really your loved ones, you wouldn't want to cause them harm(or in this case, stress.) Isn't it better for you and your love ones to celebrate your family, catch up on what you have missed out on, and just be a family?

I think that we are just buying a gift for just buying a gift sake and not assessing your loved ones and seeing what it is that would make them happy. I know of some people who give a pair of socks to the same people every year. If that is the case, don't give them a gift. It is obvious you aren't taking the time to get something for that person. You are just giving something for giving something sake. And other people who do similar things, should stop doing that. Take the time and get something meaningful.

At some point, we lost our focus. At some point, we thought it was fine to take the Christ out of Christmas and make it Xmas. Shouldn't we use December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? Shouldn't we use Christmas to keep in touch with family members? Why have we strayed so far?

The only way we can get back our Christmas is to stop entertaining corporations with these last minute shopping. We are sending the wrong message to our children that they MUST receive a gift on Christmas day AND only the hottest commodities are good enough to be presents. After jumping hurdles to give our children these gifts we are the same ones who complain that children have no values. Let us take back Christmas people! Challenge yourself this Christmas (or maybe next year) and make a hand made gift for at least one person in your life or donate to some charity. Think of this time to make a difference in this world and not just as the time to get something. Let us put back the power in our hands and make it Christmas again.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

... Why Sex Is Such A Taboo?

This is a topic that I could never understand why it was so difficult to talk about. To this day when I even say the word itself in conversation I receive a few raised eyebrows. I have been in existence for a short period of time on this planet, but I do not see why having a conversation with other adults about sex is such a sensitive topic.

The biggest thing for me with this topic is that by not speaking about it, or by making it a taboo, our young people are engaging in sex with little knowledge available to them. This is not about implying that there is a direct relationship between a lack of communication and a high instance of young people (teenagers) having sex. However, we must take into consideration the effects of a lack of communication. A.K.A. we don't really talk about sex with our young people and in turn they use the little they know and conduct sexual activities. The little that they know usually steers them in the wrong direction and so help them to make decisions that they may not have if they had more information available to them.

One of the things that annoys me the most in regards to sex and our young people is when adults preach abstinence. I propose that the easiest way to make a teenager interested in something is to deny them. By making the topic of sex taboo, it will only make them more curious about it. By preaching abstinence we make them more likely to engage in sexual activities.

While at the prestigious Wolmer's High School for Girls' my main motivation to preserve my chastity were those public posters provided to guidance counsellors from the Government of Jamaica. I'm not sure about you guys, but a poster like that discourages intercourse without saying "abstain." My take away from those posters were that, if I were to have sex, it wouldn't be in the dark. I'm not sure about other cultures but in Jamaica there are still persons who believe that having sex with virgins will cure their various STDs. Imagine contracting a STD from a partner who you believe was disease free. No, that hasn't happened to me, nor do I know anyone in my circles who this has happened to, but the sad truth is, it happens. And one of the ways these "gentlemen" deceive these young ladies is to encourage them to have sex in the dark. I'm not sure how true this story is, but I heard of two young ladies who were virgins until they were about 35 years and each got AIDS; well they both contracted HIV and one went full blown AIDS. They contracted it on their first time...OMG!

I think we need to go further with the discussion on STDs. Sadly our young people do not think that they can be infected with STDs, and worse yet, they believe the only STD that is out there is AIDS. I have heard young people saying that "oral sex isn't sex." This statement was made because AIDS is not likely to be contracted during oral contact. They weren't thinking of the how many other STDs that you can contract through oral contact.

Further to this discussion is when our young people conduct sexual acts in places that are not usually places that adults would even consider a safe or "good" place to conduct sexual acts. When I was in high school I heard of couples choosing to have sex on the school premises, in the church, and other inappropriate places. While at the University of the West Indies there was a video that went viral. It depicted a young lady in third form (that's about ninth grade) providing oral pleasure to another high school student. This act was conducted in the bathroom in our National stadium. It was called "the bluetooth special"; named for how the video went viral. My initial reaction to this video was "At the stadium bathroom!" Then I was overwhelmed with disgust from the mere fact that these young people had chosen that bathroom and the fact that they were so young. My next thought was, this young lady is quite proficient at giving "head." Which meant she had been doing it for sometime. I'm just assuming but wouldn't it have been best that she was told of the dangers of oral sex before she started having sex. And wouldn't it have been prudent that when she began to have sex, she wouldn't have been frowned upon and so would have chosen a safe place to have sex; maybe even a place that was sanctioned by her parents? Worst yet, she would have been told that there is a possibility that videotaping such an event could end up in the hands of people who she didn't want to have it or see it.

The best weapon that adults and parents have in their arsenal to prevent young people from having sex is shaming them. We use shaming to further propel this agenda to prevent them from having sex. This weapon has prevented young people from: purchasing condoms; discussing the topic and their experiences; and for some, enjoying the act itself. About a year ago I was watching a television program called "1000 Ways To Die" on Spike TV and there was a married Asian couple that did not consummate their marriage for seven years because apparently it is also a taboo in their country. Every time they tried to do the act, they got panic attacks. As you would have guessed based on the title of the TV series they each died from a heart attack at the point of orgasm when they finally gained the courage to engage in the act. Because they hadn't had sex in, like forever, their poor little hearts couldn't manage the excitement and gave way. When I first saw this "way to die" I was so upset. This young couple were so shamed into believing that sex was bad to the point that when it was totally ok for them to do so, they couldn't. They were legally, spiritually, emotionally and morally obligated to have sex and couldn't. And the sad thing is, they were only able to have sex once in their life.

I say give our young people the real facts about sex. Talk to them about the good and the bad, the highs and the lows of sex. Why not properly educate our young people so that they can make an informed decision? If they say they want to have sex, talk to them about it, and if they still want to, talk to them about the safe ways they can do so. When a teenager asks for condoms or if you find condoms on them, as an adult we shouldn't berate our young people, we should be happy that they have made the decision to be safe. The sad truth is, no matter how hard you prevent teenagers from having sex, once they have made up their minds to do so, they will. Have you ever heard, "when there is a will there is a way?" My mother told me a story about when she was young, there was a young lady in her neighbourhood who had sex through the grill on her verandah because she wanted to have sex and her parents locked her up in the house to prevent her from doing so. So she found a way through the grill, in the open, for all to see. And worst yet, this young lady more than likely was having unprotected sex and putting herself at risk for STDs and/or pregnancy.

I find it very strange that when young people do well, adults are always quick to take credit for their accomplishments but when young people do "bad" it is the fault of the young person and has nothing to do with any of the adults in their life. This is an arcane way of looking at things. Shouldn't we be assessing why this "bad" thing had occurred and how we can prevent it from happening the next time around? I think the fear is that if we start to talk to young people about sex and give them ALL the details it will encourage them to have sex. I propose that whether we talk to them, yes or no, they are going to have sex. Isn't it better to then educate them on the do's and the don'ts, on the right way and the wrong way, so that we end up with less instances of "babies having babies" and take a stab at reducing the instances of STDs in our country and ultimately the world? I was reading an article about two 30 year old grandparents on Yahoo! several weeks ago. As I read this article, my first thoughts were, but I'm 33 years old and I cannot fathom being a grand parent and these two young adults were younger than I am and already have grand kids! Apparently they became parents at age 14 and their child had her child at about age 14 or 15 as well. I am still in awe by the article.

As a side note, I do not like it when adults frown upon young people when they have children. It gets worst when they are shunned for something that they were not properly educated about. Most parents and adults simply say don't have sex. As a society, we must go further than that. We must make it a mission to have proper conversations on the topic without snickering or raising our eyebrows. It is obvious that the traditional approach is not working, so we must do something dramatically different for this "problem." In addition, when these babies come into the world they are treated with contempt and disgust because the adult is upset with the baby's parent(s). I'm no psychiatrist but I assume those children then grow up to be more likely to commit crimes and indulge in deviant behaviour because they didn't feel loved when growing up. A young lady told me that when she got pregnant her mother sent her away to another country because her mother didn't want her friends to know that her daughter was pregnant. Further to that, the young lady fell from grace in the eyes of her mother and now her mother makes statements around the five year old that I believe are in appropriate. But the child' s grandmother is so upset with his mother that she continues to re-enforce how upset she is with her daughter and she still makes these statements to prove how disappointed she is with her daughter. Even further, this young lady is continually compared to her brother, who started having children much later in life. All this leads to is that this child might just grow up thinking that his grandmother does not love him. I'm sure he feels the tension between the two main women in his life. He may grow up not truly loving his own grandmother and might not respect his mother due to the statements his grandmother makes about her. We in Jamaica like to use a term called "washing your mouth" which is simply making a statement or an assumption that might just come to reality. So, as I write these words I can hear some Jamaicans saying "don't wash your mouth on this pickney." We don't want to think about it, but it could happen. This little boy could grow up to be a deviant all because his grandmother is disappointed that his mother made a mistake or was not really informed about sex. In the end, do not blame the child for the parents' indiscretion. Love that child.

Back to the topic at hand. I was speaking with another young person. The administration at his school decided to have a health fair on its premises. One of the booths at the fair discussed with these young people: the proper way to put on a condom on an erect penis; they were giving away free condoms; and conducting free AIDS tests. This young man is from a strongly religious family and was afraid to go to the booth or worst yet get any of the condoms. When I asked him what was his reason for not getting any of the condoms he told me that he was afraid that his grandmother would see the condoms and assume that he was having sex. I just want to say how much I admire this young man because he has made the decision to refrain from having sex. I was however disappointed that this young man was so terrified to get condoms, that the likelihood is that his first time would be without protection. There were other young people who didn't want to go to the health fair claiming that they wouldn't need an AIDS test because they aren't having sex or they are having safe sex, but the truth is you can contract AIDS other than through sexual contact. You can get it through a bad blood transfusion or through open cuts and so on. As a young person, sexually active or not, in my opinion it is important to get an AIDS test. Personally, even before I started having sex, I had STD tests, just because you never know. I was always a rebel and so it didn't matter to me what adults would say. As a matter of fact it didn't matter what anyone said about me. I wanted to get tested, it didn't matter if you wanted to raise your eyebrow at me yes or no. I believed, and still believe, as a young woman, periodically I should know what is my status.

The next big issue that I want to tackle is sex before marriage. Is sex before marriage really a bad thing? Personally I do not believe there is anything wrong with waiting until you get married. My concern arises when adults tell young people to wait until they get married but then don't provide any guidelines on how to accomplish said task. To me it made no sense. What made things worst was that the adults who said "wait until you are married", never waited until they were married. I was on the path to "wait" and then when I really thought about it, I made the decision to begin before I was married. Simply because I didn't want to be stuck with a partner who couldn't perform. But I had that opportunity to make my own decision. I think we should allow our young people to do the same; as in making their own choices, not necessarily starting to have sex before marriage.

Sex education class is only a small part of what we should be teaching our young people. Firstly, it should be taught at the prep and primary schools. By the time this class is taught in high school, more than 50% of the students are already involved in some type of sexual act. Secondly, because the sex ed class is introduced so late you find that the students who are conducting sexual acts, they were educated by movies with strong sexual content or by porn movies. So what we find is that we have a lot of young people who think they know and understand what sex is when they really don't. And they really mistake having sex with making love. Brian McKnight has a song, I believe it is called "let me tell you about your pussy." We laugh at this song but the sad truth is that there are many women out there who don't really know about their vagina. I have had conversations with woman over 20 years of age who don't know what an orgasm is and they have had sex many times. This happens because these women are too afraid to talk about sex with other women, or worst yet, with their partner. Young people also teach other young people the little they know. I once overheard a conversation with young people that were no more than 15 years of age. The statement that horrified me the most was, "you haven't lived till you tried it!" That was a statement from one young lady to another encouraging her to engage in a little girl on girl action. It wasn't the girl on girl action that horrified me, it was the fact that one girl was such an "expert" that she could usher in another person into the fold.

I was watching The Family That Prays the other day, and the line that caught me was "I am not the only influence in my child's life." It was significant because it was obviously true. But as obvious as it is, adults still do not see it. Instead of talking about sex properly with their children, they prefer to sweep it under the rug. And somehow young people are to guide themselves and make the right choices because their parents gave them some absolutes to follow. I am very candid and open about the topic. I think it is important to be. Most parents want to think of their offspring as a child for as long as possible. If we fail to talk about this topic with our children as soon as possible, we risk other influences such as porn and other children educating your child about sex. If we can't allow our offspring to talk freely about the topic, you find that they engage in risky behaviour and make faulty decisions. I can only hope that when it is my time to talk to my children I can love them enough to be strong to talk to them early and be candid and open about the topic. I hope that I can love them enough to set aside my previous conditioning and be brave enough to allow them to talk to me about anything about sex.

In the end I envision a world where adults can educate young people about all aspects of sex: the sexual organs; STDs; oral sex; intercourse; having sex vs making love; the real consequences of getting pregnant; the pleasures of sex; the down falls of having sex; orgasms; and so much more. I believe if we can have proper conversations with young people on this topic, they will be able to make an informed decision. I don't think we should make it seem like it is ok to have sex, but certainly it must be an approachable topic. We should equip our young people with a strong sense of will and practical information on sex, and I'm sure adults will be surprised to see what happens. I also think that we should start talking to children from about 8 years of age about sex, maybe even earlier. If our young people need to get condoms, make it available to them. If they need to get a STD test, carry them to get it done. If they get pregnant, provide the support they need to help them through that stressful time. As adults we want our young people to make adult decisions, but fail to give them the opportunity to behave like adults. I just don't understand why we treat our young people like children and them blame them when they behave as such?

Friday, 28 September 2012

...Gay Bashing

So this is my first post and I'm starting with a controversial topic. While growing up, I've always heard of people bashing gays and condemning their lifestyle. I really don't understand what is the big deal? Just so that we are clear, I'm not gay but I see no reason to condemn their lifestyle.

I am a Jamaican and very proud of that, but the fact is, some of my fellow countrymen do not care to hear this argument. My country is known as anti-gay, prejudice, murderous, and inflexible as it relate to this topic. In my opinion however, there is no need for all of that hostility. Why is it that one group of human beings are advocating for the death of another group human beings? What is really the issue? Is it that we do not like what they do in the privacy of their home or wherever they decide to have sex? Outside of the sexual act itself, how are gays different from heterosexuals? I propose that there is no difference.

I would have a problem if they were having sex on the streets for all to see. But guess what, I would also have a problem if heterosexuals were having sex on the streets. I would have a problem if they were trying to influence my child to have gay sexual encounters. But guess what, I would also have a problem with heteroes who were trying to influence my child to have sex. I must admit, that I do not like being hit on by lesbians. But then again, I do not like being hit on by men that I do not think are up to my standards. And when it comes to rape, cross gender or not, I am totally against it. If it is unwelcome sexual contact, it is unwelcome, that is it. So again I propose that there really is no difference in behaviors.

Don't we think we are over sensationalizing this topic? It has got to the point that spreading a rumour that someone is gay, can potentially ruin that person's professional and personal life. All because someone disagrees with who they may or may not have had sex with? Again I ask, what is the real issue?

Then, I get to understand that there are those persons who have taken it upon themselves to have camps to "cure" persons of their "gay sickness." That is beyond ridiculous! Is there a cure for being black? Is there a cure for being West Indian? Is there a cure for being a woman? Is there a cure for being different? I assume it would be like denying yourself chocolate; at some point you will cave and over indulge. What is the point? When you think about it, isn't it that individual's right to do what they want with their life? Aren't we responsible for charting our own path? There can be guides to help us along the way but in the end, can't an individual make up their own mind as to what they believe is their sexual orientation?

I have also heard of persons advocating against gays in the name of saving their souls. But who is really responsible for saving another's soul? Again, I believe that we can guide others, but really each person is responsible for their own soul and salvation. By advocating the death of gays, aren't you also placing your own soul in jeopardy. Why jeopardize your own soul because of someone else's actions?

This epidemic of irrational behaviour is only a reflection on the faults with our species. We are doomed to forever prejudice against a group of people that are different from ourselves. Throughout history there are so many instances where a group has been alienated: poor people vs the rich; Chinese vs Americans; blacks vs whites; women vs men; Caribbean Indians vs Spaniards; Native American Indians vs Pilgrims; Natzis vs the Jews; and so many more. We have all suffered from some form of discrimination, and so, shouldn't we stop the wave of hate and exclusion? Since we have all experienced it in some form or the other, why would we want someone else to feel how we felt at that point?

You will often find me saying that I am happy when and where I was born. As a young black English speaking Caribbean woman, these times are filled with enthusiasm and opportunities. In the past I would have been a slave referred to as a cow. As a woman I wouldn't have any control over the direction of my life. Thanks to strong black people, strong women, and strong white people, I am now able to choose my own path. I am able to make my own mistakes, make my own opportunities, and be my own master. I cannot then turn around and look at another group of humans and say, don't make your own mistakes, don't make your own opportunities, and don't be the master of your own life. I think it is unfair and unjust to do so.

Gays have fought long and hard to let their voices be heard. They have told the world that they are not anomalies, there is nothing wrong with them, that they are to be accepted in society and that they have rights much like any one else (the right to have sex without going to jail; the right to get married; the right to have children; etc.) I propose that they should have a right to the same standards as heteroes.

My problem arises when heteroes are barred from doing things because of gays. If we are speaking about equal rights, then it should be equal rights. No one group should have an advantage. I remember an incident where a popular Jamaican hotel decided to advertise them self as heterosexual couples only and the gay community bashed the owners of the hotel stating that they shouldn't be excluded. I propose that there are many hotels that specialize in various things. There are hotels that say singles only or couples only. There are hotels that are built for sports enthusiasts versus those who only want to lay back and relax. There are also clubs and places that are gays only. So my question is, why can't there be a business place that specialize in taking care of heterosexuals only? I do not think that it is fair to prevent a business from choosing a niche market.

The thing I really don't understand most is when parents disown their children because they came out of the closet. Isn't your child's happiness more important than your pride? I have recently become a mother myself, and at this point in my life I don't see myself disowning my child if she tells me she's a lesbian. I will admit that I might be uncomfortable at first - hey I don't know any lesbians so I wouldn't know what to say or how to act - but that doesn't mean I would disown her. She is of my flesh; I carried her for nine months and I love her every day. If she makes a decision to do something that I do not agree with, that does not mean that she is longer my child! It doesn't negate the nine months or the how many years that I have cared for and loved her! It just means she was brave enough to make a decision to tell me.

That leads to the one thing that really bothers me about this gay bashing issue. Some gay people are so afraid to come out of the closet due to gay bashing or the "shaming" of their family that they pretend that they are straight, marry some poor unsuspecting heterosexual woman, waste her youth and when they are in their fifties or so, come out of the closet. No, this has not happened to me personally nor do I have a person in my circles that this has happened to, but the mere thought of it upsets me. It isn't right for a woman to fall in love with a man and marry him, to then hear twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty years later that he is gay. Gays should be free to declare who they are without any possibility of discrimination so that women can have a fair chance at happiness and to truly get their happily ever after.

At the end of the day, I do not think we have a right to tell consenting adults who they should have sex with. We shouldn't be advocating for one sin to mitigate against another sin. We should allow gays the freedom to declare who they are with no fear of discrimination. Let them be free to come out of the closet and elevate them self from the down low so that other peoples' lives are not ruined. And if you are worried about their afterlife, remember that we are ALL judged by our actions when we go to the other side.