I have this scar on my left leg, just above my knee, it was one afternoon, my cousin and I were next door at my grandma’s house. The fence between my house and my grandma’s was sagging, so my cousin, with his wild-boy self, decided it would be cool to climb over the fence where it sagged. He got over easily, I however had to think more deeply about it. I calculated the success of this and eventually decided to go for it. About halfway through, the edges of the wire that had come undone (and I didn’t know this) dug deeply into my leg and as I moved more over, it tore through my skin. I can’t remember the pain very well, but I can faintly remember the burning sensation of the the gaping strips on my leg that were milky white and slowly began to bleed. It was a terrifying feeling, watching myself bleed slowly like that.

I learned my lesson that day, and I felt unlucky so it was a classic “Why me?” situation. But looking at the one scar remaining out of the four or five gashes in my skin, I find it to be this cool thing. I love my scars because every one of them is a memory, every one has a story to tell, even if I forget sometimes. Most importantly, my scars are a reminder that I have suffered, I have been in pain, but I managed to overcome it, fight through and heal eventually. For this I am thankful.

“Your Boyfriend Is Not Allowed In Here”

He sits in the place he isn’t allowed

because rules are always and only for breaking.

With my lover, I’ve come to dislike things I once couldn’t wait to have. Certain words like “Boyfriend” “relationship” “being together” have all come to invoke certain feelings of nausea and dizziness. My heart leaps in a quick panic when anyone refers to my significant other as my ‘boyfriend’, why? Here’s why. And let me be frank, honest and open about this.

He turned me off of the idea of it. We were getting close, spending time together, laughing at each other’s jokes, being deep and philosophical with each other. We shared the same pained understanding about our youth, our friends, ourselves and our education. We were, it would seem, a near perfect match after all. I remember the words that started us off on the relationship bandwagon. It was late and we were in my room, I was sitting on top of him playfully and in-between laughter and giggling, something clicked, I looked down at his face as he reclined against a pillow, the t.v humming softly in the background, light reflecting off of his face, so I could focus on his eyes especially. The moment was right , I decided, to tell him how I felt. We were close enough, we were right there, so I said it and watched for his response. I said, “I…I want you all to myself…” I was serious, looking down shyly at his hands as I played with them, then I looked up to see his face, he was still there in the moment with me, he was thinking now, and I was readying myself to respond to what ever he was to say next. He said that he’ll try. Up until he left that evening, he said, in-between my ‘see ya later’ kisses, that he’ll try and see. I was optimistic, surprised, but cautiously optimistic. It made me nervous and giddy.

I didn’t know however that him saying that he’ll ‘try’ meant that he’d try from that night, that we’d be official with those words. It was an communicated sentiment. I was thinking he would mull it over, give it some more thoughts, have a few conversations about it then come to a relationship agreement. Eight days later, i pried and discovered that he counted that night as THE night it started. For a while we couldn’t say anything to people, no posting random selfies, no going overboard with the pdas, except that we were very loving. It was a convenient beginning because it was in April and we had a long summer ahead of us to , spend more time together. He was honestly the most exciting experience of the semester. Sorry, but it’s the truth. School was stupid, people were being difficult, I had lost a couple of my friends, because I decided that I deserved better than shitty, poor form friendships, where treating you like less that you deserve was supposed to be seen as ‘motivation’ or for ‘your own good’. Nope! It was bullshit. So my so-called relationship came at a time I needed something good to happen.

I never really like the feel of the word ‘boyfriend’ in my mouth, after a while, I started referring to him as my ‘boyfriend’ at home but it felt weird. He was so much more that a ‘boyfriend’ he deserved much finer words like ‘everything’ and as cheesy and cliched as the word is, it described the depths of our relationship. He became, my family in a sense, the one who would pull up my socks when I was being stupid, who would hold my hand because I needed it sometimes, He supported me in everything and said the hardest things I would ever have to hear, the truth. He was honest, considerate, real. I needed real. After getting rid of the toxic friendships in my life, I needed honesty, even if I couldn’t hear it sometimes. I needed someone to be honest with me about myself, so I could know where I stand with them and how they see me and our relationship. Plus it’s just good to keep a relationship on track, so that NO ONE has any illusions about what’s going on.

The moment my boss told me that I couldn’t bring him inside the lab where I work, I cringed on the inside. Suddenly it became real and we couldn’t hide behind the ‘we’ll try and see’ anymore. Our relationship had always been our affair, our business, people speculated but we never openly answered them. We had tossed and turned over the status of our relationship for a long time and now knowing that others saw it, really saw it for what it was to us, without speaking to us directly or just straight up being told, it alarmed me. Yes we were clearly ‘together’ but for most of the year of our ‘trying’ we had hidden the labels, we had decided against the ‘what is it’, especially me, I was always eager, so I had to calm down and wait. We had lived in and out of denial every week and now, hearing someone referring to him like that, it made it seem so real. Do you understand how complicated our relationship is? By now you should get the idea. We’re not typical guys and gals, we’re not like the other ‘couples’, it’s not as simple as holding hands and kissing, it’s a whole host of shit that comes with this new, challenging territory. We have created a mountain out of a mole hill and fussed and fumed over with it is or should be, but in the end, after all the thoughts and heart to hearts, we’re together and it’s as simple as that, (well it should be anyways.)

Let’s not break the rules, but first thing’s first… You are what you are. A label is only a label.

Skin, Thoughts about Things

It started with my first real encounter. He was dark chocolate beautiful. He literally took my breath away. I thought, wow, I’ve never seen such a dark beauty before. His head was perfectly round and he had a slim build. His eyes were young and mischievous. He was talkative and loud, but beautiful. Ever since then all my encounters with him had began with, “Gosh, he cute!” and ended with “He really is cute, boy!” It was my in-between crushing on him that remained one of the highlights of my two years doing sixth form.

At my earlier high school, I had been smitten with a boy, in my class. He was light-skinned with soft brown wavy hair. He was tall and ridiculously lean. He was always neat and spoken eloquently enough to stand out from the other students. He was so cute, the way he would strut around like a pale flamingo, silently, smiling, smirking. I remember it was our first week at class and we had been assigned to sit next to each other. Those days I felt awkward, ugly and stood out like a sore thumb, at least to me. Our teacher had wanted us to switch pardners every week, so we got to know everyone else better. I hated her for this especially since, I had fallen out with my so-called best friends and was left with a void. So I was alone and shy and kept to myself. It was an awful time. I so full of angst that when I had to sit next to my light-skinned crush, I snapped at him as he was trying to tell me something. I can’t remember exactly what it was, so I’ll illustrate with this.
The teacher had just finished setting up our new class arrangements. We were to all sit here and get to know each other. I feeling the pain of awkward lonesomeness, felt absolutely  self conscious sitting next to this beautiful boy, who I had never seen this close before and was automatically crushing on. Next to him I felt like a duck sitting next to a swan, I know this a dramatic comparison but is very suiting to my situation her. He turns to me and is about to say something, I turn to him, and in screwing up my face, I snap telling him something about how I was just gonna sit here and wasn’t looking for any nonsense and was taking any crap. This of course would have sounded much better, had it been those exact words. When I finished, he continued and it had nothing to do with me personally, it wasn’t any insult, he was just telling me…something. Because of my feelings about myself, I assumed to worst. I felt badly after and hoped silently that we could still be friends. And we were almost best friends, but I was never lucky enough to keep him close. My poor self-esteem along with time and growing up intervened. Plus it’s hard being friends with someone you were crushing on every other day.

Present day, I am in much better spirits about my self esteem, though I have a long long way to go. I have literally never felt sexier about myself. And I would be remiss if I didn’t admit to my new found feelings about myself and my blossoming sexuality had nothing to do with a boy. This boy, with whom I’ve shared a tough, neither here nor there sorta friendship, became the most important person in a year. Not exaggerating. Through our experiences together I have learned to love myself more, come to terms with what I am and seriously question who I want to be. He is also the closest I’ve ever come to actually loving someone. I mean I love in general, but the kind of love you find in romance novels, except not pristine or white, but grayish with a few bruises. It’s nice and battered, in a good way. Obviously I have no idea what I’m talking about. My less than perfect new love, is great! He is for me the exception to the rule, the one you least expected, the one you tried to avoid, but hoped to crash into. He is my everything. It’s exhausting thinking about us all the time, and honestly I get so annoyed at us, always so childish, and loving and warm….sometimes, but I’d rather his hand be the only one I hold, even if I have to tickle him mercilessly to get it. It may not be perfect or the only relationship I’ll get into, but I’m  certainly pleased with life….with him.


Here’s What I’m Thinking

My day today wasn’t anything special, I did chores, I straighten up my room, I listened to music and I danced. I had radical bursts of happiness. I didn’t miss anyone, I don’t feel particularly alone, or confused or weighted down by life and school. Yes, I have assignments coming up and that are due in a couple of days, but I’m still trying to keep an open mind.

Anyway, I had a good day, by myself. But then you came and I was happy, I felt as though I was oddly complete because my person was here. My best friend, was here, unexpectedly. But here’s the thing. I was fine before you came and I always love when you do, but times like tonight, you leave me messed up… I have all these thoughts and feelings that I can do nothing with. I have this weird numbness, this feeling in the center of my being that I would be love to not exist. You came into my day and I was happy but then you made things so complicated, we made things complicated. You made me think too much, you made feel raw. You made me try to understand the sum of all my feelings and yours again, in one sitting. Your silence alone makes me weary of how deep the talk goes and how many times we’ve had it. Even now I’m talking in circles. My feelings about you are so simple but together we make them complicated. Even simplifying it gives way to a tone of heartbreak or a ‘break’ simply put.

The Chalk Mural

Confused by her thoughts, she seeks solace, anywhere, but most specifically in her creating things. She finds herself horribly unhappy, wanting to burst out of herself. The music, once a heavenly chorus of sound, dulls. It begins to lose it’s flavor. Its sound doesn’t bind her the way it used to. Once she has tasted it over and over, she finds it has become boring. The voices the rhythms, still beautiful but not enough to pull her out of this state. He emotions become like quicksand, the sadness pulling her down, deeper and deeper until the more she smiles and breathes the worse it gets. She is accustomed to being sad or that dreadful “D” word that most creatives suffer on and off, but this time it felt different.

Her sadness had taken on a new taste, a new sting. She had been fighting for so long to find herself, to find her passion and life. Now the ironic blunder that life is had offered her this ridiculous, yet oddly satisfying thought- had her unhappiness, her restlessness and emptiness become her passion? (she laughs)  Was she now in a strange way finding that her passion  is in the searching for it? Now there’s an idea. She’d been searching for something to call her own, find her place, her talent, only to  realize or come to belief that she had been incomplete. She loved writing, but it scared her, so she could no longer finish new pieces. She loved photography once, but could not keep up with the technology, the science behind it. She loved making things, useful crafts, but she found herself with less means to make them, so was stuck, searching for the next DIY, while she dreamed of full pockets and shopping sprees to the nearest or most convenient art shop. She had her eye on those cans of glitter spray paint and that fabric paint was calling her. But she needed to plan and wait…for full enough pockets.

She loved singing and always dreamed of recording music, but something was never in her to know how to do it. Singing was another failed talent, (she thinks) and she now has this fear of losing her voice. She croaks slightly while singing along to her favorite songs. She frowns as Sam Smith comes on and she can barely, (she thinks) keep a decent tune. She is utterly afraid of ending up like that lady she once saw featured on Humans of New York, who had never found her passion in life. Could that be her? She wonders daily. God, lord what is she going to do when this final semester is over?! What will she do with her life? Will her struggle end? Will see finally dance, make things to her heart’s content, record a few songs, perform her poetry or write that book she had been wanting to for most of her life? What will she become? What will she be? Will she ever know? I pray she gets all the answers she’s looking for as she begins another strange distraction- her lonely scattered, chalk mural.

Let there be flowers and poetry and let all good things bloom on your life. Let all things bloom beautifully.

Angela Valerie

Dad’s Hugs

This is a short tale of the thing I miss the most in life, my father’s hugs.

My father’s hugs were my favorite because, he was tall and buff. He lifted weights often and he had bulging biceps and broad shoulders, the stuff awesome man hugs were made for. He’d never refuse my hugs or say anything to distract from the hug. I would happily listen to his heart beats, counting them in my head and if he happened to be drinking something, I’d listen to the way his stomach gurgled. Yes it’s a tad weird, but I kinda liked doing that, hearing the strangeness that goes on inside someone’s body as they hug you. I would have moments of awe and appreciation, thinking that the person I loved most was this fantastically made.

My dad was the biggest mystery to me and still is. I know nothing about his childhood or his life as a parent to my much older siblings before me, but I was proud to have my dad. I was proud to have both parents living in the same house…that was saying a lot. In my primary school days, you’d mostly hear about my classmates’ mothers, but you seldom hear about their fathers. It was their mothers who dropped them and picked them up from school. It was their mothers who ran the household, punished them, and who had to come in school when teachers called to complain. I even used to wonder if their dads even existed. I remember one time, my mom couldn’t pick me up from school, so my dad came instead, for what must have been the first time (can’t really remember if it was) but I when I saw him, his big muscles, his jheri curl reaching just around the top of the door frame, i could hide my excitement. I was so excited and so proud (and also wanted to rub it in my classmates face because my dad was awesome) that I ran to him and hugged him tightly. It was only afterwards I realized that maybe I should’ve dialed it down a little, try to be cool, like Yeah…you know what’s up, that’s MY dad! It will always be one of my fondest memories of him. I don’t even remember anything else about the memory except for how I felt and seeing him standing there at door with his signature crooked smile. I was a proud, happy daddy’s girl, all I wanted to be in those days.

Anyways i said, his hugs were awesome, and these days during my youth struggle, my mid-life crisis or whatever, no one in the world could give me a more satisfying hug than the one I wish I could have from my dad right now.

Happy New Year- New Challenges Ahead

You know how everyone says “new year, new me” ? Well over the years I’ve come to the detest the very thought or mention of such a phrase. I did something different for the New Year this time and spent it away from home, on a beach…weed in the air, alcohol on the brain, sand beneath my feet and the most annoying DJ and set ever, yet still I stood up and tried my very best to stay awake and alert. This was what I wanted, I’ve craved adventure, and fun and loud music and a beach and I was getting it, almost comically.

The year started off for me in a new space, new people and I was all chilled and mellow, but still I had this feeling in the back of my mind. I was uneasy. For me like many people, I imagine, the new year means change and big things, big scary things and more decisions to make. Everything is going up another level and though Tobago’s beautiful air, distracted me from that anxiety that is my constant companion, I came home and as I walked out the Port, I succumbed to the now unmuted anxiety. New Year means change, and here I was thinking, very unenthusiastically, it’s just the end of another full rotation around the sun…no big deal. But it is a big deal. It’s my last semester, my last shot to fix my gpa. My last chance to figure out what the hell i’m doing with my life! I’m freaking out about it just typing it.

The soothing sounds of Michael Jackson’s ‘You Rock My World’ keep things at bay. For now. But Yesterday I actually put together a list of resolutions, my first in years and it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve got lots of work to do and it feels like a there’s only a little time left to accomplish them. So here’s my thought process… my pressure builds and i list things.

Here’s what I know for sure.
I am in my twenties and I haven’t found what I’m truly passionate about.
Fear has kept me from doing anything worthwhile.
I am financially challenged (like lots of peeps in my generation)
I am afraid I’ll end up doing and being nothing.

Sometimes when I’m on the edge of this fear, these thoughts, I find a little ball of light that switches it around to say the opposite and I get Excited.

I am Young, I have all the time in the world to do many things. I will have so many experiences and learn about so much.
I will use my fear as a reason to work harder to do things, the more it scares me, the more i will want to try.
I may not have all the money I need to do things, but I will make do with what I have and don’t have.
I am a late bloomer, I am a blank slate, which means I am in an exciting time in my life where I can make myself into whatever I want and try different things, just because i’ve never tried them before. I am in a age of new.

I constantly need to remind myself… ‘Self, calm down, deep breaths, listen, think, remember what we talked about. Don’t get carried away.’ and thus my anti- negative list was born…again.
If you feel as I do, share your thoughts with me. If you understand the insanity and have survived…please don’t hesitate to throw a life raft. I struggle, but I ain’t that badly off as Trinis say.
Have any kind words to offer?

Have an Awesome Year Anyways!