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.

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.

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

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

Androgyny pt 5 – The key

Androgyny pt 5 – The key

The feminine spirit yields, by design. And just like a key to a lock, safety and security is a catalyst that transposes her heart from an implosion of harsh echoes to a gracefully tuned harmony. The masculine spirit at it’s highest potential has the ability to provide this dynamic.

The God entity is an example of this interchange, with it’s maleness and femaleness together, as one, in a genderless ability to be the strong protector or the intuitive nurturer, and many other observations of duality. One does not feel donned over the other, rather, both are effortlessly apparent and arise when needed.

Just like a rare lily, in the right environment and given tender loving care, the beauty of woman opens and blossoms. I’m enthralled by this, even as it happens again and again, within myself, and through me.  – Janberry

Androgyny pt 3 – Red lipstick

Androgyny pt 3 – Red lipstick

As she briskly applied the lipstick to my lips, the dam finally burst. It felt like spontaneous combustion. In my mind I see it play back and forth like those Boomerang videos: red lipstick – tears erupt, red-lipstick – tears erupt…

I hadn’t planned on crying but I just felt sooooo odd. This was me being dollsed up for Form 2 bazaar by my aunt.

The next year I wore a black mini skirt. It was cute, I admit, plus my karate instructor said he was passing through; needed to have my girl game tight riiiight. I don’t think that I’d rationalised it at all that much back then, but I remember Form 2 very well. As far as clothing went, I was in unisex heaven…Mummy had got me the Kriss Kross baggy pants (thanks to hip hop, baggy clothes were in style in 1993 through to 1995!) and a hockey top, plus I had those denim Farmer brown overalls with my green and white Ellesse sneaks. But after Form 3, the gates of unisex heaven closed on me,  and my mother resumed sending whatever was in ‘style’. I think I became minimalist after that just to avoid the torture of choice. I just wore the same thing repeatedly, whichever was most comfortable, and most unisex. –

Androgyny Pt 1

Androgyny Pt 1

I notice the things men typically notice…your saunter..the way you smile when you’re nervous..the roundness of your bosom… Since I was a teenager I’ve been struggling with my awareness of these subtleties. It has always made me extremely self-conscious, simultaneously wanting to tell you that you’re beautiful and I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for noticing that. Being an open book, it’s hard knowing that there is probably a gleam in my eye when I look at you…you, woman. In my fourth decade of life, I’m still trying to figure out how to hide the effect you have on me.
– Janberry

This series is meant to elaborate on the experience of an androgynous female..This entry raises more questions. Why do I feel this way? Is this normal? What percentage of this can I attribute to childhood experiences (negative or positive)? Whether or not these questions can or will be answered, I have determined not to continue fearing myself and how I feel…to stop being afraid of who I am, and venture into the expression of myself without first trying to subdue those parts.

Self-discipline: a learned behavior

Self-discipline: a learned behavior
At the end of 2012, I determined to bring myself up to a level of excellence in life that I knew would require discipline. The encouragement came at the time from the Christian bible. In it, the author Paul had written, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training…Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.”

You see, I’d been average my whole life. I’m naturally gifted and it seems everything I put my hand to, I have some measure of aptitude for it..this made me indisciplined and lazy. I’d coasted through most things giving only half of my effort. I’d even had teachers at high school commenting that very thing..”If only Janessa would make an effort, she would excel”. Well there came a time when I saw that for myself…and as I like to say, ‘What is seen cannot be unseen’. When you see that a change must be made, change and let growth happen. I determined to utilize the discipline of athletics to conquer my self and my self-sabotaging attitudes. I had no idea where the journey would take me but I was determined to press forward regardless of any obstacles.

I started off with no dietary changes and working out only five (5) minutes a day…that was all I could muster at high intensity. I didn’t try to build Rome in one day. I started very small. For an entire year, I made no dietary changes except for one – attempting to drink more water..incrementally drinking more and more water per month, per week and then per day as my trips to the bathroom became less of a bother. I did however work my way up to 30-45 minutes of high intensity interval training daily sessions during this year. I eventually bought a road bike and began cycling.

It was only at the end of the first quarter of 2014 that I began making dietary changes. I began preparing my own meals instead of buying food, learning how to make healthy home cooked meals by reading and experimenting. This began saving me quite a bit of money, which I invested into my training. I began running and bought gear consistent with running, including running shoes and a GPS watch. I ran my first half-marathon that year. I hope you’re noticing thus far that disciplined and healthy choices in one area of your life flow into other areas of your life. My brain became less foggy and I found myself being able to concentrate better for longer periods. I also made tremendous leaps in my self-confidence, not only because of physique changes but because I began to feel like I was in control of my body instead of my body being in control of me.

At the point at which I began cooking my own meals weekly and packaging them for the week, I dropped a few quick pounds. A co-worker at the time said she felt like I had dropped weight almost instantly. What she was witnessing was the difference dietary changes make. Exercise is great but what we eat will always be the difference-maker in our physique and health. By this time it was easy to continue making dietary changes because I’d made a habit out of cooking my own meals/snacks and walking with them wherever I went to avoid buying junk food. I’d also already made a habit of working out regularly – I didn’t have to think about it, I’d already re-wired myself.

You see..”despite what many may think, self discipline is a learned behavior.” This has to be my favorite line in this article: Proven Methods For Gaining Self Discipline – Forbes.

This is a misconception that I hear all the time from people who aim to live healthier lives. “Oh my gosh, but…the discipline!” We aren’t born with self-discipline but we can learn it.

The second misconception I hear all the time pertains to cheating and the guilt attached to it which can derail the course altogether. At one point in time, I would have had ‘cheat days’; it is something very popular in bodybuilding communities. Even then I tried to sustain within myself the discipline to cheat only on my cheat days. By consistently making small and progressively impactful choices that were difficult, I’d learnt that cheating affects none other than yourself. Through successes AND failures, I learnt that when you cheat, you reap disharmony and unhappiness. The ability to make positive choices make you a happier person with a less complicated life. Indulging yourself without self-control reaps destruction.

Becoming disciplined has helped me immeasurably. I now actively believe that I can achieve ANYTHING that I put my mind to because I’ve learnt how to diligently attack a goal: step by step, with consistent and disciplined effort. There are no shortcuts beside this…no fast-tracks, no diets and no super-pills..sorry.

I do like the fact that I can help people attain a better quality of life by being an example for it, though it’s always going to be a work in progress. I hope that the one thing you take away from this article is that discipline is a learned behaviour. I also secretly hope that you’ll notice that a three year journey has been described. It continues. You can do it too…start now and just keep going. Don’t stop, don’t ever stop.

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