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.

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

Social? Media

A few days ago I closed all my social media – Facebook and then Instagram and lastly Twitter.

I found two things to be true for me:

Social media had become an extension of my ego..a need to control the narrative surrounding who I am…thereby making me feel good, feel proud.

I could succeed at social media but still fail at social interaction, and social interaction is something that I will always need to apply extra effort to. I’ve seen time and time again how social media and social interaction are not the same.

Growing up the way I did, it’s imperative that I get better at social interaction. It’s way too easy for me to revert to my comfort zone…being alone with a book or a paper and pen..and just not talk for weeks, months, years..

I came off social media so I could focus on actually increasing my social skills. That might be the height of irony.

Love these Walls Down

Love These Walls Down – released © 2015. Janberry.

A love anthem, of loss and love and recovery – much like the tales of spiritual search, great love is hard fought for but well worth it.

I decided to finally release this because there is a lot more music to come, so I’m flushing the archives. This is the first track on my sophomore album, which will be a dub album.

Dub Track produced/mastered by Mark ‘Jah Servant’ Giles
Composition/Vocals: Janessa ‘Janberry’ Mc Kell

Perfectly Imperfect

Perfectly Imperfect

I have spent a long time deliberately working through issues – plowing through them, sifting through them to uncover myself in the muck and mire of pain. In my first book’s cover, an image of me was propelling into the sky, slightly disentangled from a gooey and dark substance. I’d believed at the time, that the dark and gooey substance was so enmeshed in me that the only way to expunge it and free myself was through constant affirmation of the truth that I was essentially indistinguishable without it, unless I was re-made. So, my journey throughout Godcall was borne of renewal…and transformation.

I’ve come back to that dark and gooey substance only to see that I am indistinguishable from it, but also that spirit and flesh form me in the body of this old soul.

Some people say I talk in tongues…I often submerge my words under a sea of metaphor, to soften the blow of truth. Life is a deep thing – and I dive deep. Of course, I can tell you what I see under there but you will feel like it bore fangs and were devoid of light…unless you yourself have delved there – exposed yourself to yourself and confronted the realities of who you are without religion, without shame, without companion, without narratives, and looked at those demons. Scare them by your courage – they sit in the pit of your pain and fear gorging on your denial.

We are false and true, perfectly imperfect. There are things we know, and there are things we don’t know. I think the problem with humanity is that we loftily declare knowing. This is not relativism or existentialism (and if you’re wondering what that means, dictionaries are only a Google away). This is reality.

I’m precociously aware of the God who created everything I see. There are parts of me that I tried to separate and bury, so that a new self may emerge – and a new self DID emerge – one that grows bolder and bolder to delve beneath the surface until my self comes out victorious. I’ve become more of myself and to be fair to my self, I have to defend this self, so you may find that I am more able to, with clarity, tell you when you have stepped on that self…when you have stepped on my toes in your own attempts at self-exhortation.

You will find that I am bolder, and you may interpret it as confrontational. Don’t.



The thing about trusting God with your most intimate self, is that he will both build and destroy that self. God will tear down that which self-implodes and build new internal devices that switch on and tune in to his methods for ruling that intimate self towards wholeness and holiness. Giving my heart to God means I give him both the lovely and the unlovely. Everything can be used in his employ to show the willing their errors, either of omission or commission.

As I’ve spent a great deal of the past four to five months (actually I’ve lost track) in front of my computer working, you’d think God wouldn’t have anything to use to show me myself in the rearview mirror of my soul. Nope, wrong…turns out God is a mastermind at using whatever is available to him. So, the latest discovery is really just confirmation of something that’s been said to me, about me before. I’ve mulled it over prayerfully, painfully and with a purposeful attitude of either proving it wrong or right. As it turns out, I’m wrong. Here is the thing about growing in life – it’s a catch 22. You can’t grow unless you submit yourself to life but you’ll be put in situations where you can inflict as much hurt as will be inflicted on you. The growth comes in seeing yourself as wrong, even as you see the wrong of others. Even further growth comes by submitting what is shown to you about yourself back to the only one who can get you over yourself, God.

I’ve introduced my situation, now here it is. I was told I’d end up ‘alone’ if I did not stop repeating certain cycles. The real reason that conversation was happening had been glossed over to instead focus on my ‘soul cycles’. I could just take that and leave with it – which is what I did, but the other hurtful things that were said could hold me up in unforgiveness and help me harden my heart against truths that may have been uttered. I choose both for now. I won’t lie…I’m still having a hard time forgiving myself and those persons in that moment. I can however, choose to continue to lay my life down at God’s feet in the spirit of *David’s prayer regardless of how I feel about anything…wronged, hurt, sad, spiteful, whatever it is, I can continue to ask God, ‘Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life’ (Psalm 139:23-24).

‘You’ll end up alone..’. Be careful when you pray that prayer though, especially when you mean it. You may have to make choices…you may have to say, ‘God, okay, I believe me. Thank you.’

*David, the shepherd-boy who became king as told in the Bible.

Photo Credit:



Being a superhero is hard, especially when you’re not superhuman. You have no special abilities and there are no powers you can conjure to make time go back or speed up..make bullets stop or slow down.

super-heroine In a life committed to shedding the weight that keeps me from being myself..that keeps me from being me, often I must start over with fresh eyes..fresh insight..

A few years ago I discovered that I have a cape. I pull it out for damsels in never evoke this response in me but some women do. Most times it is women who perhaps I see a lot of myself in and want to rescue a distorted reverse of emotion. I was never ‘rescued’ from the pains and traumas I experienced in my life..I just grew older. And perhaps the cape comes out when those ’emergency’ sirens go off in my head.

I perceive these women only as needing help and neglect to see that their own pains block them from giving me what I need so it becomes a feeding frenzy. It turns into unrequited love, which turns into depression because once again I am reminded of the wall between the one person I wanted more than anything to love me back in a way I could mother, who has now passed on.
So I create my own monstrous circumstances because my perception causes me to act as a defense, a measure of stability and a rescue when it is not my position. No-one can do this for another person but God…and when I am no longer  ‘needed’, because I have positioned myself to only be ‘needed’, not ‘loved’ and ‘appreciated’, the relationship runs it’s course and crumbles miserably.

The sad thing about really living life well is that growth and freedom is a double edged sword.

It is impossible not to inflict pain on others. It can however be a stepping stone to growing so that you do not repeat the same mistakes again and again. Finding people who will patiently and lovingly bear with you and with themselves as we unwrap the layers of hurt from our lives and eyes that cause us to act in hurtful ways is the crux of healthy living.

This is where the double edged sword becomes most inflicting…in order to grow in relationship issues, one must relate. Vulnerability is absolutely necessary but it is this very vulnerability that uncovers the issues that cause pain to others and that have pained you. Most times you don’t know the issue until it pops up out of it’s hiding place. And even when you know there is something there, you need vulnerable friends who will not be so offended by the pains you inadvertently cause them but continue loving you through it, and sharing with you what they see but sticking by you to get better in weak areas.

Finding those type of friends is absolutely vital, and the first flag that you have not found a trusted friend is that they will not allow themselves to be vulnerable with you. How can they then be patient with your vulnerability and shortcomings if they are unwilling to let their own walls down?

This is hopefully the beginning of a chapter in a book I am writing called, ‘The Inside Story’ discussing the things people hardly reveal about their hearts.

To give more context to this particular issue, let me share a poem I wrote in 2011 when I first discovered my ‘superhero-ism’…

I need you

So, the heart says one thing
the mind another
cups of coffee dissolve the tension in my bowels
my gut solvent, thinking of the possibilities
human interaction is hard
to understand
to get right
being honest
makes for curiosity and anger
crossing lines of wisdom
saying too much
or saying too little
feels like my family
when is the time to tell them
how they’ve hurt me
or talk about how i’ve hurt them
the truth is
my passion is for people
regardless of their hurts
or mine
I’m so weak in the face of this
how can I be more
so that they can be less
in pain
reminds me of my family
i have to say so much for them to understand
its never enough..still
its still too little
that i give up when it hurts
i run
chike says that too
that i give up
that i shut down
what does he know anyway?
i actually rethought it
just letting go of all my hangups
about you, about my family
about chike, about myself
forgetting what i think
what i feel
and just enjoying the moment
but how does one do that exactly…
i think, i rethink..i plan..i shuffle
i reorder
and it doesn’t quite look like that all the time
that you’re not the only one hurting
truth is
i need you too
sometimes you think you
have things all figured out
and then your supergear tears
you lose your cape…
and you’re left realizing you’re as vulnerable
as the victims of your perspective
i need you too
i need you
i wish i could see that more
and think of it