Happy Independence Day, Jamaica! Happy 51st birthday, my love

This one is dedicated to the land of my birth. My Jamaica. Sweet Jamdung.

You have made me who I am today and a vital part of me and you is how awesome we are. I could not write the words to capture the love I have for you and your people. We are flawed, yes but we are still young as an independent nation and I know we will get there. The fact that you have produced someone like me and that there are amazing, forward-thinking, compassionate people like the ones I am blessed to call friends and family makes me unable to give up on you even in our hardest times. Maybe it has to get worse before it gets better but I know it will get better.

Jamaica, I love you. I love you. Your culture, your food, your people, your language. I am proud to say I am your daughter even though many may say I shouldn’t be. There’s a magic that comes with being Jamaican that some can’t see or understand. Some of your own have yet to tap into that magic and some even try to deny it. Still you rise. Your greatness will shine through one day. I hope I am here to see it but if I am not, I hope descendants of mine will grasp how deserving you are of your moment. Stay strong. Be patient. Get wise. Get ready to work.

Big up yuhself, goodie! 51 n still a step trang! Yuh likkle but yuh tallawah an’ all who doan like it can bite it! Wi naa penny di badmind people. Dem heart dirty and a dat a get di bes’ o dem! Wi jus a gwaan cut and go chru caa love ina wi heart!

🙂 That was for my Jamaican readers. It’s not patois as would be written by our linguists but it’s patois until we iron out the details (read: get standardized and mainstream) and that’s what counts.

I’m off to Grand Gala now, lovelies. Jamaicans know how to put on a show if nothing else and we know how to enjoy our damn selves. Let me get to that.

One Love. 🙂

End of post pic JA
Photo Credit

 

Until next post!

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Casual Sex. It’s in the formalities really

A couple of weeks or so ago I watched the pilot episode of the series Being Mary Jane on BET and I noticed a strong reaction from my timeline on Twitter when the lead character decides to have casual sex with a former flame. Some were all for it but most were judging. Maybe they were still recovering from the scene where she got her a heaping dose of predate self-love to ensure that she wouldn’t be ruled by her hormones on said date.

But back to the matter at hand. *snickers* I promise that wasn’t planned. Read More

On Virginity and value and vagina, I guess

the state of your hymen has nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with your worth as a human being“.

It saddens me that I feel compelled to share this message in 2013. But I must admit that even in jest, in private, with friends, I help to perpetuate the myth that the state of your vagina somehow speaks volumes about your womanhood and overall worth.

Let me be clear, I do not think that any woman is worth any less the further she is away from virginity and I never have. I have, however, made jokes and laughed at jokes with my friends that had to do with the compactness of one’s “walls”. I promise to make a conscious effort to stop this for good. Read More

76 + 4 (JA Blog Day: Police and Security Force Abuses)

JA Blog Day 2

1 “Good morning, affisa”, I always said

2 Whether they wore khaki or black with the blue seam or red

3 Even when they ignored me time and again

4 I felt all police officers were my friends

5 I mean, their job was to protect and  to serve people like me

6 So I understood in the moments that they may have been a little grumpy

7 And then I grew up and something changed

8 My friends became rivals, their roles rearranged

9 Their job was to hunt

10 to bag and tag or to cage

11 With eagerness and bloodlust

12 With arrogance and with rage

13 God forbid we utter a word

14 The wolves drove by in jeeps ready to dwindle the herd

15 And the nearby bushes through which we always escaped

16 Opened up on the other side to a hole that gaped

17 An orifice filled with the sinking sand that was

18 The criminal system skewed in favour of “the fuzz”

19 Your only crime most times was being born in a forsaken place

20 Or being viewed as the worst of the most vicious race

21 No one on your side so we turn to weapons instead

22 Steel, metal, copper, lead

23 Powder so explosive, it made ears bleed

24 Its grains so fatal, it made hearts bleed

25 If we were going to be dubbed criminals

26 We were going to act like it

27 But these were real life performances

28 Not a play nor a skit

29 If God be for us—

30 What God do you mean?

31 The God that let the bullets rip through Crabby’s spleen?

32 The God that let Vanessa’s young soul be taken  at sixteen?

33 The God that let Kay-Ann and her unborn lose their light?

34 The same God that sent the police to Kavorn’s house that night?

35 Or did you mean Dudus- the god we knew and could touch?

36 The one who gave us miracles while not asking for much

37 Who gave us food, shelter and clothing everyday

38 Who looked out for the poor by making the rich pay

39 That was our saviour and we would have fought to protect him

40  We would have stood up firm against my former friends even when things looked grim

41 “Jesus died for us, we will die for Dudus!”

42 And so we did

43 It goes without saying that as bleak as things seemed

44 This wasn’t the future I envisioned when I was a kid

45 But neither did Shanell when we used to be close

46 Of all my friends with potential, she had the most

47 Then she developed a penchant for men in uniforms

48 She was so focused on the roses, she could not see the thorns

49 So she was cut and she bled out

50 The first slice ensuring she could not shout

51 You see, many focus on the abuse they dish out on the streets

52 The blood spilled and bruises caused before open eyes and closed mouths

53 But they fail to also see the destruction they cause behind closed doors

54 With the ones who have to take the licks they couldn’t get to give out

55 The ones who bear the burden of the sanction applied

56 for the violation suffered to the innocent until tried

57 But no one felt it for my friend- “Shi can tan!”

58 “Nuhbady neva tell har fi tek up soldier man”

59 And this is true, no one did

60 But that didn’t explain why people were not livid

61 We had become so complacent in our lives that we acquiesced to our deaths

62 Passively waiting to be forced to walk the plank

63 So used to this ill-treatment and indignation

64 That when we were asked to draw justice, our minds became blank

65 The emptiness the perfect canvas to be painted on by those at the top

66 Those who had money in their pockets as well as the top cop

67 We were seduced with promises of a better life for our families and loved ones

68 Of chicken back and oxtail and all our favourite cuisine

69 In exchange, we just had to use our weapons as spears and our bodies as shields

70 To serve and protect our yellow king and Mama queen

71 So we made this small sacrifice daily, to our loss

72 But we kept getting more promises- “Mi soon sort yuh out, boss”

73 Until one day, we were sorted in our final positions

74 It all happened so fast, we couldn’t make actual decisions

75 We were pawns in a game we didn’t sign up to play

76 May 23, 2010- never forget that day

PLUS

1 Three years since our cries were last heard

2 Our souls still don’t know peace

3 And my last thought as my blood made the earth run red?

4 The fact that “Good morning, affisa”, I always said

The first annual Jamaica Blog Day is today and its date commemorates three years after the date of the Tivoli Massacre. Bloggers from Jamaica or with Jamaican heritage are seeking to collectively bring awareness to issues of significance. None is more important that that of Police and Security Force abuse. To date, allegedly 76 fatalities were suffered by civilians with 4 of these being presumed deaths of missing people. These numbers are the reason for the title of the poem and the amount of lines used.

I looked at domestic violence involving a security force officer because this doe not immediately come to mind when we hear the term “police and security force abuse” and it needs to be acknowledged because this group is especially prone to aggressive manners of resolving problems and the victims of these resolutions are generally unable to speak out. The pathology of a person given a great deal of power (read: access and weapons) to protect and as much freedom as those in the Jamaica Defense Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force is of paramount importance. It is time for an upheaval.

However, let it be observed that the change in psyche is not only due for the officers but citizens as well who have been abused into silence.

This is a very heavy topic and it has not been easy creating a post around it. But, thankfully, this train was not being driven by me alone. I must thank @cucumberjuice and @anniepaul for creating Jamaica Blog Day and I hope it was more successful than either of you imagined.

P.S. I read the intro paragraph of @Petchary’s post for JA Blog Day and it gave me the numbers that inspired the title.

 

All names used are actual victims of police or security force abuse in Jamaica.

Until next post!

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Gallon Milk Pranks. Here’s What I think

There have GOT to be better ways to make comedy
There have GOT to be better ways to make comedy

Source

On the topic of  “Things People Think Are Funny But Nas Finds Appalling” is the new “Gallon Milk” Prank videos.

Now this may cause people to say that I can’t take a joke and I truly don’t care. People who generalize based on one incident are generally not worth vesting much care into (unless you like being frustrated) and the people who find this type of humor appealing are probably not my comedy crowd anyway.

These pranks involve someone holding a (gallon) bottle or two of milk and throwing it/them on the floor so they burst while simultaneously throwing themselves on the floor to make it appear as if they fell and that is what caused the milk to burst and spill. Sounds uber fun and funny, right?

All I see is people who are wasteful and inconsiderate. I doubt they pay for the milk unless there are cameras around that the supermarket owners decide to check. But someone has to pay for the milk anyway. And even worse, someone else has to clean up their mess. I also despise pranks that have to do with wasting good food that so many around the world have to go without.

 

 

snape annoyed

Source

These pranks get three eye rolls and two thumbs down from me. NOT FUNNY.

Until next post!

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No Love For Loud Women

Disclaimer: “loud” is not limited to volume. I use it in reference to being opinionated as well in this piece. Enjoy.

It’s a long-standing belief that children should be seen and not heard. As children get older, the dynamics of this notion change. The boys grow up being taught that they should show out. They are encouraged to get out there and experience the world, take risks and to be as bold as they want to be. Girls, on the other hand, are told that they should be demure, bashful…refined. Oh, how I love the way they spin these things as if they are positive attributes all around. No offence to those of us, male or female, who are bashful or demure- some of the best people are. But to force someone into a box and stifle their expression of self based solely on their genitalia is bull.

 

I grew up very quiet, worryingly so in fact, if my father’s stories are to be believed. No one forced me to be. I simply was. I would observe the world around me but not get pulled into it because I was to absorbed in my own or too busy escaping into the worlds painted with words on the pages of books by authors I felt were my friends. Authors like Enid Blyton. She was my penpal who I never wrote back and she never made a fuss. She just kept writing stories and sending me secret messages. For instance, she was the one who revealed to me that my stuffed animals and toys all came to life whenever I slept. Before this tidbit was shared with me, I never thought twice about the fact that they were almost never in the same position that I left them before I went to bed, when I woke up.

 

And then I started changing. Not prompted by any event in particular but I started owning my voice and sharing it with others. And they liked whatever I had to say. So much so that my mother was told by my teacher in the fifth grade to ensure that she nurtured the leader in me. Mom shared this story with me when I was much older. We skip along to high school and this is where my light burned brighter. I was no longer keeping one foot on the side of cautious while dipping the other over the line into the sands of tenacity. I met others who were similar and we enabled each other in a way only teenage girls bonding through puberty could. We bounced ideas, thoughts, feelings and expressions off each other and we journeyed into the land of young womanhood with our vocal cords strained from the volume of our expressed glee and enthusiasm.

 

And then we hit a wall. Societal expectations. Like hands clasped around our throats, we soon learned that being free with your words is a privilege not afforded to “ladies” and the ultimate goal of any female is, of course, to be seen as a lady, right?

 

I felt confused and out of place but no more so than I did navigating the other aspects of my life so I did not think much of it. Until I began to feel the sting from the rejection and ridicule that others doled out when in my presence. It hurt most when it came from an object of my affections. Somehow I ended up picking someone who felt it pertinent to explain to me that being “loud and opinionated” would get me nowhere, not just with him (let’s not focus on the fact that he was already my boyfriend of many months) but in general. “People don’t like loud women”. Oh, ok. Thanks for letting me know. No, really.

 

So I began the course down the rockiest and most discouraging road I had taken in my life up to that point- the road to being ladylike (read: quiet). This much I can tell you- I tried.

 

But my being would not have it. I wondered why I would feel so small in the presence of some folks and I assumed it was because I was just not quite getting a handle on how to be acceptable. Wow, was I wrong. I felt small because my persona was so busy fighting this façade that only a minute portion of me was left to present to the world.

 

And it hurt. It sucked. It broke me. Nothing is worse than not being true to you. That acceptance you crave will not fill the void. Trust me. How can others accept you when you haven’t accepted yourself? How can they love you when you don’t show yourself the love you deserve?

 

It took years. It took trials. It took tears and screams and fights. But finally, the loud girl has been heard. I don’t know how she must have felt, not being heard by her own self. Actually, I do. I mean, I am talking about me albeit in the third person. But we have made amends. I have apologized and she has forgiven me. I put myself back together.

 

There are still moments when I battle with being a more subdued version of myself. Not nearly as much as before though. There are still people who do not take kindly to my loud personality. I get also that in today’s world, it’s still difficult to find a partner who can tolerate, encourage and love how me and women like me with all our “muchness”. But the amazing thing is I have found so many who love it- almost as much as I do (Narcissistics Anonymous just paged me. Oops!). The most important lesson was that I should change to suit me first. There is a place of belonging for everyone and sometimes you have to be forced out of the place you want to be so that you can stumble into the place you need to be. I assume I will change as I grow older. I will learn maturity and self-control and I will become secure with myself in a way that only age can bring- that is me saying old people have zero cares in the world and it’s admirable…..most times (don’t nobody like a rude ass old person. Ugh). I am not sure if I may become quieter in my day-to-day interactions but I know I will not become less opinionated. Take it or leave it.

 

I get it- loud people make others uncomfortable especially if they are disagreeing with them. But most of life is uncomfortable. Many equate loud with obnoxious. That’s okay. I’m smart enough to know they are not one and the same (check any reputable dictionary and thesaurus) and, even more, there are plenty of quiet, obnoxious people and acts in the world.  Work on fixing your approach rather than seek to change another. So long as no one is being hurt, no one need be reprimanded. I don’t tell you to stop being quiet. Don’t tell me to stop being loud.

 

Sincerely shouting,

Nas

 

This is dedicated to my friend, Karen Lloyd and my fellow loud girls and women. Don’t be silenced.

 

P.S. I know about time and place when it really matters. Check me in interviews, adequately reserved and professional. In classes? Quieter than a mouse. Haha!

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Until next post!

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Nothing tried, nothing done: A story of regret

In the past week,  I have had three experiences where I assumed I wouldn’t be granted an opportunity because of either someone saying that someone in my position would most likely not get it or because I talked myself out of something assuming people would not be understanding of my situation as it would require them to be flexible with a deadline. For one situation I am all but sure things would have worked out differently and for the other, I would have liked to find out for sure even if it did not work out. After all,  the most they could say in those situations is no and I would be in the same position as I am now only I would have some comfort in being able to say I tried.
I say all of this to say that it is better to have tried and failed and receive surety rather than not try and wonder what if. Others in my position were told they would most likely not get the opportunity as well but they still tried and it worked out for a few. Now I wonder if I could have been one of them and it sucks.
They say at the end of your life, you regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did. I’ll get over these situations but I may come upon others that are much harder to come to terms with. I therefore have decided to change my attitude. I will no longer take no for an answer before I even ask and I will be sure to ask and try for every opportunity that I desire.
Have you ever had this feeling of regret where you just KNEW things would be different if you had just tried but this knowledge came a bit too late? If so, how did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments.
until my next post…!

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