To Propose or Not To Propose… To Your Man

For a few years now, every so often a picture emerges on social media of a woman proposing to man, and the reaction is almost always the same. Women shaming the woman for asking the man she wants to marry her. I for one find the practice so annoying. Leave that woman alone and let her ask for what she wants.

Oh, The Hypocrisy!

I find it exponentially hypocritical of these women shaming the woman who chooses to propose, to say the least. The reason for this is that we preach all day every day for equality, and we want to dismantle patriarchy, achieve gender equality in homes and in the workplace. But as soon as it comes to a proposal, 8/10 revert to the 1920’s dimension where they squeal about how they are now acutely “old-fashioned” and strictly refer to their uncompromising belief in the bible scripture, Proverbs 18:22.

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

king-james-bible

Now, these same women scorn the idea of waiting for marriage before sex, having children out of wedlock, a woman being a homemaker and the man as a breadwinner, submitting to their man or a myriad of other things they indulge that the bible speaks about. In fact, the same women are those who will spend 5 – 20 years living with a man, taking care of the entire household, having WHOLE children, essentially performing wifely duties and accepting husbandly ones, but refuse to ask the same man if they will marry them. How?

Hebrews 5:23 – For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 – For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

I am not judging anyone, I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of these women.

Rejection Is A Man’s Job

Worst-Marriage-Proposals

Is it? I thought that’s what we were working against. ‘Men’s Jobs’ and ‘Women’s’ jobs. Why do we want men to be more in tune with their feelings and then we want them to accept hurt? If a woman is not willing to accept the hurt of a possible rejection, what makes her entitled to expect that a man should endure it for her?

Get It Over With

I firmly believe that a conversation about marriage should be right up there at the beginning of a relationship with those what’s your favourite food, what do you like to do for fun, how many kids you want conversations. It’s not hard ladies. Say “Do you want marriage?” and be upfront about whether it’s something you do or don’t want, and are you willing to compromise on it. Have a conversation.

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All this to say is, if there are two married couples, and the man asked in Couple A and the woman asked in Couple B, Couple A is no more married than Couple B. What matters is the foundation of the relationship, to begin with. I am one of those women who didn’t have a proposal at all. But we talked about it and deciphered a timeline. When the time came it was a post-sex “Are we engaged now?” (He doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body, but later for that). Six months later we were married.

Again, I’m definitely not judging anyone and their choices, I am just saying, it’s heartbreaking and aggravating to see all these Women Judges trying to make a woman feel less than for asking a man if he wants to marry her. Truly, they need to sit down, right over there in the ‘I’d rather be alone.’ or ‘Waste years waiting.’ section. Girl, ain’t nobody missing you. Leave those women alone.

Trina

I Won’t Go Natural

Over the past few years, the natural hair movement has dominated quite a bit. I am here for it. As ever, my little country, Jamaica has been pushing boundaries on the international stage regarding what’s acceptable as beautiful hair. I am here for it!

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Davina Bennett – Miss Jamaica Universe 2017

A few shining examples are the recent Miss Jamaica Universe, Davina Bennett sporting her fro while snagging her place as 2nd, runner-up in the Miss Universe competition. A spot many people worldwide agree fell short as we feel she deserved the crown. But 3rd out of 92? We’ll take it. And we’ll keep coming too, so watch out world!

Sanetta Myrie – Miss Jamaica World 2015

Other notable Jamaican queens pushing hair boundaries are Miss Jamaica World 2015, Dr. Sanetta Myrie, finishing as a top 10 contender on the world stage with her gorgeous locks.

Miss Jamaica Universe 2014, Kaci Fennel-Shirley rocked her short mane on the global stage too, ending in top 5 for the Miss Universe 2014 crown.

Kaci Fennel-Shirley – Miss Jamaica Universe 201

Even before then, there was Terri Karelle Griffiths (now Reid), Miss Jamaica World 2005 who rocked the fro and puff quite regally.

Terri Karelle Reid – Miss Jamaica World 2005

Despite this liberating shift for freedom and the appreciation for the beauty of hair in all its forms, some are, as ever fighting to turn this beautiful thing ugly. Scores of women (and possibly men) now feel entitled to spew all kinds of advice and commentary about hair, effectively attempting to ostracize black women who choose to get relaxers. It’s unfathomable that in 2017 we’ve seemed to abandon the concept of choice and preference. It seems it’s perfectly acceptable to have damaged un-cared for natural hair, as opposed to well maintained relaxed hair.

If I had a dime for every time some self-righteous woman thought it was a compliment to tell me how nice my hair would be if it was natural, I’d be rich. I am very appreciative of the natural hair movement as a black woman, and love that women are enjoying the freedom and beauty of their crowning glory. It’s our right to do so. Sometimes I think I want to go natural because it’s beautiful, but then when I think about it, I know I don’t really want to. It’s also my right to decide that it is not for me. My lifestyle, hair type and temperament do not support it, nevermind the actual transition. I know natural hair is versatile, I also know that if I were natural, I would spend so much time straightening my hair, there’s no doubt of severe heat damage, so what is the point? Simply, I’m not here for it. I am not interested.

Lifestyle

I’m relaxed, I prize the ability to apply some moisture, take my hair down from a wrap and scrape my hair into a ponytail or bun and be out the door in 5 minutes. Anything lasting longer than that thoroughly annoys me. When I need a relaxer, roughly every 4 weeks, it takes longer to do my hair in a way that I deem presentable. Suddenly, a ponytail or a bun can take as much as 15-20 minutes to craft, following many a grunt and frustrated sighs on my part.

Time

This has always been the case, but now that I’m a mother, it’s increased tenfold. The last thing I want to do is bother with spending 15 minutes combing through a tangled mess of 1/2 inch new growth. By the time I need to redo my hair in another ponytail, it will be tangled again and in need of a comb out. My scalp will start to become sore and tender. I don’t have whole days to dedicate to a washing regimen, or thousands to spend on an embarrassing collection of chemical-laced products we all like to think is ‘organic’. I would not be doing the transitioning thing either. After braiding for two or three months, I would hack it off. That’s just me.

I get a braid every few months, primarily because I don’t want to be bothered with hair at all for a few weeks. However, no matter the style, it won’t last more than 3-4 weeks.

Hair Type (4c), Tangle Prone, Fuzz Loving

Just this past summer, I pushed the limits (I know I really shouldn’t have, but I did) and kept my braids for 7 weeks. Yikes! My hair matted at the roots, as is its tendency. When my hair is braided though, it grows twice as much, sheds twice as much. So much so, it’s my go-to’ recovery/quarantine. If I’m experiencing breaking or excessive shedding, I get braids and the problem usually corrects itself.

The point though is that I choose to have relaxed hair. Every 4-5 weeks, I to choose to re-affirm and reinforce that decision. Please don’t tell me I’m trying to be white, or self hating, or ignorant, or any other half-assed attempt at reasoning to appear ‘deep’ when potholes on Jamaican roads are deeper than your level of cognitive thinking, or attempts to be so ‘woke’ that the lack of sleep is making you psychotic.

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Stop. I know what chemicals are. I went to school too. I have Google, just like you. Natural hair is beautiful. Let us bask in the liberty and appreciation for hair of types. Let us unite to prevent someone being told afro is unprofessional, unkempt, ugly or distracting. And cease and desist from trying we all must be natural to appreciate our blackness.

I might go natural one day, but it ain’t today… or tomorrow… or even the day after that.

Blessings!

Wife Before Child and Mother

This meme has been the point of contention on social media for a few years now, and each time I visit the comments section, as a deeply rooted family oriented woman, become more and more dismayed as the reason for the colossal break down of the family unit globally become more and more apparent and so loud, reason and logic seems to be the few and far in between.

While in my opinion misguided, I can certainly understand the notion that someone would be compelled to put the child first, the other possibilities being thrown around like heavyweight though, truly baffle me. There are actual answers citing the following:

  • Mother, Daughter, Sister, Wife, Baby’s Mother
  • Daughter, Mother, Sister, Wife, Baby’s Mother

There is the occasional insinuation that the Wife is following the Baby’s Mother as well, but I will not even give those asinine assumptions a second thought. For my sanity.

To look at these premises, we are going to assume that each of these relationships is at the very least functional since “healthy” states are debatable given the mindset of our current generation.

MOTHER

As a mother, if I had a son, who placed me before his wife, I would consider it a personal, ignominious failure. A mother’s role is to protect her child, provide for him /her and to teach her child how to become a functioning adult. In essencea mother’s role is to raise the next generation by ensuring the child, when grown, knows how to handle their own lives and to pass the torch. This is not to say that the mother will be forgotten. Quite the opposite, as throughout their entire lifespan, guidance and opinions will be sought. If, however, at 40 years old your child looks to you to make every decision for him or her, have you really done your job? download

To insinuate that my child owes me the right to be placed above the immediate family that he created is ludicrous. I certainly could never feel that my duty to my child, is following my duty to my mother. I have personally watched a situation unfold where a “man” will be sharing an intimate moment with his partner and get up and leave because his mother wanted to be driven somewhere trivial at a moment’s notice. As you can imagine, this situation is one that occurred again, and again, again. Instead of explaining to his mother that he, a grown man of 30 something years was otherwise occupied at the moment and unable to cater to her, he placed the needs of his mother above that of his partner.

Let me be clear, had I been the spouse in that situation, this man would not have me to come back to. Period. I cannot even begin to describe all the ways that this is unacceptable. I have been married for close to three years, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not in awe of my mother-in-law and the job she had done in raising her son (my husband). Often when we are together (and on the phone) our conversations are about life and encouragement, and one of the things that she has drilled into me since our daughter has been born (and even before) is to NEVER, under any circumstances allow my daughter to be placed in the middle of our marriage. As the mother, she is secure in her place in his life and reminds me often that as his wife I (and our daughter) am his first priority, not her.

20170709_131329She is her husband’s. However, I could certainly never take her place, that is not what I am here for. Instead of seeing it as losing her son, the understands that she has simply gained a daughter. She makes it her duty to remind me that if I am to be successful as a parent and my child leaves home in the projected timespan, there are even more years ahead with my spouse, and a marriage neglected for the sake of children is still a marriage neglected.

When I look at my husband, I beam with pride at the man she has raised. She is the kind of mother I aspire to be. 

 

A KING cannot rule with his mother as QUEEN. Whether you are partial to the English hierarchy or African ancestry, that is not the natural order.

 

DAUGHTER

I can tell you right now, I am the product of a parent who put me before himself for at least 20 years, and covering my two sisters ages as well, that timeframe is fast approaching a timespan of thirty years. I love my father inexplicably. For the man that he is, the father that he is. When my parents split up, I was about 12 years old, and he had never engaged in anything long term since then. I have often asked why, and his answer was that his children are his priority. I wish more than anything my father had a spouse because his youngest child and my sister is now 18 and as you can imagine, more often than not outside of work, he is alone. Not because he has terrible children, but because we are, for all intents and purposes, grown and leading our own lives (my younger sister not entirely but in a year or so she will be in college). I see him once a week for a measly two hours or so, but that is not nearly as much time as I would like to spend with him. I love my father, but I cannot fill the role of a wife for him. My household, the family that I created with my decisions come first.

I, much like every other child with good parents, think (and pray) that he will be around for another 40 or 50 years at least. I would rather that he not be alone for it while his children are scattered worldwide. If he had a wife, I would worry less. And it is my greatest wish, that he or had or will soon begin to place more of his attention on himself. Yet, he is traditional in his thinking and will be the first t chew me out if he thinks, I am not putting my husband first.

If you have parented successfully, there will be a time, when your child will want you but not need you as much. Additionally, when younger, the child cannot (and should not be placed in a situation where they should become a support system for their parent.)

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A KING cannot rule with his daugher as QUEEN. Whether you are partial to the English hierarchy or African ancestry, that not the natural order.

 

WIFE

If you could not tell, it’s my view that your wife must come first. Wife first, if you’re married. Period. You nurture your home and the environment you want your child to thrive in. I look at it as, if two people are at their best, the child doesn’t stand a chance of having anything but that.In the morbid instance that you are unable to care for your child, he or she will not be able to take care of themselves. You will depend on the person you heavily to do what you cannot. It sometimes unfair and unacceptable how much parents nowadays place their obligations on their children. “I took care of you, now take care of me!” Life is a circle, not a loop! Children are not physical, financial nor emotional pensions. rameshnewellphotography-312

You make your child with your wife (hopefully) and if you didn’t, you would have chosen your wife based on the SPECIFIC criterion that she is the kind of woman you would want to bear and raise your child/children and that in both in your presence AND your absence, this person would hold down your home and treat your child and family like their own (as they are). Anything else is PURE FAILURE as a man in your responsibilities your child/children.

 

DIFFERENT ROLES

Mother, Wife and Daughter. Three different generations, three different roles. The other women do not place in this discussion. They could not in any way be first if these three exist. It is germane to add that all these women play different roles that the other is incapable of filling. If the man is truly a MAN, each one knows where they stand and fill a role that cannot be duplicated by any other. They SHOULD know to fall back when one, in particular, needs his support more than the other at a particular moment in time. This in evitably where most men fail. Allowing one or the other to disrespect the other is unacceptable. The should have enough respect for YOU, as a man to at the very least behave cordially towards each other.

Jamaica’s Perception of Discipline

I promised myself I wouldn’t use this forum to vent, but this particular issue is probably going to land me in the hospital with high blood pressure if I don’t find a suitable outlet for this rage and passion.

 

Are We Still Slaves?

If we are so mentally enslaved 184 years following the physical abolition of slavery that we cannot identify that irrespective of the problems you face that there is actually a line that should not be crossed in the name of disciplining your child, what are we doing? This is what we are good for after 55 years of independence? This is what we strive to remember as a part of our culture?

 

Frustration or Blind Rage?

First, let us discuss the rage. You are telling me that this woman is so beside herself with blind rage, a sharp blade was used to aimless slap her child over and over, in sensitive places while both she and the child slip and struggle with each blow? She had no control over herself? At best she is a mad woman and is unfit to care for a child! Let us discuss all the ways this could have gone wrong in a fraction of a second. What would the conversation be like if we had witnessed a man beating a woman this way? Would we say she must have deserved it?shutterstock_138099623-390x285

  • The child could have been impaled.
  • The child could have lost a limb.
  • The child could have been beheaded.
  • The child could have had her spinal cord severed.

All within a split second. A blocked blow, or slip. That’s all it would have taken. Please tell me what great sin, besides possibly being a murderer herself could this child have committed that this woman was actually willing to risk her death for. Had she been murdered in this tirade the conversation would have been so different. We would all be banning our bellies and screaming about all the other ways that this could have been prevented. We would be bawling and calling on the Hon. Andrew Holness to save us from the violence and cruelty we inflict on each other. Yet, we embrace brutality every chance we get. Giving blind power to a woman to treat a child anyway, however horribly, that she sees fit because she gave birth him or her.

How can we sit down and JUSTIFY a parent becoming so engulfed in rage, that we are actually placing ‘buts‘ in the response to a mother wielding a MACHETE with no regard for the life of the child she believes she is disciplining. 

 

When Will It Be Too Much?

When exactly will a parent have crossed the line if not now?

On September 27, 2015, Maxine Bailey from a Kingston address burned her 15-year-old daughter with a clothing iron for failing to return rental books. Both arms and a thigh. Well, I guess maybe the child deserved that. That’s what we are saying, right? Her mother did it, so obviously her mother was frustrated and she (the teen) must have deserved it. How could she not?

Annmarie Brown from a Kingston address burned her 11-year-old son with a pot on his bottom to “discipline” him for allowing her own negligence of a  coal stove to burn her 2-year-old in passing on his bottom. Poor mother, so fed up she apparently was. Right, she sure showed him, didn’t she?

Ann Marie Scott threw boiling water in the face of her 8-year-old daughter for losing a ring. Mop stick not delivering enough damage? Here, have some hot water in your face then.

Earlier this year, Theresa Peters dipped both her 7-year-old twin sons hands in boiling water to teach them not to take food from the pot without her permission. Ah, yes, let us be cruel to our children the in true Jamaica fashion.

After all, we were all maimed as children and we are better successful adults for it, eh?

Is there no line? Perhaps, it is just shy of actual murder. Well, perhaps the next time we should just encourage the machete-wielding goddess to use a gun, eh? A game of Russian Roulette? Perhaps she dies, perhaps she doesn’t.

 

Crime and Violence Our Culture?

How can we not see that the brutality and violent natured crimes that are currently ravaging the Jamaica we know and love is as a direct result of things like this? How is it not possible to see that?

shutterstock_171488747-1050x700Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a good old-fashioned whooping to a deserving child and believe we that is should be used in the event that it is needed, however, if the strap doesn’t solve the issue, is our only recourse cruelty, violence, and murder to the child using frustration as the excuse? Is that what we are saying? Because quite frankly that is what every single ‘BUT’ that follows the sentence, “He/She was wrong, BUT…” means. There is no way around it. Every ‘but’ is a justification. Every ‘but’ a perception of understanding as to why? Every ‘but’, is an outpour of empathy for the abuser. Every ‘but’ is an excuse.

 

Caring For a Child

In the wake of the arrest of this woman, there are persons who are asking who then is going to care for the child if the mother goes to prison. BUT she wasn’t taking care of the child either! BUT she is a violent individual with an anger management issue. Mother or not, that makes her a threat to the children. The job of parenting a child is laced with pure, raw, unadulterated frustration (If you are doing it right, anyway). Even as adults, our parents are sometimes frustrated with us, with our decisions, with us exercising our adult right to not have to listen. But because they love and want the best for us (assumingly), sometimes, they are still frustrated. That is the job for life, is it not?

The problem with a society ravaged by ignorance is that too many of us believe that ‘taking care’ of a child is completed when you feed, clothe and send him or her to school. These things do not, in totally encompass all the care a child requires and so many in our society, though, providing these basic necessities of life are unfit parents. They blame the child for the fact that they have to care for them. They blame the child, for being.. well… CHILDREN!

We must do better! This woman a treacherous excuse for a mother and no, poverty is not an acceptable excuse. She deserves to be made an example of by the law and afforded the same mercy she showed her child, none. When we aren’t making excuses for criminals saying its, the economy and the system, we are excusing violent acts against our children by their parent under the disguise of discipline? Come on now! DO BETTER JAMAICA!

Emotionally Taxing Friendships 

“You can’t want better for someone than they want for themselves.”

“Patient doesn’t care, why would the doctor?”

How often have we heard these statements?

Speaking on a situation where I knew someone who from a particular volatile community and trying to encourage the person to reach higher and failing miserably, I started thinking about relationships, whether friendships, family or romantic, that had the ability to drain a person. In my case, this was the story.

I met the young lady after landing a summer position and as fate would have it, working in a confined space as several weeks turned into months, we talked. Eventually, she had told me her story. Not unlike many from the ‘ghetto’ community of her origin, her mother had failed dismally to provide for her, she hadn’t taken school seriously, coming out with 3 subjects and was invariably presented with the hard ‘knock’ we all know is life. She had gotten herself into the HEART program studying business at the initial level and was in her current role as a trainee.wp-1494801150989.jpg

While this was great, we both knew that position could fall away as easily as it had come and the economic atmosphere (then and now did/do not favor the underqualified). Naturally, our talks encompassed the future and what she would do, as well as the boyfriend in the picture. As I listened about the boyfriend, my heart string would hurt. He had zero qualifications himself, and had thwarted several opportunities she had secured in favors for him to get a job by not turning up or when did, he was consistently tardy and lazy, resulting in his being fired each time within days or weeks. He was content to live on her meager trainee salary that in essence was providing for herself, himself and another family member. To explain the extent of the situation, I made more than she did, working there for the summer.

Now, if you know me, you can imagine how outraged and stressed I became in her defense. She had very low self-esteem and the guy seemed to have only two things going for him. He claimed to love her and apparently had a big dick. Eventually, she explained, that at 22 years old, the boy with nothing to his name and no clear intent to change that, was asking her to have his baby. I told I hoped she told him to go to hell, and she seemed in agreement when she said she had told him no and took the initiative to start the pill. Fine.

In the weeks that followed, we continued to talk about school and she expressed that she wished she could get a degree. I asked her why didn’t pursue it and she said she couldn’t afford it and so never really explored it. I explained to her in blatant honesty that truthfully, neither could I, but I had aspirations that required the sacrifice. I explained to her that most of the people I had met since starting college were struggling, and made epic sacrifices to pursue their degrees. 

We began to hatch plans and budgets in which she’d sacrifice here and there to possess enough subjects to qualify for the degree. I even encouraged her to speak with the company’s HR Manager to inform him that she was interested in becoming qualified enough to be put on staff and was taking steps to do so since she had previously expressed she wanted the position and they had informed her she wasn’t qualified. I told her to forget paying for the classes for subjects I could help her with, I would make time to tutor her.

Apparently, she had gone home to share her dreams and plans with the boyfriend, who then informed her that he had plans for the money she had saved and had better things to do with it than school. She began to say she would have to find the money for school another way with tears in her eyes. I was livid. Like so many times before, I asked her what she was doing with that boy. Obviously, he meant her no good. attractive-1867127_960_720

As I provided an ear, she began to explain the depths that this man’s laziness and greed ran, even going so far as to encourage her sleeping with someone else because they needed the money. Eventually, she pulled me aside and cried saying she had tried to break up with him and he hit her. As was the routine, she would tell me things and I would become angry in her defense, having starting to really care about her. That day we texted all day and when she asked me what I thought she should do, of course, I let her know she needed to kick his ass to the curb.

Long story short, she didn’t and I distanced myself. I had to separate myself from a person and situation that I believed to be more taxing than I would ever be able to tolerate or endure and she had even accused me of abandoning her. She went on to have his baby shortly after, and I distanced myself some more. In truth, I simply was not able to carry on with a friendship where I want better for someone that they wanted for themselves and where you would ask me to help you but you don’t really want my help. The price tag for that friendship was just too high.aids-1886383_960_720

You must nurture your own mental and emotional well-being before being willing, able and capable of taking on that of someone else. I found such a friendship would have required me to sacrifice myself so to speak, and I chose not to.

Single Til Married?

I was listening to a podcast and the topic of discussion was centred around a young woman who said that she was single until she was married due to the fact that men are not trustworthy and may be doing this, that, that and the third. This in and of itself is not an uncommon stance by women these days, as women try to guard their hearts against disingenuous men who really want to shelve women and still play the field.

I get it, truly I do, but I believe that women who think this way set themselves up for failure. If you’re going into a relationship with this mindset, then can you truly be mad at a man for not believing you are really worth the effort of a serious relationship? If you are ‘Single Til Married’, it means you are still looking. Still waiting for something or someone better. Whatever relationship you’re in, you have one foot in and one foot at all times. Basically, a woman thinking this way will half ass her relationships and when they fail will say ‘Yes! That’s I didn’t do this!’ or ‘I glad that never did that’, failing to recognize that the failure of the relationship could have been caused by her negligence and poor attitude. It’s a catch 22, but for the most part, these women will never own up to this.

 

Who wants to Marry Someone Acting Single?

So, how exactly does one with this mindset get to the marriage part? Does she expect a well thinking, well-adjusted man to marry her and hope that she will eventually commit fully? In my mind, this is same thing as the ridiculous notion that one should not give ‘husband benefits‘ to boyfriends It is downright ridiculous.

I am not saying shack up, play house and have babies while hoping for a ring, but do we really expect a man to marry a woman and simply hope she will morph into the wife he wants/needs after he’s married her? How is he going to know whether she is the kind of wife he wants? She’ll tell him so? Come on now. Who came up with this garbage anyway? If my son did this I would slap him into oblivion and back.

 

Maybe You Aren’t Marriage Material

If you are not ready to risk it all, to commit fully, to trust your partner; the person you are claiming to love, you are better off single.  If the person isn’t trust worthy, that’s on you, deciding to stay. Don’t ruin someone with good intentions based on what you think others are doing, or even what others have done to you in the past in a bid to ‘protect’ yourself. If you feel the need to emotionally protect yourself in a relationship, you are in the wrong one.

Many people do not want to identify themselves as the time wasters or the person who is not marriage material, but this is the raw truth. If you enter a relationship with a get out clause, your partner deserves better than that and they should leave you. You are the person others should avoid.

 

Make Better Decisions

My advice is to make better decisions in who we choose as partners. Invariably, there will be the man or woman who is in it for the wrong reasons or is just not of the character to carry on with a relationship. Do not make excuses for bad, inconsiderate or morally bankrupt behaviour. I believe nine times out of ten, a person has exhibited red flags prior to an indiscretion that a spouse will excuse or ignore in an effort to ‘keep the peace’ or  to hold fast to the view that they are special and as such whatever they have done to someone else they once love, it will not be extended to them. Lies!

People test limits. Most likely, the person already knows what they can get away with. However subtle the disrespect or bad behaviour, by forgiving it without a fuss or excusing it, you make it okay. They know that can do what they want, and they will simply spout an apology and everything will be okay.

Be Intentional

When you get into a relationship, communicate, communicate, communicate! Let the other person know what your expectations are from the beginning. Want to be married? Say so. Want kids? Say so. Give the person the opportunity to decide if they want those things as well and more importantly, if they want them with you. Don’t sit in a relationship for a half a decade having this man’s kids, tying up your finances, etc. if you want more than you currently in the relationship, hoping or assuming the man wants to marry you and then label men wicked when he lets you know he doesn’t after all. He was allowed to drink the milk for free and at no point was he told he would need to purchase the cow eventually. So he drinks and drinks and doesn’t want to be bothered to move again. Some men will ask, some won’t. Some want to be married, some don’t. Some won’t care enough about it and will marry their lady to make them happy, because he was already committed in his mind,  anyway. The point is, stop assuming that the person wants what you do. Talk about the future. Maybe they are just with you for the sake of being with someone.

 

Leave The Baggage

The above mentioned being said, there will always be genuine people who are hurt by others in a relationship. My advice is to not allow someone who wasn’t for you to keep you from the one who is. Heal and move forward. Chances are the person who has hurt you has. Why give them more power over you by blocking your blessings for their sake?

As humans, we sometimes spend so long looking and regretting a closed window, we never get to see the wide open double doors in front of us. If your mindset is ‘Single Til Married’… you may as well get a few dozen cats.

Do I Believe In Gender Roles & Feminism?

The new age definition of feminism seems to appropriate that women believe and behave in a manner that portrays they are superior to men. I, myself, have zero interest in that. I agree with textbook feminism, that we are equals, neither being more superior. By this view, I neglect to identify as a feminist.

But what of gender roles? As with feminism, modern age moves toward blurring these lines in the bid for equality. I am not on that bandwagon. I’ll keep my gender roles, thanks.

Though I cannot now recall how the conversation came about, I offhandedly asked my husband if he can plait. I have never seen him do it, and his reply was a wounded expression and an emphatic ‘yes’, though, I don’t quite believe it. Maybe he thinks a twist is a plait, I don’t know. I’ve asked him to put my hair in a ponytail before and after moving my head a bit found my scrunchie (hair tie)  simply fell out; as though it was just placed on my head. black mother brushing daughter's hair

The conversation continued with my asking how come he’s never combed our child’s hair if he could. His response was that it was my job. Though amused, I was taken aback. He’s never said anything so blatantly sexist that I can recall so I prodded on, asking why it’s my job. He said if I wanted it to look presentable, then it was my job. So I asked, “So you’re saying if I leave her with you for a few days I’ll come back to her hair looking like Molly’s Straggly Mop?” “I’ll do it if I have no choice, but that’s your job.” He commented.

“His response was that it was my job.”

So I got to thinking about all the things that were ‘my job’ and surprisingly found that minus the decision to care for our daughter primarily by choosing to work from home, there was no job, that was solely mine, yet I like gender roles. I think they serve a purpose, a separation of the sexes. I have no desire to be on the road with a flat tire and hear my husband say “Babe I changed the last one, you change this one.” or hear him tell me it’s my turn to change the bulb. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember telling him “You are the man, you get the house. I’m the woman, I’ll make our house home.”

It was just a dig comment on our inability to agree on a piece of furniture, but ultimately, I don’t have a desire to enact the preposterous idea men and women are the same. Don’t get me wrong, if I am too tired or neglect to do something around the house, I fully expect that he will take up the slack, even if I have to put on my RBF (resting bitch face) and point it out (you know how men are sometimes).

I once had a male friend tell me he had no idea windows (house) needed to be cleaned. When I asked how he supposed the ones at his house were never dirty, he acknowledged it must because the woman of the house kept them clean.

I want my man to be my man. Not a replica of me. Teamwork does not automatically mean we must be doing the same things to be working together. Each person doing what they’re good at, and sometimes its gender appropriate. If a frog comes into my house, the only thing I will be doing is getting myself and my child out of there, permanently if need be! I don’t expect my man to have the same reaction. If there is an insect on my person, I will scream and run down the street running from side to side in my SpongeBob get away. If my husband does it, I will probably judge.

I don’t know that this is fair, but I also don’t know that I care. I am a woman and I like to feel that way. I like to be hugged and kissed and feel safe in the arms of my man wrapped around me. I like that my husband opens doors for me, hold my hand as we cross the street, and takes the bag or the baby as we walk. I like that he buys me flowers.MHCA-Online_avatars_06-homemaker

I am not saying all women have to be into that, I am saying I am. Gender roles are important to me. I love me a family man. I dig it! Despite all this, I don’t think it’s necessary to be 100% traditional with them (gender roles). Women are natural nurturers, but men can be too. A stay-at-home dad should not be shamed or thought of as less than a man. s a matter of fact, he had the opportunity to go all out in being his woman’s MAN. I don’t think proposing is a man’s thing. If you want a man and you want to marry him and feel like asking, go get em, tiger!

Lost Societal Reverence

I also think that perhaps, a lot of societal issues and drama nowadays occur because we ask for the merging or non-specification of gender roles in society. As women, we want men to treat us a though we are special and place us on a pedestal until it serves our agenda to step down and in return treat them as if they are unimportant or don’t matter. Then when the timing or situation suits our taste, we want to be “equals”. It’s the “You need me but I don’t need you.” or “I can hit you because I’m a woman, but you don’t dare hit me back or you’re a woman beater.” or “I can say no to sex, but how dare you not feel like it?” rhetoric. It’s manifested in soo many ways.

It’s fine to be equals, so long as we acknowledge and understand that everything as consequences, and as equals, we have no right to the chair a gentleman is sitting on as a lady, or any right to turn up our nose at the man who chooses not to hold the door for you as a woman (though that’s just common courtesy, for both sexes). There’s no right to be regarded as ‘the fairer sex‘.  But these are the same woman who are the first to say, It’s a man’s job to propose, quoting the Bible at the first chance. Then they will shun the Bible saying that times have changed and a woman’s place is no longer in the home. Equality, remember? Or is that what they really mean is, ‘equality with double standards‘?

I don’t know man. I just think modern times allow us to determine what we want for ourselves and me, I’ll keep gender roles and the simple, true definition of feminism. Thanks!

Aphrodisiac; Chocolate, Strong Back or Dancehall?

I suppose the by the title, you are aware that it’s me, Trina. As usual, I wait for a topic of discussion to come up so that I can throw my weight behind it and… well… aphrodisiacs it is.

Let’s provoke a few inner vixens tonight, shall we?45c4f1155b70ef9bebbd4180c6b20453-lips-biting-expression-by-vexels

Tell me honestly, do they work? Aphrodisiacs, I mean. I’m not sure they do scientifically. But other than that, I guess it’s a matter of opinions.

We’re all used to hearing that chocolate, strawberries and red wine are aphrodisiacs (doesn’t float my boat like that but whatever), but what about things like Avocadoes, Pomegranate. I mean really, I just don’t see myself getting all hot under the collar after having a piece of pear (Avocado), ginger and garlic.

The ever-present narrative that chocolate is sexy would account for them being thrown around like nobody’s business on Valentine’s Day. The poor sap, whether male or female is hoping like all hell the intended (spouse or not) will put out, bust out some Keith Sweat and Bump and Grind with R Kelly. It’s big business, and company’s like Cadbury, Ferrero Rocher and Chocolate Dreams record peak sales around this time every year. 6138-close-up-of-melted-chocolate-pv

I am interested though in a woman’s perspective. Do you feel more inclined towards a sexual encounter after eating some chocolate? What about your attitude during the encounter? Perhaps it’s my culture, but that does very little for me.

Let me Explain, for Jamaicans, what works as an aphrodisiac is termed  ‘tonic’ or ‘strong back’. See, for us, rather than placing the focus on turning on the woman (perhaps we believe a man ought to know how), we focus on the stamina portion of things.

Spurlina vs Strong Back

It may take the form of a blended roots drink, Maca and Spurlina and the like, because, well, the focus for us is on the experience, the endurance, tricks, gymnastics, and acrobatics. This is usually what the men employ, around some corner before they approach the woman. Usually, if the man is ‘less than well endowed’ but can ‘gwan wid a bag a tings‘, and has endurance, he’ll get a pass.

Commonly, you’ll also find the blending of raw oats, raw peanuts, Irish Moss/Supligen, Guinness, vanilla nutmeg and any additional selection of variants is blended smoothly primarily the woman feeding her man (and herself). This is known traditionally as ‘strong back”. These things cause the making of babies (*cough *cough, I ‘ve heard).

maxresdefaultWhether or not it works may be due to a case of mind over matter because I do believe culture has a lot to do with it, as we’re conditioned to believe the Champion Jock  and Boom Wuk Tanya Stephens sings about can be brought out. ‘Raising the dead‘, and making sure it stays raised for as long as is needed.

“You might a love me but to me you’s just a wuk star.
Me just a cut and go through fling me kitty ‘pon you,
If the claw dem hold you good luck star.”

Tanya Stephens

The Right ‘Chune’ (Tune/Song)

As a Jamaican, one of the things I enjoy most about Dancehall music is a well written sexually charged song, riddled with innuendoes that are just right to provoke the ‘Rude Girl’ status. For me, it’s quite potent as an aphrodisiac. A lot of these songs in my dash out arsenal is from the 90’s but there are a few from the early 2000’s and even fewer from today. Believe it or not, I am a fan or Kartel’s earlier work, you know, when he was black and even right up til the cake soap era. (Shaade, come for me Gaza clan, I dare you!). No doubt the teacher spitting lyrics about the Benz Punani and Bicycle could work as an aphrodisiac itself, inciting the kind of dash out that cannot be done in public (for ladies anyway). The kind that makes you say things you would never admit to in the light of day.  Perhaps ask for marriage or a baby? (Don’t believe dem!) I confess it wouldn’t be love-making, but who wants that all the time, eh?4979005156_39c3ba2226_b

I’ve been known to ‘dash out’ a certain kind of way, typical of a female enjoying good dancehall music, both in public and private. (No, you can’t see.) and while there are things that amount to the same, I just can’t see a piece of chocolate doing the trick.

What say you?

Trina

P.S. This post was written by my alter ego, Trina. I, Shandean will know not of what you speak if you mention it. 

The Meaning of Friendship 

When I was about 18, I lost a friend that I had loved like a sister due to one of the most basic girl code rules that I had thought shouldn’t take place, a guy. To make matters worse, neither of us had been involved with said guy at the time and when one friend began to suggest that my ‘best friend’ has less than stellar intentions where I was concerned, I defended her vehemently. In my book, when you bestow someone with the title of friend, it means you love this person. That you will defend them, want the best for them. Friends are some of the best family members because they are the ones you get to choose. I played this part for my best friend to my core, being placed in a position numerous times where I felt it was my duty to defend and protect this person, so of course, I wouldn’t hear ill of her and take it lightly.

When the very guy which was the root of the issues began to relay some things my best friend had been saying and doing, naively, I insisted it wasn’t true, that there might have been some mistake, even going so far as to call this person a liar and trouble maker. She (best friend) had been acting funny, but that wasn’t cause to think the worse of someone I love and had been so close with since I was 12 years old. It wasn’t in my nature to think so and I loved her.

And then, I got what I asked for. Proof. There it was, undeniably in my face that my precious friendship was one-sided, for God knows how long. This person came to my house, I went to hers, she cried on my shoulder, I cried on hers. It was rare to see one of us, without the other. I kept secrets, secrets I probably compromised my integrity in doing so, but alas, when it came down to the wire, it was just me and my friendship.

After months of simply avoiding any contact with the person (and she never reached out to me once I stopped trying), while the truth ate at me, I reached out, offering my presence and understanding in the event she wanted to talk. In case I had done something unawares, I told her I loved her and missed her, and didn’t want to throw away our friendship on a whim. The ‘best friend’s’ response had been;

“I don’t have time for haters. I’m all about making money, I’m blessed and I don’t have time for unimportant things and people.”


That day was an important day for me. I learned, that the word ‘friend’ meant different things to different people. I learned that no matter how much you may love someone, leave room for disappointment. As I proceeded to say goodbye through the simple response of “Ok.”, I knew nothing would ever be able to bring me back from that view. I deleted her from my social media, her number gone from my phone, any messages we exchanged and quite simply, carried on with my life.

Since then, I have been extremely cautious in calling a person my ‘friend’ and is most likely to refer to a person as ‘someone I know’. But alas, the Lord has been good to me since, and I’ve been able to count among my friends people who I am comfortable to call so. The other day, two such friends sent me pictures they had from years ago, pictures that would quite possibly cause me some embarrassment (not reeeaaally, but you understand) if they were to, ‘get out’. Yet, I in no way feel threatened. On any given day, I can share my best and worst, have the most intelligent or entirely embarrassingly crass conversations. We have disagreements on topics and do so with respect and dignity, and once the conversation is over, so too is our disagreement. In such a space I feel safe to be who I am, without judgment, without waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Our generation seems to revel in the ‘loner’ concept, desperate for all to believe we don’t need anyone but ourselves, that we’re broken, and everyone is out to betray us. That trust is impossible, that our guard must always be up.

I say choose better. Don’t dismiss things that matter. Don’t watch a person do something that demonstrates poor morale and justify it by saying you are friends, so they won’t do that to you. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be afraid to point out that they’ve done something wrong or isn’t doing something right. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. If that friendship isn’t capable of withstanding honesty, is it really a friendship? 

Know when to walk away. Know what you are willing to comprise, that should never be respect.

Today, best friend and I are cordial because well, maturity and after a few years, she just started speaking to me out of the blue, like nothing ever happened. As though we had simply picked up where we’d left off. I don’t hold a grudge and wish her the very best still, but I don’t count her among friends. My husband is my new best friend and ironically, one of the youngest friendships I’ve since forged at 6 years to date. Most others are now bordering the decade and 15-year mark, though there are a few young ones.

I’ve been blessed to call these men and women my friends, and it is a source of pride to have not caved on the value of friendships due to one bad outcome.

I just learned to be more selective at an early age and that sometimes, how long you’ve known someone has no bearing on your friendship. Their intentions for you makes all the difference.

‘Ownership’ above ‘Equal Rights’?

Hey there folks, it’s T(Tea/Trina) time! This week’s banter is again on a dancehall controversial subject. Dexta Daps and his short film, effectively erasing all thoughts and attention from the ‘Equal Rights’ hallabaloo, squashing its reign.

Thursday night, Mieann asked if we’d seen the Dexta Daps short film. We hadn’t and JoJo made reference to Dexta as the ‘Jamaican Trey Songs’ and that the video was a ‘must see’. (Interest peaked, right). Of course, though somewhat familiar with the name as a Ddancehall artiste, we (Shan & I) had no clue who he was. So early Friday morning when the antics started and another friend suggested same, we trekked on over to YouTube to see what the fuss was about. And F.U.S.S. it was!

The video wasn’t just raunchy, owing to the title and lyrics of the song ‘Owner’ but a downright depiction of sexual contact in one of its purest forms. Stark naked, legs mile high and red sea wide, the artist perched between them, rubbing, slapping, touching and grinding, with the accompaniment of all the requisite facial expressions.

I for one probably looked the picture I felt while watching, like my jaws were on the floor with my eyes glued to my phone. The entire time thinking, “is this woman in a relationship and if so, what’s her spouse’s take?”, because, boy, this woman needs to be discovered by Hollywood. Not only was her performance quite believable for the activities taking place, it leaves one to wonder… After an entire day in such a position, what happened at the end of it? Nothing? Really?

Let’s be real, as a woman, being in such a position and to have the end result be non-gratification, would leave me pissed. Then again, I don’t profess to be an actress. Can that be termed as being an actress? I would imagine any woman with any type of reservations would be uncomfortable in the nude before a stranger. This wasn’t just any old average, sex mimicking scene. Standing, Mr. Daps himself had a full view of her cervix if he cared to look. I suppose her gynecologist has no issues on that front (yes, pun fully intended).

We make several assumptions; This wasn’t just one stranger, it would be several to shoot the video and over the course of several hours. We assume that the artist is heterosexual, thus, leading us to assume the entire time (or at least part), to be faced with such glaring view while undergoing these sexually charged motions, would have resulted in an erection (or several).

The video has since been the butt of a few memes and jokes, obviously securing the end goal, views and attention to the video, song and artiste. However, it also secured much attention to the actress in all her glory and the pay grade (since highlighted through the casting call ad) of such an endeavor. One friend even posed the question: “A this Sam Sharpe and Nanny fight fa?”

What say you? Could you do it?

Until next time…

Trina

P.S. This post was written by my alter ego, Trina. I, Shandean will know not of what you speak if you mention it.