Can You Feel It?

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So, I can’t believe I’m writing a review on a singing competition because I can’t stand singing competitions. Well, not anymore. I used to be all up in that, voting for my favourites and all but now? Meh! What turned me sour? They just got boring. Why? One simple reason.

I’ve seen it all before, or rather I’ve heard it all before.

So this is not going to be your typical review of The Voice from this Monday night. Because I’m only going to talk about the way I remembered the singers, which means half of them won’t have names. *twiddles thumbs* Yes, I could just visit the website but that would defeat the purpose of the initial impression.

So first there was this woman, I really liked her cool short hair cut and she really involved the crowd but I can’t remember a word she sang.

Then there was this adorable young lady with bangs, the cutest thing, like a doll. I’m not even sure if she sang. I swear I looked down over my work and when I lifted my head back up she was gone.

Then there was this lady, orange dress I think. I’m not sure because she started well but I looked away again and the next thing I knew there was a crack in my water glass. What the…? She sure hit some notes on both ends of the register but I still can’t remember what she sang either. I was busy making a shrine for my favourite glass. -_-

The next dude I remember, well, other than because he was the only dude there, because of the hook in his song. “I’ve been saved by a woman”. I’m not sure if a song having a good hook counts as a win for the singer singing it but classic song none the less and his voice fit it so well, I felt at home listening to it. But wait, I was at home. Does that still count as a positive reaction?

At this point, I knew no names, was already forgetting the first set of singers that night and their songs and was ready to say “Whatever, The Voice, same shit, different show” but then it happened. The moment I used to wait for in singing competitions before that never came or when it did was once a season and left me feeling empty and telling these shows good-bye.

One person’s VOICE captured me. One person’s rendition I literally stopped what I was doing to pay attention to not because I wanted to stop (and I was really making it hard on them by being preoccupied) but because they seriously caught my attention and I had no other choice but to be drawn in and feel my gut involuntarily stir from emotion and memory that almost brought tears to my eyes, and who after they were finished I could still hear their VOICE playing in my head and remembered it after I walked away. For those of you wondering why I CAPS voice twice, figure it out.

Dani Moz - The Voice Season 6

Dani Moz – The Voice Season 6

For the rest, that person was Dani Moz who sang Lady Gaga’s, I’m on the Edge, a song I had completely forgotten about (maybe because the original was sort of forgettable too) but you know what, because of Dani Moz I am going to find that song. I might prefer Dani’s version better but still, I will give Lady G the benefit of the doubt.

So I am glad that I randomly stopped on Usher’s face and decided what the heck, even if the singing is over the top at least there’s some eye candy to make up for it, and watched The Voice tonight. Yes, The Voice, keep Usher. He makes people who hate singing competitions watch singing competitions!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do think the other contestants had incredibly strong voices and a great vocal range, and so did Dani Moz, but that was all they had. For all of you saying that’s all they need to get famous, you need to pay attention to some of the people making it big in the music industry today who don’t even have half the vocal range of ANY of these contestants. Having a bad-ass vocal range is not all you need. It’s what you do with your voice to make it memorable among all the other people who also have bad-ass vocal ranges that do.

Dani Moz made me pay attention when I didn’t want to! I wasn’t just tapping my foot to the beat I was listening to HER and feeling not just what she felt but what she wanted me to feel. You can hit the highest note and break the ceiling (and water glasses!) with it and still not capture someone’s heart. They might remember that you can sing but ask them what song you sang, what was their favourite part. If you didn’t capture their heart, you may just be one of those that end up being truly forgettable and no musician or artist wants that.

I have a Whitney Houston Greatest Hits DVD and NO I am not going to compare anybody to Whitney here! On the DVD though along with her videos are interviews with her talking about her life and one of the things she talks about is how she and her manager, Clive Davis, would go over songs they wanted to do and she said he would talk about a song having that ‘hook’. By that he didn’t just mean a catchy phrase that sticks in your head which most songs do have, Whitney says he would talk about that chill that would go up your spine when you heard it for the first time and even after you leave the room (to Google the singer’s name in my case) you still remember that hook and it could just be a way that the person uses their voice in the song, and Dani Moz did that.

And that is why I stopped watching singing competitions. Everybody on there can sing. I rarely saw one where there was a clear winner every season. Everybody is hitting back to back crazy notes and that in itself is what makes them so boring and so forgettable.

Oh, so you can hit a C6 note? And for 10 seconds! Wow, that’s great but so did she and so did he. You all might as well be singing clones! What sets you apart? And I know people get caught up with the big voices but other than being highly impressed, what did it make you feel? Did you connect on any other level other than amazement? Because you know what, I hope Dani wins but even if she doesn’t I’ll remember her and most likely so will a huge amount of other people just because of what she made them feel and an unforgettable performance is what makes a career.

dani _moz_season_6_the_voice

 

And this wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t tell you the results so Dani got in, so did my lady with the cool short-cut and my glass breaker (I have mixed feelings about that one :’( ) And since I am so horrible at names here’s a link to get a proper review. The Other Review!

But say what, they all can sing diamonds and deserve to win. What do I know? After all, critics may lie, right?

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

Sad Songs (Say So Much)

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Annyeong!

Why am I greeting you in Korean? Well, simply because I’ve really been getting into K-Pop music these days. Can’t get it out of my head. Good stuff.

I thought I would write today, which I apologise for not doing in who knows how long!!! Sorry!!! Joesonghabnida!!! But you all know me, if I have nothing to say, I don’t write. Silly me, right?

But a while back I saw a Yahoo article about a little boy crying over the song ‘Say Something’ by A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguillera. Now if anybody has ever heard this song which I am sure a lot of you have it is probably the saddest song EVER or at least a ten among tens on a scale of one to ten.

I mean, you just have to be hurting like hell to put those lyrics and that melody together. The video though, of the little boy that is, reminded me of when I was little. I was about his age actually and the song that moved me to tears whenever I heard it (which is also a ten on a scale of one to ten by the way) was ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey or ‘Ma-wy-ah’ as my little brother would call her. I wonder if he remembers what a crush he had on her back then?

Anyway, when I saw the video with little Jackson, tearing up over the song and read how people were marveling and doubting as to his level of profoundness it reminded me of that and I had to wonder. I am telling you, it is more than possible for a child that age and even earlier as shown by another clip I found with a mother singing to her baby to feel the power of emotion in music. Where there is lack in the understanding of the lyrics, the power of melody and the way the lyrics are sung can still reach someone as I am seeing listening to K-POP right now where the majority of the time, I know not what they say! But I can feel it.

And I have always been a fan of music that is not in my native (english, english-creole) tongue. Ever since I was little because it was apart of my country’s culture in the Caribbean and we grow up singing Spanish during Christmas, Miriam Makeba and African/Creole folk songs for Emancipation Day and hearing Hindi for Divali. No matter what ethnicity you are here the culture is all the same to everyone. So, I learned a long time ago that you don’t need to understand what the lyrics in a song means to ‘feel’ the meaning in it.

And I believe that is what this little boy was feeling when he listened to it and the interpretation of what he felt (when asked by mum and dad why he cries when he hears it) as and I quote: “The song says ‘I can’t get to you’ and it makes me sad that you and mommy won’t get to me when I’m crying.”

Awwwww. That’s raw emotion for yuh! And as his daddy says, you can’t teach that!

It was one of the earliest memories of my life, listening to the song Hero and only when I hear it, which I haven’t in years, does the feeling come back to me in this wave of memory. So let me see if I can remember the meaning I took from it because I swear I did not understand the actual lyrics then either. Wheys! Can’t remember the lyrics now…

I remember waiting for my mother to come home from work and the song came on the radio and I just missed her so much when I heard it and felt the same way if ever I heard it again after that. My older sisters were all, “Why are you crying?’ and I was all, ‘I miss mummy *sniff*’ and they were all like, ‘awwww’. I suppose I equated her absence with the song and the hope to see her again. 

And when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong.” Aha! I remember that part! That must have been the line that killed me!

So I have no trouble believing that Jackson really does feel this song, to his core, no matter the meaning he takes from it. Here are the videos for your viewing pleasure.

Jackson

Say Something – A Great Big World feat. C. Aguillera

Extra: Mom sings, baby gets emotional

And because I haven’t heard it in ages! Ma-wy-ah Carey’s Hero! ….. *sniff* I am NOT crying!

I swear…

download

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

The Game Made Me Do It

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Yes, I’m late with this as I always am but I prefer to think about things a bit before I say/write them and if that’s not fast paced enough for the world well then, too, bad.

So I read an article last week. Mostly I don’t pay attention to Miley and her shenanigans but Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to her peaked my interest. Sinead was no angel herself at the peak of her career but she seemed sincere in her praise and her warnings in the letter and as expected, at least by myself, Miley responded with classic young adult naivety and ignorance to the twisted-ness of the world. If someone took the time to pen a letter to me about something I was doing that through their experience they believed would cause me more harm than good, even if I didn’t agree with them, I would at least listen to them and respond with some level of civility. There was nothing threatening in Sinead’s letter and Miley showed her level of maturity to be very low indeed given her response.

But this is not about Mz. Cyrus, at least not directly. I have called her name far too many times already. This is about Gloria Steinem’s comment when asked what she thought about the whole situation with Miley, the video and the VMA’s, was it? And whether she thinks it has set back feminism. What the hell kinda question is that anyway? Geesh! :/ But she said ‘no’ and then elaborated and I quote as published by the HuffingtonPost:

I wish we didn’t have to be nude to be noticed … But given the game as it exists, women make decisions. For instance, the Miss America contest is in all of its states … the single greatest source of scholarship money for women in the United States. If a contest based only on appearance was the single greatest source of scholarship money for men, we would be saying, “This is why China wins.” You know? It’s ridiculous. But that’s the way the culture is. I think that we need to change the culture, not blame the people that are playing the only game that exists. – Gloria Steinem

Gloria, may I call you Gloria? I doubt you’re reading anyway but I agree with you. I wish women didn’t always have to be nude to be noticed, at least not the way they want to be. I’m sure every woman at some point in time has considered buttoning down that blouse just a bit more to get a second or even a first glance! And not only for superficial means but overall women who show more skin are in general paid more attention too which means people listen to them more, whether in business, in social circles, at work, it doesn’t matter. Crack that blouse, lift the hem of that skirt, tighten those jeans and it makes everyone’s eyes a beacon on you. People suddenly care what you have to say. The gals who keep it closed up are blatantly ignored.

Do I even need to mention the pageants? I’ve always said when they eliminate the swimsuit section and merit women on what they can do and not solely on what they look like I will support! Fully! But I guess it’s not called a beauty pageant for nothing. *flips imaginary long hair* Do they care that the message they are sending is, “Ladies, we don’t care if you’re talented enough to work for NASA, we won’t pay for you to further your studies unless you strip down into this teeny-weeny bikini. So if you want the chance, come on! And don’t forget to smile and like it!” Steups.

I do agree the key is to change the culture of the way women are viewed and have been viewed for centuries. Doesn’t give us much hope though does it if centuries have passed and we’re still struggling with this? :’(

However, that is where my agreement stops. What I do not and cannot agree with is the last phrase in that last sentence of yours. For want of a better expression but this was my actual reaction and is actually quite appropriate.

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The main problem that I have with it other than the attempt to let people like Miley off the hook from taking responsibility for their own actions as a fully aware and conscious human being. Ok, this is a big one too but let me focus. The main problem I have with this is the slight hint, whether purposefully or not I don’t know, of you making it seem like, she had no other choice?

Again, I say, say what? Forgive me but I thought women were pass playing the damsel in distress or the victim? I thought feminists were against that? I thought we were all for taking the reigns and forging our own paths and clearly the road for others to follow? You really expect me to believe that the record industry made her do it and that it’s the only way she can make money? Oh, poor Miley, cry me a river. When you begin to be conscious of what you are doing, you are no longer the victim but the cause of the problem and Miley has long passed that gate.

Photo from: http://peacefulones.blogspot.com/2013/01/its-my-fault-really.html

“I only did what they told me to do, so you can’t blame me!” Photo from: http://peacefulones.blogspot.com/2013/01/its-my-fault-really.html

Most of the people who are apart of the system are apart of the problem and the very fact that Miley is an ADULT!!!! means that she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing even if she doesn’t want to admit it. I know some people have it hard and have to do some crazy things to survive but Miley Cyrus is NOT one of those people. She is actually one of the few people who were fortunate enough to have more than enough opportunity and support to choose differently how she went about her path of success.

So, I’m sorry Gloria Steinem I TOTALLY agree that we need to change the culture and that that change is what will solve the problem but the culture can only be changed when the persons participating stop PARTICIPATING, just as much as the people promoting it because by participating they have now become themselves promoters of the same said thing! Am I making sense? The system only continues because there are people willing to follow it for the sake of… money? Art? Entertainment? And that goes for everybody who’s playing the same ‘game’ Miley is playing. Please note, I have nothing against her personally.

And furthermore, ‘playing the only game that exists?‘ Since when is twerking for your dinner the only game that exists? Did you grind and gyrate naked to get to the respected position as an activist, a writer and a journalist that you are today?

I don’t assume to know your life or what you did or didn’t do. I did read that you had a stint as a Playboy Bunny once upon a time. Times were hard, yes, you were ‘playing the only game that exists’ as you put it. However, did you win any awards for that though? Get national recognition for it, maybe? Because I believe the work that you did as a writer and as an activist did get you awards and recognition. So, you are clearly not playing in this ‘game’ you refer to. You made your own path like so many women before you and after you and now women have more choices because of women like you who chose not to play by those rules.

I feel like I’m going around in circles here but I need to make my point clearly being that I know you know what you’re talking about. You know it! You’ve lived it! It was a wierd question anyway but don’t try to dismiss these actions by laying the blame elsewhere. I feel that as women we have come too far for that. We have to reach a point where we take some responsibility for the centuries still in mental bondage.

Miley chose this, it was not forced on her. There are many artists who are incredibly successful and manage to be noticed without getting nude so Miley can do it too. Do not excuse her by making it seem as if she’s not to blame for her own actions.

I think Annie Lennox really hit the nail on the head. I for one encourage every woman to embrace their sexiness in their own way, I even wrote a post on it here. Our sexuality is an important part of all of us but it is not THE most important part of us which is what it has been distorted into.

On reflection I will say that sexuality is an inherent and profound part of life. There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ about our sexuality or sensuality per se – But if a performing artist has an audience of impressionable young fans and they want to present a soft porn video or highly sexualised live performance, then it needs to qualify as such and be X rated for adults only. … Is it appropriate for seven year olds to be thrusting their pelvises like pole dancers? I really don’t think so. – Annie Lennox

Neither do I. You can read both Steinem’s and Lennox’s full comments on the link below to the Yahoo article.

Gloria Steinem responds to Mileygate

My admiration for you has not ceased in the least Gloria. I am a hopeless hope-aholic like you and see a bright future where women don’t feel the need to submit to being half-naked to have a successful career, where they take responsibilities for their actions and don’t try to pass the blame and their fellowmen don’t chastise them relentlessly for their mistakes and where they regularly twerk into the midnight hours for the fun of it with good friends and not for the monetary gain of the ogling eyes and pleasure of the male masses. In my dreams Miley is one of these fortunate women.

As always everyone, decide for yourselves because remember, critics may lie.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

Interesting article:

What women Miley’s Age think about her

The Courage To Follow Through

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This is part three of a three-part series now called ‘Living Your Dreams’. If you haven’t read parts one and two already you can find part one “What the Heart Wants” all the way from November 2012 here and part two “Listening To Yourself” from earlier this year here.

So many times I’ve sat down to write the last part of this series but I always ended up doing something else. I’ve realised now that it was because I wasn’t ready to convey exactly what I wanted to say because I hadn’t fully felt or understood it yet.

This third part is about courage. The courage not to just go looking for your dreams and to find them but to then grab hold of them with both hands and let them take you wherever you dream they can go. And that is a monumentally scary thing. To let go, to really and truly release yourself into something without really knowing how it will fare. This is different. This I’ve only ever felt once before and it scared the hell out of me then too!

Now, although writing is the one thing that I would give up everything else for, I’ve been writing stories since I was maybe seven or eight and it is like breath to me. However, I do not want to make it into something that dictates the acquiring of my ‘daily bread’. It is something that I wish to let out into the world on my own terms.

So, I chose one of my other dreams to pursue in this manner instead, which is almost as dear but, as I said in part two, does not conflict with acquiring the first dream, and after working on it for about a year and a half now I most recently received an offer to take my work in this area to the next level. Doing this could very well open some very important doors for me and my business and take me to the place I want to be in.

However, I am not as ecstatic as I should be. I was when I got the news but now… I’m confused with my reaction. This is what I wanted! It is! But parts of me won’t get on board! Now this here is where the courage comes in. You may think that after you pin point your dream and really listen to yourself that the hardest part after that is to find the opportunities. Yes, that is a tricky part, walking down the path and figuring out which way to turn but the hardest part is that first step down the path and without it, you’re not going anywhere.

firststep

But remember I wanted to be a psychologist at one time, and for good reason. I’m a born analyst, and I like to talk to myself and myself is also a very good listener. Hope that doesn’t sound absolutely crazy but I ventured again into my subconsciousness because I needed to understand this. The last thing I wanted was to stand in my own way!

What was this about?

For me, it isn’t just a fear of failure. I am one of the few people that I know that just happens to be good at everything that I try. Swimming being the exception. :( Yes, people love to hate me but they also love me because I’m honest and helpful and genuinely want to see others succeed as well as I do. I believe more than anything that if I can do something so can you and I don’t mind telling you how I went about it at all. You would think that this habit of ‘success’ would make me fear failure but it’s actually the exact opposite. I’ve always also had a laissez faire attitude. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just try something else. I guess my propensity to ‘succeed’ was actually a result of this same attitude. While others were fretting and worrying, I was relaxing my mind. Nothing was ever that big a deal for me to hyperventilate over.

Now I purposefully put the word ‘success’ in brackets before because one man’s idea of success is different than another’s. Which is exactly my point. Could it possibly be that this thing that I have a chance to succeed in isn’t some idle goal that society had placed on me, like ‘go to school, finish exams, get a job, buy a car!’ This was something that I had chosen for myself so whereas before failure was not important because I didn’t see the goal as important, suddenly the idea of failure has become very important now, almost as important as the goal itself, because of how much I want it!

I’ve also never had everything that I wanted. I’m the youngest girl in my family with three girls before me so hand-me-downs was the story of my life! Even as an adult I find it hard to get something new just for the sake of having something new when the old one will do just fine. So, I’ve gotten used to denying myself of things, even when I want it I justify in myself that I don’t really need it.

Maybe I’m surprised that everything that I want would just fit together, and so suddenly! I guess Marianne Williamson‘s words were right all along. Our deepest fear really isn’t that we are inadequate. Inadequacy is the norm, succeeding and having all our dreams coming true, realising that we are powerful beyond measure is what truly frightens us. And more and more I’m seeing that it is true.

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world – Marianne Williamson

Originally I had planned to end this series with a conversation I had with a friend one evening. Like me, he had an opportunity staring him in the face and fear was rearing it’s ugly head and me, the Mistress of Motivation, was telling him all the reasons why he shouldn’t let fear get the better of him. But in short, he was afraid that his plans wouldn’t work and he would be left in a dark place. A place he had been in before and didn’t want to go back to. I know that place as well.

In the end I left him with two things.

A wise person does what they will be happy with later on” – Joyce Meyer

At the end of the day this is about being happy and content and building the life that you want to live and though you might be scared or unsure now, if something is on your heart to do or an opportunity lays before you to fulfill your dream that will make you happy in the long run or ‘later on‘ then you owe it to yourself to try. To try and have faith that you will succeed and that IF you fail, to trust that nothing will stop you from trying again, and once you decide that, the universe will work in your favour and bring another opportunity to you. The powers that be can’t help you when you give up. Positive attracts positive and vise versa.

The second thing I told him was this.

To truly be an adult means not even to lean on excuses – Unknown

He kept saying all the reasons why he couldn’t and listing all his responsibilities but he needed to understand that he was the only person that could make himself happy and create the life he wanted and saying all the reasons why he couldn’t wasn’t helping anyone, least of all him. Sometimes we just need to shut up and do it! Do It Afraid!

Both these quotes I heard when I was in my teens and I’ve always carried them in my heart. I’ve hung them up on walls, jotted them down in books and passed them onto friends. But now that I’m faced with the same dream-making opportunity, now that I really understand what my friend was feeling like and I’m faced with taking my own advise, I could quote a hundred and one sayings about courage but at the end of the day you and I will still be left standing on the edge of that cliff facing the ominous bottom.

If you’re here, if you’ve reached this point like me, ready to take that first step onto the path of your creation out there in the wild of the world that you had entered with me back in part one, I want you to do something with me again now. I want you to take your eyes off the shear depth over the cliff below you and raise them to the endless sky above you, which holds yours and my possibilities. Focus on that, face it, tell yourself that you deserve to have the chance to fulfill your dreams, challenge yourself and I want you to jump with me off that cliff and believe with all your heart that you’ll either grow wings or find a pair waiting for you when you hit the ground. Either way we’re going to fly!

rockets

This concludes the three-part series ‘Living Your Dreams’. Thanks for being so patient with me as I sorted out my thoughts over the past, almost a year now was it? And remember, critics may lie, so don’t let them upset you.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

6 Steps to Beating those Monday Blues

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So, you’re sitting there and watching the clock tick closer and closer to the dreaded day when you have to involuntarily go back to the ‘everyday work grind’ as they call it. For those of you who truly love your job, Hoorah for you, this is for the rest of us.

If you’re feeling like this….

….it’s time to get you feeling like this!

Because, I don’t know about you but I don’t like the fact that a DAY can change my whole mood but you know what I hate even more, being like everyone else. I admit it. Everybody hates Monday, I think I might just start liking it! I mean what’s wrong with the day really? (Don’t answer that…)

So, in an effort to try to get myself up in a good mood tomorrow I’m going to try several tactics which I will share with you.

#1: Listen to a great song.

And not just any song, I mean one of those songs that just make you want to get up and dance and then do it, get up and dance, sing at the top of your lungs, breathe deep and let that music be like therapy to your soul to start your day right. You can even put it as your alarm ring so you don’t wake up all crazy like I do and instead get up like this! :D

Happy-Monday-Swagger

#2: Put on a snazzy outfit!

I always try to wear something I really like on Monday! You get a little more enthusiastic about leaving the house when you’re stepping out in style. It doesn’t have to be a whole outfit. You can add a favourite scarf, a nice pair of earrings, that psychedelic tie you always wanted to wear, nice shoes, once it makes you feel extra special, it’ll work to lift your mood!

#3: Pray that someone else has a great day

Sending blessings and love to my family, friends and loved ones who are also going out that day into the world of Monday helps to make me feel a bit more fulfilled in my Monday duties. Hey, they have to deal with Monday too and you can take it a bit further if you have the time and call them personally to wish them a great day. Who knows it’s probably just what they needed to start Monday off right and it’ll warm your heart as well.

201107-orig-family-crank-calls-284x426

#4: Pretend it’s Friday.

I’m serious. Because I like to be different. :) I’m not too keen on Friday’s while everyone else is but I do have my reasons. I don’t necessarily get weekends off so Friday’s just another day to me but try tricking your brain and by that I mean just change your perspective. What would you do differently if it was Friday? You’d probably relax more during the day, go take a drink after work or go watch a movie. Why can’t you do those things on Monday too? We train our brains to automatically go into ‘I don’t wanna go to work tomorrow blues’ which we carry into Monday but the truth is you knew that you would’ve had to go back to work on Monday since last Friday evening and you KNOW that Friday will come again so… why not think like it’s Friday now and save yourself the anguish! Sense? Just work it in your favour!

#5: Laugh.

At jokes of course. Laughter gives you an instant mood lift. So! Subscribe to a daily joke feed. Have a morning ritual with the family where you each have to tell a joke at breakfast. Watch the news, sometimes they have a funny segment. Read the comics. Anything! Get those ‘haha’s’ and hehe’s’ rolling from as early as possible so by the time you get to work you are so unexpectedly light-hearted that you might just actually enjoy your day! :D!

bth_Happy-Monday

#6: Have a good breakfast. A grumbling stomach will seriously thwart any efforts you make to try to focus more on the brighter things in life.italian-breakfast-panini2

Got you hungry now, didn’t I?

Well, that’s what I do. And remember above all! It’s ONLY Monday, It’s OKAY! The world’s not going to end. Any suggestions on how you make your Monday blues go away?

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

The Key is Faith

travesaou:

I’m reblogging this post from May 2012. That time has come around again for my SEA lovlies to take the plunge and my thoughts are still as true now as they were then for them. Buenas Suerte darlings!

Originally posted on Critics May Lie:

I remember when I had to take my *SEA exams. I was fine up until the night before when it suddenly hit me that this was it. This wasn’t one of the million practice exams that the teachers had given us, all of which I failed by the way. I was always a very happy, chasing after fairies child. Nothing ever really bothered me. I didn’t know what I had or what I didn’t, so this was one of my first real introduction to the world moments.

I don’t remember exactly what I thought at the time. This was something I had to do by myself, no one could help me. My friends were going into the exam with me but I still had to answer the questions on my own. Growing up with four brothers and sisters and tons of cousins, this was the first time that I felt…

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Selective Compassion

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I’ve noticed something, and it’s not the first time. It’s been bothering me, so the first thing I thought to do was write about it.

It’s a… sensitive issue so I’m wondering how I can say it without offending people, as usual.

So I guess, as usual, I’ll just forget who it will offend (you can’t please everyone) and just write what’s on my heart.

It’s about the Boston Marathon bombing or RATHER it’s about tragedies like this and how I’ve noticed people, mainly the people around me, comment and deal with it.

Getty Image

Getty Image

So let’s see, the bombing in Boston was on the 15th of April 2013, right? Correct me if I’m wrong. I saw endless condolences, can’t count how man ‘my heart goes out to…’ statements I read on Twitter and on Facebook, heard on the street about how tragic the bombings were. I’m not even disputing that, it WAS. I saw the pictures.

However, on the 19th April 2013 soldiers attacked a village in South Sudan and killed one doctor, four nurses and one patient. Let’s see, that’s three people more dead than the bombing in Boston had but yet. Nothing. No heartfelt condolences not even a mention. Were these people not equally innocent, just going about their daily lives when suddenly tragedy hit them because of other circumstances going on in their country that they had no control over?

A bomb killed 27 people at a cafe in Baghdad on the 18th April 2013. So basically that’s a very similar scenario to Boston. A bomb went off in public, people died, more injured, just a different location, no one offered condolences on this tragedy either.

Yesterday, the 20th of April 2013, there was an earthquake in the south west of China that killed more than 180 people so far and scores more are still missing. Mountainsides were literally sheared off by the force of it and fell on whole villages. If I hadn’t bothered to sit down long enough to see the foreign news segment last night I wouldn’t have known about it at all but YET still when the Boston bombing occurred it was the FIRST thing on news that night! Even local news had to take a side.

Reuters

Reuters

A French family was released on Thursday, the 18th of April 2013, after being kidnapped by gunmen since February in Cameroon, three adults and four children. These people could have been found dead, as is many times the case, and who knows what tortures they may have endured at the hands of their captures. No words of joy, relief, happiness, nothing from my sources for these people.

Let’s not forget the blast at a Texan fertiliser plant on 17th April 2013 that killed 14 people and destroyed families homes. Again, no mention, no condolences, nothing.

So, tell me something, what exactly is going on here? Why the selective compassion to send prayers and condolences and feel pain over one tragedy but totally bypass the others? Is it that the others weren’t significant? Because I would say that out of all these listed the Boston Marathon had the least amount reported dead so ‘casualty’ numbers can’t determine the significance.

Is it the country that the tragedy originated in? I hope not! Because then that would actually be going against the meaning of ‘compassion’ to begin with! You can’t look at one person going through the same stress as another and say well, ‘I feel for you because I like you for whatever reason but I won’t feel for this other person because we’re not on good terms.’

I mean, you can say that but that’s not compassion, that’s not compassion AT ALL!

Love Compassion

Maybe it’s because we, in the Caribbean and frankly a vast majority of the world, are constantly subject to American TV so we will see their news more than others, it’s always in our face constantly, while other countries news won’t be as publicized. Is that it then? People didn’t know so they couldn’t offer their condolences? Some how I don’t totally believe that.

Or maybe it had nothing to do with what country it was in or the perceived significance, maybe it was just because it was THE Boston Marathon, a very publicized media event and therefore worthy of more coverage than ‘another’ bomb in Baghdad. Blah, blah, blah.

Whatever the reason, the lack of concern is absolute bullocks! We as a people get so caught up in disputes and drama (that frankly have nothing to do with us) and harbor feelings against one person or one place or one thing or another, that begins to make us too selective about the way we care about things. But we have to learn to just open our hearts and care, despite what we may believe or feel, that is true compassion.

Now I once heard somebody say, ‘if I treat everyone the same then I treat no one special.’ But that does not apply to compassion. The very nature of compassion refers to something that moves you in your soul or in your spirit to feel care for someone or something that you wouldn’t have necessarily felt anything for otherwise.

I doubt half, maybe more than that, of the people who gave condolences to the victims of the Boston bombing on the 15th were actually related to anyone there but still felt the need to show their support. So ask yourselves this, why don’t these other cases deserve my compassion too? I doubt that you’ll come up with a good answer.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

Listening To Yourself

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This is part two of a three-part series ‘Living Your Dreams’. If you haven’t read it already you can find part one “What the Heart Wants” here.

In part one I talked about the series of events that caused me to embark on the path of craziness that I am on now. Why call it craziness? Whether it’s because you have to be crazy to do it or walking the path itself makes you crazy, I can’t recall. Maybe it’s both. However after comparing it to my current work life which I’m slowly working on fazing into the background right now, it must be craziness. It makes my daily work routine seem so calm and albeit still monotonous and brain draining, NOT difficult at all but the point is, I’m here. Embracing the madness and learning how to work it in my favour. It takes some time to learn how to do that and I’m still learning but it first comes from listening to yourself and this takes practice so this part two will be a bit lengthy.

Now ‘yourself’ has a lot to say, and it’s mainly about you and how you feel about the things in your life. It can help you find the answer as to what your heart really wants. However, we’ve gotten so used to listening to other people and just blindly following systems that most times our inner selves becomes this tiny voice, muffled deep in our consciousness. The good thing is that if you ask it a question and really listen to what it has to say, you will get an honest answer. Whether you act on it, is a different story.

The answer is in the stillness pic @ http://silviakusada.wordpress.com

The answer is in the stillness pic @ http://silviakusada.wordpress.com

But right now let’s learn about how to listen to ourselves and most importantly learn how to trust that voice. So, find a quiet place. For people with young children or extremely busy schedules I know it can be a hard thing to do but this is something that you need to do for yourself. Take off your phone for a minute, sneak into a corner when the baby’s asleep, when you get home late at night forget all the things you have to do for a second just this once, get a notepad and pen in case you feel the need to jot anything down and just sit still in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deep.

Now, imagine you’re on a beach somewhere, at night. You can hear the waves crashing on the shore, you can feel the cool night air around you, the sky is clear above and filled with stars and just immerse yourself in this fantasy and just let your whole body, breath and mind relax. For a moment tell yourself, I don’t have to worry about ANYTHING right now. In these few moments it’s just you and yourself. Plenty of time to start back worrying after this session if you want to but for now just let all the fluff go and most importantly, try not to fall asleep.

And sure enough, behind all that fluff yourself will be waiting for you. I like to imagine myself walking up that cool night beach sand and sitting quietly next to… well, me. Now if that’s too schizo for you !! :) there’s no need to see it that way but when you feel that almost scary, spiralling calmness where it feels like you’re the only person in the world at that moment, that is when you know you’ve cleared your mind enough to hear your inner consciousness. Now at the time when I did this, I was 20 and actually still pursuing that Associates. I had done some research and found that many people can find their true calling in the things that they loved to do as children. So that was my first question to myself. What did you love to do when you were a child?

Slowly my mind started to flood with memories of sitting on the ground by my mother’s sewing machine, taking her scraps to make my dolly’s clothes, of singing karaoke with my sisters and making up dances in the drawing room, of winning every poetry or writing competition in school, of loving to read book after book then reading them over out loud and making up different voices for the characters while I did. I loved to play with paper and any craft item and to organize things and put them in their own special place. Albeit an OCD tendency, I found and still do find great pleasure in doing this.

I always loved paper. Whether reading, writing or for craft. Pic@ http://www.essentialkids.com.au

I always loved paper. Whether reading, writing or for craft. Pic@ http://www.essentialkids.com.au

You see the mind of a child is different. Adults are burdened with responsibility and expectations so they do what they do because they think that they have to do it and the need to survive and make something of yourself in the world grows heavier with each new year added onto our lives. Children don’t think like that. They don’t have to. Their minds are still open to the world as a new and exciting place, they don’t care to live up to any expectations because nobody expects anything of them but to be themselves. So, in short, they do what makes them happy. The task for us as adults then, because at the end of the day unlike children we do have to take care of ourselves and have others who are dependent on us as well, is to see how we can take these childhood loves and turn them into a sustainable career.

At first I was excited about working on translating these beloved childhood pastimes into bountiful adult careers! And then… life got in the way, as it always does. Any plan I had would take time and I still had to work to take care of myself.  Spending eight to nine hours on a job and at least three total in traffic getting there and back and then four to five more hours studying at school everyday doesn’t leave many daylight hours left or energy for that matter to do anything else. I found myself focusing more again on what someone else needed me to do than what I needed myself to do. Every plan seemed impossible and way too much to handle with all my other responsibilities. I found myself in a worse place where I knew what my heart wanted but I had no time to work towards making it happen.

I wasn’t getting anywhere. Not even with the things I had committed to. School was failing because I didn’t want to be there. I had chosen a job in an industry I had never been apart of before which was good, I had learned a lot but I was slowly getting sucked into the box of monotony because the company was done teaching me, now they just wanted me to do my job. And to top it off I had demands for my time at home to deal with.

So, I sat myself back down and talked to myself again. ‘We’ had to work this out because ‘we’ were going crazy. Please know that you won’t always hear the complete answer right away so you need to keep asking yourself questions. Really listening to the answers that come to you honestly and not brushing it off because you don’t want it to be true. Yourself will always tell you the truth whether you want to hear it our not! About you AND about the people in your life. You may not want to accept it but remember our inner man/woman reflects our deepest emotions and desires, things we feel without even knowing that we feel it because we hide it so well by fooling ourselves into believing otherwise.

At this point my mind got into a numbing tiredness. You know that exhausting feeling where you either shut your brain off or lose it? I found myself thinking, what if I just dropped everything? Stopped pursuing and doing and dreaming and wanting and hoping? What if I just gave up and slept forever? Back then I did love to sleep! Would sleep all day if you gave me the chance.

Well, what if I did? Yes, this was an actual question to myself.

My vivid imagination immediately placed myself in a hospital bed, paralyzed and unable to do anything that I wanted or didn’t want to do. With no option but to just lay still and watch the world pass by.

This wasn’t what I meant, self! But as usual, my consciousness was helping me sort out the fluff. Which is when the real question came, not from me but from some outer source seeing into me. The question that changed my perspective and unexpectedly cleared my mind in a way I didn’t think it would, with an answer that whenever I get confused I still go back to today.

In that imaginary moment, laying there on that bed, I heard the question, ‘If you were in this position, if you actually were here and God came down in a vision and said, “I’ll give you back your movement and enough time on this earth to accomplish one thing, ONLY one, and I promise you’ll succeed, but you can only choose ONE thing,” what would it be?’

Just one?! My mind started to race and I immediately started to whine, ‘but I love all my dreams!’ But my inner self knew what it was, and as I was getting better at this ‘listening’ thing, I stopped complaining when it told me to ‘shut up and listen!’ Well, what do you think it was? I’ve mentioned it several times in all my posts, the very fact that I have ‘posts’ is testament to it’s importance in my life, but for now let’s talk about you again.

So, in the end what do I suggest you do with this ‘waiting and listening’ time? First find that one thing that you want more than the others. Yes, I know I wanted to have it all and nothing’s to say that you can’t have it all but this is about being truthful to yourself. What is the thing that you want to accomplish more than anything FOR YOURSELF that if you could only do one thing in life you would choose that thing above all the others?

The one thing that feels like breath to you and you would do this thing without pay, motivation, praise, recognition or care from anyone else of it’s existence. The one thing that though it would break your heart to give up all you wanted to accomplish but once you succeeded in this ONE thing it would make up for everything else?

After I found that one thing this is what I did. I laid out everything I was pursuing in my life and I measured it accordingly.

If what I was pursuing would advance me towards succeeding at this one thing in the end, I went after it.

If it advanced me to one of my other dreams and didn’t interrupt my main dream, I kept it in my life.

But the moment something kept me away from my main dream or hindered it, I let it go.

And it was hard to let go of some of those things as I said in part one. School had to bite the dust because I spent all my time studying or doing projects in my free time for a degree I wasn’t going to pursue outside of school and frankly didn’t really care about anymore. Pursuing it never gave me the time to pursue what my heart wanted, and trying to do both wasn’t working AT ALL so as hard as it was I let it go and that comes from being honest with yourself.

ops

Now of course I’m talking about letting go of  things here not people. Sure there are some relationships that do more harm than good, those you should let go of but any dream that pushes your loved ones out of the picture in your life isn’t worth it either.

Looking at things from that perspective, as conflicted and confused as it felt sometimes, always helped to clarify things for me. By pinpointing that one thing that was non-negotiable, that I would give up all the other dreams to accomplish if, I repeat IF!!!!! ( God forbid :’( ) I had to, helped me realise what was important, what could wait and what was expendable?

It was hard and it still is but in the long run it actually left me feeling a lot more peaceful with what I accomplished because I knew that it was moving me closer to what I really wanted and not away from it. After this, slowly begin to explore the other things that make you happy as you find them through listening to yourself and remember to keep everything that you do as a step closer to that one major accomplishment that you value above all.

So in the final part of this series, I’ll be talking about courage, to let go and to stick to it. It is never easier when your heart isn’t into it so don’t settle, go for what your heart wants.

You can find part three ‘The Courage To Follow Through’ here.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

Photo Style and Sense-sibility

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I’ve been meaning to write about this for a long while and now and I’ve finally found the words to say it the way I want to.

First of all, this post is for all the people who aren’t photographers, who get told by people (photographers included) that they don’t have an artistic eye, JUST because they aren’t a photographer. Horseshit. I know, right? It makes no sense and is pure non-sense because it’s not sensible at all. If I don’t have a photographic eye, fine, but telling me I don’t have one because I’m not a photographer is a lame, stupid-ass reason.

The ‘photographic eye’, as it’s called, simply implies that someone can find the artistic elements in a setting and use those settings to frame and capture it in a still image that tells a story. (This definition is in my own words so I copyright it immediately! Ha!) The ONLY thing required to do that is an understanding of the asymmetry of art. Period. Not the workings of a high-tech camera or how to create lighting or the use of photo-shop or any of that ‘photo’ related stuff.

And guess what, I just happen to understand the asymmetry of art. So I guess I can have a photographic eye then! Ding, ding, ding! Yay! Art was one of my best subjects in school despite the fact that I wasn’t personally aware/encouraged enough to actually pursue it further but I’m working on fixing that now. So all you who have suffered under such criticism remember, critics may lie. You may not know how to calibrate the lens on a Sony or Nikon but that doesn’t change the fact that you can see the beauty with your natural eye, which is where it starts, with the ability to identify subtle lines and pull shapes out of sparse matter and pinpoint the blend of colours. Not everyone can see this, of course. Some people are just not artistically inclined at all, they have a different kind of intelligence that’s all, but you don’t need to be a certified photographer to know a good picture when you see it.

Matter of fact, hear it from a photographer herself, if you don’t believe me.

The Photographic “Eye”: Innate or Learned?

But enough of that, that was just something I had to get out. This post is also mainly about photographers whose work I admire and each for different reasons.

So, I’ll start with Jason Lee Jason Lee Photography

Copyright to Jason Lee Photography

Copyright to Jason Lee Photography

Many people know his work even if they didn’t realise it. He’s the dude with the cute daughters dressed like the Super Mario Brothers, swinging from the ceiling fans, lighting candles on each others heads and taping each other to the walls. The creative pictures he took of his daughters to keep his ailing mother in the loop with their lives spread like wild fire across the web a while back. I definitely love this photographers big imagination and with those two little cuties there’s a lot of ideas to go around. I can’t count the number of ideas I’ve had to do creative photos with my nieces and nephew like this as well. Looking at some of his other work on his website above I also love the way he uses lighting to zero in on a subject and not just capture but enhance the emotion in the picture.

Next on the list is Laura Ferreira Laura Ferreira Studios

Copyright at Laura Ferreira Studios

Copyright at Laura Ferreira Studios

What I like about this photographer is the way she takes a beautiful, still albeit ordinary photo and transforms it into fantasy since she’s also a digital artist. So a spinning woman can become trapped in an oil painting, a girl standing on a hilltop can suddenly be transformed into a fairy with red wings and as you can see above, this subject got cast into the depths of the sea to play nice with the jellies. She has many beautifully serene, non-digitally mastered pieces as well but she won me over with her digital artistry, which is the first time, given that the reason I like all these photographers is because of how natural and not ‘photo-shopped to death’ their images appear. Using programs like photo-shop to create artistic images like this is more than alright in my book, (I mean, who’s really going to want to actually get this near to a jelly fish in real life?) and this photographer definitely has a win in this category.

Photography is meant to be beautiful, it’s meant to evoke emotion and memory, it’s meant to make you feel and think, it’s meant to tell a story without words. It is not meant to be perfect. You can try sure, but I think perfection is sometimes lost in constant editing. Who cares if there’s a wisp of hair flying across the subjects face or in the air? What about the emotion connected to the photo? This is why I like the next photographer, Stacy Christian Stacy Christian Photography

Copyright at Stacy Christian Photography

Copyright at Stacy Christian Photography

Her pictures are real. It’s not just the work of a designer or an artist on a model trying to create a look or a mood. It’s real because the people are real, smiling and laughing because they’re actually happy (or bored in the background but still REAL emotions). She captures the way people are when they are comfortable in their own element.

Next on the list is a photographer I found on a blog early last year and then again on Pinterest named Melissa Prosser Melissa Prosser Photography The first thing that caught my eye was this picture.

Copyright to Melissa Prosser Photography

Copyright to Melissa Prosser Photography

If I never wanted to get married, heck now I do! This woman’s photography absolutely captures the dream of the perfect wedding, even if the wedding itself did turn out to be an absolute disaster. Every picture in a way is seen from the view point of the couple or rather how they imagined they would look if they were looking down at themselves, which is perfectly happy and in love. Her style is evidently very intimate and you can tell she must have a true love for capturing this special day for people because it shows in her photos.

Copyright to Bradford Willcox

Copyright to Bradford Willcox

Bradford Willcox shoots (with a camera, people) models. He is a fashion photographer. I don’t believe he has a website but he does have a Facebook page, which you can find here. Being an aspiring seamstress and a fashion junkie (yes, I’m finally admitting it. I LOVE DRESSES!) I have seen his work before and always thought he had a knack for ‘movement’ photos. More than a knack actually, the man knows how to capture moving hair like a boss. However, so can a lot of other fashion photographers.

What really struck me about his work was a collection he did on an abandoned Six Flags Theme Park in New Orleans after Katrina hit last year which really shows his talent capturing the still life in inanimate objects. His black and white stills were especially gorgeous. You could feel the empty, ghost-like chill you get from a ‘supposedly’ haunted area. From the empty seats to the halted Ferris Wheel across the waterway, you could almost hear the turnstiles creaking for the ghost-people to come in or the echo of a phantom roller coaster going by. One word. Wow. Oh and creepy too.

Next, we have Katie Hall Katie Hall Photography

Copyright at Katie Hall Photography

Copyright at Katie Hall Photography

The first thing I noticed about this photographer was her apparent talent for photographing the tiniest of us. And not just taking their picture but showing their personality. Their character. Their curiosity about the world and their many comical facial expressions. Photographing children is hard work. They can get fussy, be uninterested and become wild and disruptive in their naturally playful way and when dealing with expensive camera equipment that can be a problem so many photographers opt not to deal with children at all. However this photographer shows that with a little patience and a quick hand to the draw, you can be rewarded with beautiful stills. I had to put two of these, they’re so cute!

Copyright at Katie Hall Photography

Copyright at Katie Hall Photography

Now I deliberately choose photographers who probably aren’t incredibly famous or very well known because there are others I have on my list but these I admire because they have a distinct style that I like about them.

The last one though is Sasha Gomes. She is incredibly new, not well known at all but has infinite potential and shows her work under La Red Graphic Studios The thing about this photographer is that, unlike the others, she has yet to fully embrace or find her signature style. Like most new photographers, you go where the money goes because at the end of the day you have to make a living. Any good photographer can do a wedding, an event, a studio shot, if it’s a business you can adapt but despite this every photographer’s work should identify with them. Their pictures should reflect their personal style and the way they see the world through their lens. I believe this photographers style is clearly portraiture and not just any portraiture but wildlife portraiture. See for yourself.

sashagomes1

“I am green. She cannot see me.” Copyright at La Red Graphic Studios

Particularly like this one. Looks like winter hit the edges.

I particularly like this one. Has an ethereal look, like winter hit the edges. Copyright at La Red Graphic Studios

And the waterlilies. Breathtaking.

And the waterlilies. Bold, breathtaking colour. Copyright at La Red Graphic Studios

See what I mean. Of course, as I said. Any good photographer with a ‘photographic eye’ (ha!) can capture beautiful images. Each photographer needs to be true to themselves and their own personal style though and not just take the pictures that make the money but take the pictures that make them happy as well. The pictures that say, “this is how I see the world.” If you’re good, you can make every picture say that.

So that’s my list. See you all again… whenever. Haha! Hope it’s sooner than later.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

What the Heart Wants

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I would like to apologise in advance for any references that I have made that may offend readers. I think little of no one. Some references were purposely made in a somewhat harsh way to bring a sharper visual understanding of the points made. This is also part one of a three-part series called ‘Living Your Dreams’ so look out for part two soon called “Listening To Yourself.”

I made a conscious decision to stop pursuing formal or rather academic education two years ago. I left my Associate degree without notice and despite the irks that I had with the institution in question, that was not the reason that I left. I have been going to school since I was four years old and two years ago with twenty years of ‘schooling’ under my belt I was getting blasted tired of it and I was also realising that what I wanted to learn, school couldn’t teach me. I mean after twenty years, that’s enough time to make an impression and even though I didn’t yet know exactly what it was that I wanted to learn, I knew that I couldn’t get it from the current school system.

This was hard. People who know me may not think that it looked particularly hard because I literally just got up one day and decided not to go to class and never went back, but it was hard. Hard on my ego. You see in my country, I’m sure it is in others as well but I can only speak of what I know, being an academic brings prestige. It is looked at with awe. I have always been good at academics. My first profession that I aimed at in school was to be a doctor. I love science and I love to learn about the way the body works. It is fascinating how the body knows exactly what it’s supposed to do and what it needs and people take for granted just how good their body is at taking care of itself and compensating for the stuff we put it through. I also at some point in time wanted to study psychology. Being a writer, which I believe is the only natural talent I have, I have a knack for placing myself in someone’s shoes, thinking how they think, feeling how they feel which is what I draw on when creating characters in stories, so being a psychologist felt like the natural ‘academic’ profession to pursue.

Now for a young lady who grew up in a neighbourhood where the norm for young ladies are to have your first child by eighteen to a young man who has no means to help you take care of his child because he is also eighteen, jobless and oblivious to what it really takes to support a family and the heights of success (legally) is to secure a permanent job with the government by twenty years with albeit meagre salary but with the chance of promotion every five years for the next forty-five to fifty years with a small pension and maybe a token engraved pen at the end of it all. In an environment like this where the bar was basically set very low, being a doctor or a psychologist was a lofty and ambitious and celebrated idea.

I met my cousin a few days ago. As per usual he asked how all the family were going, my mother, my sisters, my brother. To how my brother was going I responded, “he’s good. He’s in his first year at UWI (University of the West Indies) doing Engineering, so you know is pressure for the next few years.”

To which his response was, “That’s great. First person to go University in the family and first Engineer.”

If anybody knows me, reeeeally knows me, they know that half the time I don’t really mean things, I just like to test people to see what they’ll do. I’m a writer, I like to watch people and observe how they respond to situations, so I then casually openned my jacket to reveal my tights and loose top, while saying, “yeah, that’s great. We’re proud of him.”

“How you dressed so casual?” he asked, “you just came back from gym?” Caught him!

“Gym, no. I just came back from dance practice. We had to stay back an extra hour. We have a show coming up in a week and then I have another one the week after that so is pace, boy!” I said to him and waited for him to prove me wrong.

“Oh, that’s great, you’re dancing! You’re the first dancer in your family. When is your show?”

Forgive my wishful thinking, but no. He didn’t actually say that. He said one word, “okay.” which spoke volumes in itself.

It is times like these that I hear that little nagging voice which thank God over the years has begun to get softer and softer and speaks up less frequently that says to me, “why in the world did you leave school? You’re wasting time, everyone is doing something that matters in society and you’re just playing around. Get back in before it’s too late!” Now I finished secondary school early. I started my advanced level at sixteen and was poised to enter UWI at eighteen which would mean that if I had stayed the course and if all went well, meaning if I didn’t fail too many courses and have to do them over, I would have probably begun my first year as a resident in a hospital by now and upon meeting my cousin I would have had something quite different to tell him and no doubt he would have squealed with delight the same way he did for my brother.

But every time that little voice pipes up about where I could have been if I had stayed in the game, I ask myself, prestige aside, would I have been happy with that? And I always come up with the same answer. If prestige was all I was giving up my soul for then it’s not worth it. So that I can impress the people around me who most likely would throw scorn at me from jealously behind closed doors, anyway? I am proud of my brother but I remind myself that I am proud of him because he’s doing something with his life. He’s fighting the young, black male tendency that I see everyday around me to think that the only thing you’re good for is to lime on the block all day feeding off of other people and doing the easiest, most un-challenging work to survive. My cousin is a teacher, and by God I think that’s great, not because he stayed in the game and did what was expected of him in society but because after all the horror stories I hear in schools of bad teachers, we need more good teachers and from the way he talked about his students and his work I can tell that he cares about what he’s doing. Does he think what he’s doing is just as great as being a doctor or an engineer? I really do hope so because I think it is.

So, back to my original thought. At eighteen I left being a doctor/psychologist behind. I knew that I loved sciences, loved to learn about it and I still do peruse the scientific journals from time to time but I realised that I didn’t love it enough to do it as a profession. It was a long road and quite hard to shake off academics totally. At that time, I choose instead to study something that was more on the arts side. I always liked to learn languages and I was good at it. My sister decided to sign up for an associates in spanish and business so I thought what the hell, why not. That was my first mistake. Doing something that someone else wanted to do and not really thinking about if I wanted it. You see I still could not get past the thought that society has fed me since day one that you cannot be successful without a degree. Without a degree you are no better than the regular, non-intellect on the street selling honey roasted nuts. I was still considering the thoughts of those around me and all I could see was one or the other. The ‘educated’ intellects, the public servants who settled to have security and the young mothers. Looking at it that way I can see now why I choose what I choose.

But if anyone has struggled with identity and finally found it they know that it is only when you are true to yourself and what you really want that you succeed. So, I failed. I fought it. I wanted to finish. I soon realised though that it was okay not to finish sometimes. It was okay to just rest down your tools and walk away. I realised that the tools society was giving me were not working for me. Maybe for someone else but mines were getting duller by the moment and not helping me get where I wanted to go. Sometimes it’s okay to leave the secure fields and jump the fence into wild country and part the way with your own hands instead of the tools someone else gave you. Sometimes you just need to feel the blisters on your hands from pushing aside that bush and find your own way through the wild of the world.

So two years ago around this time I jumped the fence. I’ll tell you about those two years in my next post, but for now I ask you to take deep breaths and listen to yourself. “The heart wants what the heart wants” Woody Allen said. I would also like to add though that you may feel confused right now, but I am telling you the heart also knows exactly what the heart wants. You may not know it now but if you just listen to yourself long enough you will find it. The problem people have is with the waiting and listening. They see everyone moving forward as it may seem while they are still waiting. I’ll tell you what to do with that time in my next post as well. Society cannot tell you what you should be. I didn’t see it then either, I had no real idea of what I wanted but I had the faith and the courage to go looking for that fourth option. I ventured into the wild and the unknown.

Come into the wild

You can find part two ‘Listening To Yourself’ here.

- Written by Travesaou

Copyright © 2010 Critics May Lie All Rights Reserved

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