Complaining…

As my vacation came to an end, I spent long moments reflecting. These moments were quite different from the first half of my vacation. Those were days I spent on a cruise mingling, making new friends, enjoying the entertainment and exploring new locations. These were all activities designed to feed my outgoing side. The only times I took for deep introspection were pre-dawn when I religiously got up to catch the sunrise. These were some of the most beautiful sunrises I had ever seem. As I stood on the ship’s deck and gazed at the sun rising from the horizon, I couldn’t help but feel in awe of God for His majestic works.

My latter vacation days were totally different. I spent hours on introspection as I thought about who I am and my year. I guess you guys can call this my year in reflection post. For the first time in many years, I can honestly say that I cried a lot this year! I cried during movies, I cried when I felt hurt or overwhelmed and I laughed until I cried. The difference though was that I ensured that for each of those moments I cried, I found even more powerful and soul-cleansing moments to laugh and smile about. So even though I cried a lot, I also laughed, smiled and played a lot.

I have a confession to make. This year, especially towards the end, there were many times I felt tired and ready to give up. I had some serious lows.

  1. Early in the year, my sister and I met in an accident with a Leyland truck on her way to drop me to work.
  2. My youngest nephew ended up in the hospital twice this year.
  3. While learning to drive, I hit someone’s car.
  4. I lost a close friend.
  5. I had my first failure to effectively close out a project. 
  6. While dealing with the ending craziness of that project, I received news that my grandmother was in the hospital and could have died. 
  7. While dealing with the craziness of the project, I got ill. My anemia started acting up to the point where I shivered constantly even in warm weather and fought waves of nausea and dizziness. As if that wasn’t enough, I also had to deal with issue that had affected me emotionally. In truth, #6 and #7 left me an emotional wreck.

In those moments, I can truly understand if God felt a little exasperated with me but through it all, He patiently taught me to focus on the silver lining that existed in each dark cloud.

  1. Both my sister and I escaped the accident without a physical scratch. We were alive! The car got fixed!
  2. My nephew is home, happy and well. None of his illnesses affected him long term.
  3. We got the man’s car fixed although he was a bastard about the issue.
  4. Maybe that friend was not supposed to be a part of my life beyond that point. My life now has less drama.
  5. The project gave me a lot of experience that I can use to effectively build my career. I also got a chance for a do-over.
  6. My grandmother is now home and recuperating.
  7. That period gave me the chance to see what I am made of. Despite being ill and feeling intimidated at times, I was not built to break.

You are not built to break either. Don’t waste time and energy complaining! Even in the darkest of storms, you can find the light. After all, with storms come the lightening. Loves, you are stronger than you think because it is in your weakness that you will find God’s strength.

XOXO,
Chañel.

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My Perfect Mistake

​Headiness was catching
Talking, laughing
Mind alighting
Yearning…
Touching?
Forced to face
You weren’t surface but buried flesh-deep
A thorn, you are
My perfect mistake.

Ravaged by a few
Perfect-imperfect moments
Lolled into a false sense of security.
Awakened with the knowledge
Nothing is as it seems.
I was the surface
Just goosebumps, I am
Your unacknowledged mistake
While you were buried flesh-deep
A thorn, you are
My perfect mistake.

Distracted. 
Lost to space and time.
While wise mind screams, “Let it go.”
Hurt heart wonders, “Why?”
And worries bout you.
Body and soul steels and suffers
Forced to face each day
The evidence of my perfect mistake.
The thief? The deceiver?
Buried flesh-deep
A thorn, you are
My perfect mistake.

XOXO,
Chañel.

Dating the Dozen

Can I tell you guys that I started year 24 with a lot of hope. I was determined that it would be my best year yet especially, as my supervisor reminded me, it was my year according to the Chinese. Year 24 has been challenging, frustrating and rewarding. Most importantly, it is the year that I’ve learned to be brave and to find, define and focus on the positives.
 After almost three years of chosen singleness, I felt ready to be open and step out again. Fear and indecisiveness ruled me until my friends took matters into their own hands. Before I had time to think, I was agreeing to do to something different. My friends would ensure that I went on at least one date per month! 
That challenge was successful in a way that I didn’t expect! It turns out that my friends’ taste in men may be as atrocious as mine but these were experiences worth having. I didn’t find “the one” but some of these experiences forced me to find positives in some very dark clouds.

  1. Mr. April, a friend, reminded me to listen. I was blown away by the simple yet considerate touches he made to ensure our picnic date was memorable. Read more about that experience here.
  2. Mr. May, the lawyer who boasted constantly about himself and his successes reminded me of the grace and dignity which exists in being humble. 
  3. Mr. June, the guy who felt the need to tell me exactly where he thought a woman’s place is – in the home and breeding – reminded me of the importance of chasing after what i believed and never letting anyone, but God, stick a label on me.
  4. Mr. July, the guy who made me laugh until I cried, reminded me of the joy that came with smiling from within and being silly just because and the joy that exists in sharing that light. 
  5. Mr. August, the guy with the gap in his teeth who tried to grope me, gave me two lessons. The gap reminded me of a close friend I had a few years ago who disconnected when we had a major fall -out. Realizing how much I missed him, I reached out and we reconnected. He also reminded me of the importance of treating persons in the way that I expected to be treated. I walked away without giving him the kick my indignation said he deserved.
  6. Mr. September taught me to be open to expressing myself and slowing down and taking the time to savour the things I enjoy. I now ensure that I take the time to stop and smell the roses and, most importantly, to relax.
  7. I didn’t go on a date with Mr. October but, whilst he intrigued and challenged me and made me want more, he also served as the biggest and most painful lesson of all. Crying, even in bathrooms, when disappointed or hurt is not an indication of weakness or defeat but of strength, especially when after you are done, you get up and get back in the game swinging with all your might. Weakness is your unwillingness or inability to deal with the hurt/disappointment and allowing it to take root and fester inside. He reminded me to BE BRAVE!
  8. Following Mr. October, I took November off to ensure that I did not suffer any emotional ill-effects. I stepped back in the game after meeting Mr. December on my cruise. He reminded me to embrace the woman I am but not be afraid to let my inner child out to play. Guys, being chased, screaming and laughing in the rain is exhilarating! An added bonus is when, though you are soaked, the guy you are on a date with catches you and then looks and proclaims you the most beautiful sight he has ever seen. In that moment, I found myself wishing I could bring him back to Jamaica with me.

More than 3/4s of my experiences so far haven’t been anything to write home about but they have been very eye-opening. In fact, I look forward to continuing the challenge right up to the end of March 2018. You see guys, no matter how despairing, disheartening and disappointing the situation may seem, it’s all about perspective. 

I prefer to believe that there is a good reason or positive light to every negative. God has too much in store for you for you to only focus on the negative side of any experience you have!

The glass is only half-empty if you choose to see it that way. As for me? I prefer my glass half-full with a lot of room for possibilities, opportunities and…good wine. 😉 What about you?

XOXO
Chañel.

The Subject of Crying

Maybe no one told you that there was strength in your tears. – Kelly Clarkson

I used to be one of those females who believed that crying was a sign of weakness. Well, it should be the flip as crying doesn’t show that you are weak but rather that you have strength. It takes strength to show others that you are vulnerable. One of the things that have really struck me is that although tears show considerable strength, we tend to apologize anytime we become emotional in the presence of a group or others – especially if we don’t know them well. I had to ask myself: ” Why do we do that?  Why is it not okay to become emotional whenever we want?”

Here are a few reasons why tears, whether in public or private, are okay.

  1. Tears enable us to get in touch with our deepest feelings. Unless you’re putting on a really good act, eating onions, or acting in a movie scene, tears express the rawest emotions within. We have all had moments when a really amazing gift or gesture had brought tears to our eyes. We cry when we share moments of great elation with others. There are many times, I’ve laughed until I began crying. Tears are also an expression of grief at endings or the loss of those who are precious to us.

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Contemplations at 23

April 16 was my last day as a 23-year old. I’ve been very contemplative as I review the year that I have gone through. The highs, the lows and the in-betweens. As usual, I’ve learnt a few lessons that I want to share.

  1. Laughter and smiles are important: Life will never be fulfilling unless you remember to enjoy it. Laugh until your tummy aches and you are forced to stoop. Smile until your cheeks hurt. Smile, even when you don’t feel like smiling or people think you are crazy. Eventually, it will transform your heart and your day as it becomes genuine.
  2. Whatever you do, have fun: I believe there is some level of fun to be had in whatever we have to do. Sometimes we get caught up with experiencing the dark clouds of things we don’t want to do, that we forget that one silver lining that changes the equation. Life is fun, it’s just a matter of perspective. Find your silver lining and enjoy the hell out of it!
  3. It is okay to cry: I’ve cried many times this year. I’ve cried when I’m ridiculously happy. I’ve laughed until I cried. I’ve cried when I’m sick and feeling really vulnerable and my friends tried to force me to eat. I’ve cried when I’m sad. I’ve cried when the sad part in movies connected with my soul. I’ve cried just because. A few years back, I would have been mortified to admit to crying, but now, pssshhh, crying is healthy. 
  4. Be Kind: Persons may forget your name or even how you look but they will never forget the way you made them feel. Practice being kind in words, thoughts and deeds. You will be memorable for positive reasons.
  5. Your level of faith determines your altitude: Some of us can’t envision beyond what we can see. This is a terrible injustice to you and the world. In year 23, I committed to reading 100 books. I didn’t have the time, I couldn’t even imagine how I would do it but I DID. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it. Dare to dream and reach out and actualize.
  6. Be comfortable exiting your comfort zone: “Great things are on the other side of your fear.” 23 was a great year for me because I did several things that scared the crap out of me but left me feeling exhilarated, once completed. I had a lot of firsts! I did my first radio and television interviews. I wrote my first newspaper article. I gave my first live speech for a cause I care deeply about. I ran my first full-blown project! And the great thing is? I loved it! Great things are not born in comfort zones. If I can step out, you can too. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
  7. Don’t force it: Anything that is meant to be yours will be. It’s preordained. If the puzzle piece has to be forced into a spot, chances are it is not the correct piece. Don’t force friendships! Don’t force relationships! Don’t try to force destiny! I can assure you that it’s probably one of the few things you will regret doing in life. Let things flow naturally. If that spot belongs to that piece, it will fit!
  8. Be comfortable in your skin: Sweetheart, if you think you are weird, it’s obvious you haven’t met me 😂. I am the woman who walks around fake-shooting and high-fiving people in the office. Though I wonder if I’m the crazy one, because, they actually return my gestures. I talk/sing to myself as I work or study. It took our CEO, who sits beside me, just a week to realize this habit was just one of my super qualities. The point I’m trying to make is: BE YOURSELF. No one will ever do you as well as you do you.

I’ve began declaring into the atmosphere that year 24 will be a great success. I will spread my wings and soar.

I am looking for some creative firsts to try in year 24. Any ideas? Drop me a comment in the area below.

XOXO,
Chañel.

I am THANKFUL

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As I knelt praying a few moments ago, I found myself reflecting on how I was almost four years ago and immediately I felt thankful. Sometimes we take the simple things for granted but if we just take a moment to look back… If you would just take a moment to remember where He brought you from and what he has brought you through, you would realize just how much you have to be thankful for.

Almost four years ago, I had just had my first true taste of what it felt to have my heart shattered into a million pieces. I had bet it all one person and my friends and they had failed me terribly. I spent many late nights crying my eyes out and then trudging to work in the morning and then school in the afternoon. The nights I cried, I would curl in a ball and hold my chest because frankly my heart hurt like hell and I didn’t understand why. That was my cycle! I had lost my smile, my laugh, my heart and soul felt extinguished, I was tired, I wasn’t eating or sleeping well and I was on my way to failing my first semester of university.

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I Didn’t Know My Own Strength

I came across this song today and it opened up a lot of memories for me. I must say that in many ways, the first time I heard this song turned out to be the turning point of the downward spiral I was on.

I’ve been an avid fan of the series Being Mary Jane since it started. I don’t know how to explain it but she is someone that most, if not every female, can relate to in some manner. The struggles she face. Her fears that she is getting older and whilst she has a great career, her personal life is in shambles. For me, when I started watching, these were struggles and fears I could relate to.

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