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An Optimistic Look Forward

It’s always so interesting how quickly a year seems to go by. Here it is, the day after my 34th birthday and only days away from 2015 and as is often the case for most of us, I’m looking back on the past year and looking forward to the next. This year has been one of the most challenging in my life. If I weren’t already depressed one could argue that this year gave me several reasons to be. I resigned from the company I’d worked at for over a decade, sold my home, moved to a new town, changed careers, lost my grandmother. There are so many reasons to feel downtrodden and less than optimistic going into the New Year, but I’m not. The world may not always seem fair, but that’s the thing about life, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

So maybe those last few words were lyrics from a song but as so much of life is, they are quite poetic. We go day by day in the drudgery of life sometimes feeling like we just don’t have the strength or the encouragement we need to persevere. What I’ve realized over this difficult year is that even in the darkest periods there are always some light. Whether it’s kind words of comfort even kind deeds, sometimes we get so bogged down by life’s difficulties that we don’t always see life’s blessings. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2014 in The Union-Recorder

 

A Tale of Two Lands

Traditions are important. Sometimes we just don’t know why. Having grown up in a Jamaican/American household it’s easy to see the many cultural and familial differences between both. And because of this, it can also be confusing navigating the waters of blended heritages. Just because it’s right for one culture, it doesn’t make it kosher for the other.

Arguably it’s easiest for the young. As a child we look at the challenges of life as an adventure. Things that, in our adulthood, we may find inconvenient can be made into games or easily explained. Why is there no snow at Christmas? Why don’t we celebrate Thanksgiving? Why do we eat curried goat at Easter dinner? Family traditions are created and recreated all the time. Whether we realize them or not, they’re all heavily influenced by our heritage. Jamaica is never cold. Thus, when holiday specials are shown on television with Rudolph and the North Pole there is no real frame of reference. However, just because there is no snow in Jamaica, it doesn’t change the fact that the Christmas spirit is still felt. It is different, though. It has to be. And while Easter is not the same without an Easter bun in Jamaica, it’s not the same without Easter eggs in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in The Union-Recorder

 

America’s Dad: Do We Really Know the Truth?

I’ll be honest. I was very apprehensive when deciding whether or not to write this next article. Generally you are all given a glimpse into the drama that is my life, but every once in a while I do like to talk about something that can be a bit controversial or in the current headlines. The thing is, this topic also hits home for me and as a result, it’s made me really think a lot more about celebrities and those who live in the public spotlight. We often feel like we know people, especially when they are welcomed into our homes even via television and have any special kind of significance.

I’m a child of the 80s and as such I, like so many others, grew up watching many of the shows that featured Bill Cosby. From Fat Albert to The Cosby Show you’d be pretty hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t know of or who hadn’t watched these popular and even ground-breaking shows. For many, Bill Cosby is so much a part of our television and cultural history that to think of the man in any other way is difficult. When we grow to love someone based on seeing them only in one light, being shown the darkness can leave us baffled and outraged. I could identify with The Cosby Show. Like the Cosby children, I too grew up in a somewhat affluent home with successful family members. My family was never like the stereotypically portrayed black families on television. I didn’t live in or near any hood and I just couldn’t relate to those who did. I grew up knowing that a child should speak only when spoken to and that all adults were to be shown respect. I loved the clean-cut Huxtables and loved the family patriarch, Bill Cosby. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in The Union-Recorder

 

Making a Breakthrough

Sometimes it takes a lot of repeatedly doing the wrong thing before you make a real breakthrough. I can sometimes be fairly manic. I can be super charged and excited about things in my life and then I can hit very severe lows. For many, that’s normal. And for others, well, those times can be frequent and very hard to handle. Imagine not being able to pull yourself out of your slump, knowing that you should shake it off but feeling helpless to do so. It happens. What we must tell ourselves is that sometimes there are bad days, good days and even extraordinary days. We have to push through to our breakthrough.

This time of year is often extremely difficult. My general depression deepens in the winter months and it can be almost impossible to improve my general outlook on life. My mind lingers on thoughts that are better left alone and the stress of the upcoming holiday season can be a lot to handle. I’ve recently been frustrated by my weight and general well-being. I never thought that I’d ever allow myself to become so out of shape that simple things like climbing a flight of stairs or even taking a shower would become strenuous. I know, it’s funny really. The added weight and the resulting poor health seem to creep up on you. You’re so busy living life that it seems to almost hit you all at once. I recently tweeted about how I hated being fat for some of those very reasons. At one point I thought that I’d fall out of the tub as I tried to create a new way to shave. Funny as that may seem it was still some time before I’d had enough. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in The Union-Recorder

 

Celebrating Our Heritage

Now that I work from home it often takes a conscious effort to go outside. I’m very much a hermit and so the most sunshine I get is through the windows of my home office. The only time I tend to go outside is when I’m heading over to my parents’ house for our weekly dinners. On one such occasion I discovered, after groaning at the brightness of the outdoors, that the season was changing. I could feel the slightest shift in the air and I could sense the crispness that the season brings. I always look forward to the Fall. I have no need to worry about the pollen-filled Spring. The Fall has always been my favorite season. There’s something romantic about the Fall. Additionally, it is the time of year that is most about family and heritage.

I’m not sure how it happened, really. I moved back to the US at an age where I remember learning about Christopher Columbus “discovering” the United States. Like so many others, I was taught, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” I also remember being taught about what happened to the indigenous people of this land, the Native American Indians. I remember quite distinctly 8th grade history class being all about the plight of these people. However, it wasn’t until I watched a recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that it hit me like a ton of bricks. We were celebrating the person who brought about the decline of the American Indians. His accidental “discovery” and the subsequent colonization of the New World eradicated races, much of it in the name of religion and national pride. Read the rest of this entry »