Beneath The Surface

I’ve always found images depicting a cross section of the skin fascinating. I’m not a science whiz or anyone close to that actually – I’m a communications person – but, from the first time I saw a cross section of the skin I was enthralled. To me, my skin was always just this caramel, acne forming aspect of my body that I took care to moisturize regularly and was careful not be too harsh with because it’s sensitive. My skin is one aspect of me that ties me to my ancestors and the struggles faced by blacks the world over. I’ve learned to love it. Yes, learned to. There was a time when I would have traded it because I was ashamed of it and what it represented, I hated that some of the struggles I faced were based solely on the premise that I was born black. And I didn’t want those battles. So yes, I’ve had to learn to love my black skin and the strength, beauty, passion and power that comes with it.

There’s no struggle now though, where the colour of my skin is concerned. I mean, it irks me that  I’m plagued by acne whenever I’m stressed but the little suckers have grown on me and I’ve accepted them as a part of who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I am treating the marks left behind because I don’t want permanent skin damage as a result of acne but I don’t feel the need to hide nor apologise for the existence of little bumps on my skin. So yes, I’ve learned to love the skin that I’m in. I’ve digressed quite a bit from the point I wanted to make though so let me revert to my initial train of thought.

The cross section of the skin fascinates me because it appropriately highlights how beneath the surface of what we think we know are so many other layers. The skin is so thin and fragile at times it’s baffling that such a thin layer has other layers to it. I find it intriguing how it’s affected by our lifestyle as well; the things we eat and drink, the hygiene products we use, where we live, our sleep patterns, you name it and it probably affects our skin. And of course, it makes me think of me. How many layers of myself are there that I’m yet to discover? Am I truly aware of how my choices and my relationships affect the core of who I am?

I’m an insomniac and an overthinker: of course one lends itself to the other but what that means is I’ve had many nights to think about things and for a long time I spent those nights thinking about my life, assessing who I am and my place in the world. I would replay situations, scenarios and conversations and evaluate my response to them and dissect them so I could gain a clearer understanding of who I am and how I respond to various stimuli. I map my thoughts and actions back to Christianity and Christ most times because that’s the core from which I operate and I adjust my behaviour as I see fit. Suffice to say I know myself very well, my EQ is above average but I still find that I don’t know everything there is to know about me and that bothers me. I want to understand myself completely but I worry that if I take a closer look at the layers beneath the surface I won’t be pleased with what I find. I don’t know that I’ll be as fascinated with the layers to be unearthed as I’m fascinated with a cross section of the skin.

I’ve read many articles that say, as you grow you learn more about yourself. And as cliche as that sounds it’s true. The more I grow, the more I mature, the more I learn and the more I interact with people is the more I see things within me I didn’t realise was there. Whether they were always there or are new emergents I can’t say. What I can say, however, is it’s interesting to see and evaluate the new things that pop up every now and again. There’s always a new piece to add to the puzzle and figuring out where it goes and how well it works with everything already down on the table can be intriguing. We’re all just a bunch of layers and sometimes we don’t realize just how many layers are beneath the surface but I think they’re worth finding out about.

I think we’re all just a bunch of layers and sometimes we don’t realize just how many layers are beneath the surface but I’m sure they’re worth finding out about. People should know what they’re made of, we should understand ourselves as completely as possible. We should take the time to dissect each layer, understand how they work in tandem to others and how outside forces affect them ie. work, school, people.

What may seem like a complex mix beneath our surface may very well be what we need to become all that we’re destined to be. With all of that being said, I’m very much aware that this will be easier said and done but I think I’m ready to devote some time to peeling back some layers and truly understanding what I’m made of.


What do you call this?

My thoughts are scattered today so if my writing lacks cohesion and that irks you or causes dissonance of any kind feel free to step out of mind for now and return at a later date when I’d be more inclined to follow the rules of good writing and storytelling.

I’m a sceptic. I doubt things and people. I don’t believe anything is ever what it seems and I look at what isn’t being shown and listen to what isn’t being said. Scepticism has kept me sharp and protected me many times but there are days when I wonder what it feels like to embody an easy-going, naive existence. Today I’m thinking of death and deceit and celebrations I’d like to have but can’t because my resources are limited on this island. I’m conscious of my emotions and my capacity to wreak havoc with my words if should let them loose on those who are naive to my potential. Today I wish I wasn’t an emotional intellect. I want to be naive and do as I please with the protection of “I didn’t know that’s how you’d feel” to cushion the blow of any backlash my words would cause. But I don’t have that luxury. I’m too aware of myself and others to live such a reckless life.

Tomorrow will be the one-year anniversary of my brother’s death. Weeks ago I started writing a tribute to him but I can’t seem to finish it. I’m so angry with him for leaving us without warning. I hate that he fell in love and sacrificed his life for the woman he loved.  I wish she had died instead. I know that’s not what I’m supposed to feel. By society’s standards I should celebrate my brother’s heroic act and feel proud of him but I don’t feel that way. I hate that he drowned saving that girl’s life and I hate that his death corrupted the place where I’m most at peace. I hate that I don’t have closure because I couldn’t bear to see them pull his lifeless body out of the water so I didn’t go to see it, and now every time I go into the ocean I expect his body to bump into me as though he was never pulled out and never buried. I’m angry, bitter and sad. I want to scream at him and hit him so hard! I want to tell him how stupid he was to go into that water. I want to ask him if he thinks it’s fair that he broke his mother’s heart the way he did. I want to be the big sister that sets him straight and stops his foolishness but I can do none of these things nor be that big sister to him anymore because he left me. He loved a woman and chose to give his life for hers and didn’t care that he was shredding my heart to pieces in the process.

Today I’m tired and tomorrow will be worse. Wednesday, there’s a hope that Wednesday will be a better day (fingers crossed).

Gracious Goodbyes

I don’t convince people to remain in my life. I don’t try to convince them to stay when they decide it’s time to walk away and I never turn leaving into a long drawn out emotional process. I simply accept that their season in my life is over and I let them leave. I know my position may sound cold and maybe even unrealistic, but my life experiences have brought me to this place and I’ve embraced it.

This wasn’t always my stance. Once upon a time I wanted people to like me, to genuinely like me and see me for the wonderful person, I think I am. So, I would work hard not to offend anyone and if someone pointed out a flaw in my character I immediately got to working on it so I’d be the type of person they could like. The problem with that though is how tedious it was. I could never catch a break because every time I “fixed” something or changed something, someone would point out something new that they didn’t like and I’d have to fix that too. God forbid somebody tried to leave me in the midst of “becoming a better person”, I would be devastated and depressed. That all changed a few years ago.

I had a friend that I loved dearly. She and I were friends for 17 years and we did everything together. I thought it was a perfect friendship; a space where I could be me and not worry about being judged or misinterpreted. I shared my joys, my sorrows, my shame, everything with this person. I let my guard down completely and I figured this would have been my best friend forever! Imagine my surprise and pain when one day I got an email from *Sandy highlighting everything she thought was wrong with me over the past 17 years and her analysis of how terrible a person she thought I was. I literally broke down. I was shattered and I believed every word she’d written because she was the person I thought knew me best. Words can’t explain the devastation and guilt I felt after reading that email. At that point, I decided it would be best if I let Sandy walk away because I was no good for her and she would be better off without such a terrible person in her life (me).

In devastation, I sprinted in God’s direction and I prayed, and prayed, and prayed to God for forgiveness for my wrong ways. I got up every morning and asked God to heal my friend’s heart before attending to mine because I genuinely believed I was wrong and that I’d been a terrible friend.  That continued for a while and it wasn’t until about 2 weeks later that God responded and showed me who HE thought I was. He reminded me of my growth and my heart for others and my intention behind my actions. It was only then that I realised that people will always have an opinion of me but that doesn’t mean they’re right. People will always want to leave for one reason or another but other people will come and life will go on.

That’s why I don’t fight to keep people around and I don’t force friendships or relationships to work. When the time is up I accept it, I embrace it and I allow life to continue harmoniously. Goodbyes are a necessary part of life and I embrace them. I allow them to happen and I respond graciously because I’ve accepted that some people are a part of my life for a season and when that season is over I can accept it and say a gracious goodbye or I could prolong it and risk the relationship turning into a toxic, bitter space riddled with resentment and regret. For me, I’ll always say a gracoious goodbye and leave room for the possibility of rekindling what we’ve let go of if we so choose later on in life.

Tap-Out Thoughts

I hate coming home. Not because home is terrible but because home is home and my heart is here and every time I sit in this airport waiting to board a flight back to Jamaica my heart breaks. Sometimes I simply want to stop – come home, write an email to my lecturers and tell them that I’ve changed my mind and I’m not coming back. My comfort zone is tantalising and alluring, constantly provoking me to abandon what I’ve started and return to the place where I’m happiest and unchallenged. I’ve put on a brave face for my family and friends, but my heart is completely shattered and my eyes have felt the sting of tears during this past week too many times for my comfort. This is my second trip home in eight months and just as the time before this, I’m contemplating tapping out.

I’m at a point in life where all that I’ve done so far can be compared to little pieces of a picture and while I imagine the final product will be something offensively beautiful I’m not certain what it’s supposed to look like so I can only hope that all the pieces will fit together perfectly in the end. I chased after academia because he seduced me and I gave in but now that we’ve laid together I look at him and question what about him was so appealing that I decided to leave home and pursue sleepless nights at his Cabana in a foreign land. Hopefully, this is a phase, and soon I would shake this sullen feeling and be back to my bubbly, energetic self; taking on new challenges and making my mark on the world!

For now, however I am sad and I wish I didn’t have to leave this beautiful island and my amazing family to go back to Jamaica.