Madness and Passion

Madness and Passion

In 2012, my mother was diagnosed with sarcoma (cancer of the muscle). She went on her annual Buddhist retreat that year and bought gifts for my father, brother and sister-in-law. My gifts were a ‘faith’ keychain, a card saying ‘Never Never Never Give Up’ and a journal with a quote on the cover; “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” 

I’ve been timid about writing in that journal but the quote on the cover is quite a meditation. I decided to do it, to go in the direction of my dreams…and to do it confidently…

Firstly, it required confidence…I didn’t know this feeling in its entirety before. It felt like all of a sudden I was cocky..it is a sort of bold, gritty feeling..a ruthlessness, an unwillingness to accept ‘No’ from myself but willing to see and follow any ‘Yes’ that was consistent with my dreams, simply because I can. Confidence says to you, “Yes, you can.” Yes, I can.

I had to believe that I was worth my dream…That was hard. I had to stop fearing my dreams…that was harder. And I had to be willing to go after MY dreams, not someone else’s dreams for me…THIS was the hardest because taking that step would cut me off emotionally from anyone who would rather manipulate me into their version of me than accept who I truly am.

At the beginning of the process, I had to surrender my time to diligently planning and building the consistency of getting one or more thing(s) done toward my dreams every single day.. I had to say ‘No’ to many things and I had to begin to work…really work at it..hard work too!

I’ve had to be fierce and unrelenting when I’d rather give up. At the times I’m most ready to give up, a change of perspective or approach or a poignant question of, “What am I learning about myself or this situation in this moment?” would move me forward.

I love to journal so I know my biggest fear about beginning to use this journal is that dream-making never ends but the journal will run out of pages eventually.

I am a work in progress, confidently charting my own course, fearlessly believing in my abilities and purpose. And figuring out that the things most worth it, most consistent with my life-work require me to ‘never never never give up…’
What are your dreams? Have you begun working on them?

growing pain

growing pain

Only now growing up socially…

worse things have happened.

failing forward. inertia dragging my emotions along.
age means nothing anymore,
and I have to accept that,
painful like teeth emerging.
Tooth fairy, spare me a dollar nah?
I’ll pay it back, just let me move forward painlessly.
harder on myself than anyone will ever be,
even still, the warrior way is not…painlessly.

– janberry. © 29 mar 2017. 12.16pm.

Moon of Old

Moon of Old

Sages sprinkle their white ash and hum in quiet

in quiet, they repose..

old songs run down their walls

like movements of sound

ringing out in the black

in the quiet.

through the metal bars,

she shine, she illuminate

through the hate, they illuminate

shamans of love

rush in and bow to the sky.

Your purity is more than me,

and more than I.

You are old,

older than me,

you’re all older than I.

You know things I cannot say.

Sages you wring the night dry,

washing your rhythms in time.

On your metered prose

I can only sing,

over you,

under you,

with you,

to you,

for you,

moon of old.

 

– janberry. © 16 mar 2017. 4.04am.

Far from finished

Far from finished

Far from Finished by Voice revealed our innately progressive nature, always yearning and stretching toward a better self. Trinbagonian optimism overrides our toughest circumstances, and Full Extreme from Ultimate Rejects captured this unflinchingly. The truest songs always resonate the most.

When 3 Canal’s, Blue, was first released, I was still cloistral; living aside from my queerness and love for women. In the video for Blue, I saw in the gyrations, a liberation and celebration that made me ask my teenaged self, ‘When will I ever be blue?’

I fought myself for 20 years and my self won. I am blue this year, blue with liberation, blue with celebration, blue with self knowledge, blue with empowerment, blue with gratitude…20 years later. How magical! Time is writing me an awesomely #blue story.

“So run tell Iwer George and Blaxx that they cyah take meh title..dis year, I’s meh only rival..” – Voice, Far From Finished

I am my only rival and I’m far from finished. – Janberry

Androgyny pt 8 – Seen

Androgyny pt 8 – Seen

What has been seen cannot be unseen. I was bent over and clasping her bracelet, when my body began to shake. Tremors…like little jolts of awareness. This is too much. I let my knee touch the ground so I wouldn’t fall over and bowed my head. I’d given her this bracelet. How could I be so oblivious? Why didn’t I see this?

…..

Halfway through this series I wrote about seeing, really seeing. It’s an odd concept, eh? I’ve been told that the way I write is a bit like navel-gazing. It is really…but that’s on purpose. Consider…if we are mirrors. The more I clean my mirror, the better you can see yourself in me…through me. Seen? Scene.

– Janberry

(..final installation of the Androgyny series. Thank you for reading.)

Androgyny pt 7 – In my skin

Androgyny pt 7 – In my skin

I’ve had to sketch my left hand quite a few times in my life…why is this an art school’s favorite exercise? My first observation whilst doing this was that I have my fathers hands…veiny brown stubs adept at any work requiring steadiness. This was adding itself to the growing body of evidence that I don’t quite fit where I ought to have fit. I have a case of the disappearing boobies, my father’s hands, insanely detailed fascinations with women and a very deep sensitivity to their needs. Hmm..? I’ve explored many aspects of myself trying to gain a full rounded understanding of all my roots, and two stories come to mind.

I’d borrowed my mother’s grey Timberlands but loosened the laces, the way Method Man wore his. This, with a black hoodie and sweatpants. I put my foot up on the bus seat and leaned against the window closing my eye. I was traveling with the women’s basketball team to some town outside of Boston and it was going to be at least 2 hours until we were there. I posed for most of that time. The girls were watching. Beaming..inside.

I looked in the mirror, and thought wow, now this is sensible..I don’t even look like I have any make-up on. Nat had gifted me with a personal makeup coaching session, where I’d learned how to apply make-up for daytime and night-time looks. I could decide how I wanted my face to look, and having that power made experimentation easy because I knew what I was doing. This was a good start. Beaming…inside.

Along the way and after other experiments I’ve resolved that the expression of neither of these exclusively feels good. Men’s clothing make me feel better inside my skin but it should be just so that my female definition is still evident. Make-up is mostly useless and dresses and skirts feel like jail, allowing limited expression. I think Maya Angelou’s quote on personal style/comfort does the best at explaining it.

“If I feel good inside my skin and clothes, I am thus free to allow my body its sway, its natural grace, its natural gesture.”

– Janberry


This is the second to last article in this series. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented, though privately.

Androgyny pt 6 – Him

Androgyny pt 6 – Him

I always refer to Yadah as the first man. He treated me with such tenderness, and made me feel safe..adored, easing me into an understanding of the spiritual dance between masculine and feminine. He was barebacked, and seemed very much at home without a shirt. His muscles twitched with even small shifts in his stance. He was brown, almost golden, as his complexion reflected so much of the sun that his skin itself shone. With his tanned locks, I’d imagined that this is what they called ‘sun-kissed’. I laid in the hammock and dozed off but the intensified aroma woke me up some time later. As my eyes opened, Yadah instinctively turned around, offering me something to drink. He dug into the cooler, pulled out a beastly cold LLB, popped the top, placed a straw in it’s mouth, and then apologised for having no napkins before handing it to me. Before I could get halfway through my drink, the need to pee urged me out of the hammock. My heart rate sped up, in tandem with my level of vulnerability, as I tapped Yadah on his shoulder and told him. He brought along tissue paper, and held my hand as we descended a slight embankment into a patch of the forest where I would be hidden from view. Before leaving me, he explained that he would be out of sight but that he would hear me when I called. I peed, and then called out to him. He led us out, after washing my hands with water he had brought along. When we returned, the soup was finished, and he helped me into the hammock, washed my feet from the trek and handed me a bowl of soup in a calabash bowl, carefully swaddled by a cut fig leaf.

Yadah left me with a lifetime of energy to contemplate and be embraced by. I would, from thereon use him as a base to question, explore and understand my response to men. 

Three years after Yadah, I would find myself sitting in pre-marital counselling talking about my feelings for my husband-to-be, and for men in general. We were engaged and I should have told him…that my problem wasn’t the love that he gave, but with the love that I could not return. I wouldn’t understand it then, but we were too similar in our intentions and desires. – Janberry