The past few months have been very hectic for me; the reason as to why I haven’t posted a blog in about a month or so. I have been preparing for a new chapter in my life. As a recent graduate from university, I have been a little lost in terms of the path I wanted to take in my career. Initially, I wanted to enrol in a Maters program for Speech Language Pathology, but decided against it once I realized the high academic marks required to be accepted (just being HONEST!). Not saying that I am ruling out the option, but at this point in my life I am not interested in returning to school. I’ve always enjoyed working with children, more specifically children with disabilities, and the field of Education, but I just haven’t figured out exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Nonetheless, a year ago I decided to take a TESOL course because for the sake of it and I’ve always wanted to travel. So, I figured teaching children abroad would be “killing two birds with one stone”. Fast track to July 2014, I had an interview with a reputable company called English First in China, and I am offered an English Instructor Position. Since then I have been busily sending documents, scanning important books (which are too heavy to bring), informing my mother about China, while also learning about the ins and outs for myself, being nervous and excited, mentally preparing myself for living abroad in an unfamiliar place that does not speak much English, and trying to spend as much time as I can with family and friends. Needless to say there has been a lot to do in a short period of time.
However, I am holding on to my strength because I know that I will definitely need it while I am in China. I have about two more weeks left in Canada and I have finally been hit with the realization. These past few days have been bitter sweet; resigning from my job of five years, taking note of the weeks on the calendar, and realizing that I will be in close contact with my family and close friends for the last time before flying out. I know that this will be a great experience for me, but at this currently moment I sometimes doubt myself asking, “ Am I ready to move out of my family home”? I also, find the situation quite funny, in that this will be my first time living on my own and I choose to go half way across the world. Some people have commended me on my bravery; I ponder if it actually is. Of course I will soon find out.
Lastly, during my time abroad, I hope to transform this blog into something. That SOMETHING I have no clue at this point. What I do know is that I will be documenting my experience abroad and possibly post daily blogs. Stay tuned !!!!
Howdy all, my apologies for the hiatus. I’ve been extremely busy with getting things sorted for a new chapter in my life as well as dealing with writer’s block. Ugh so annoying. In the beginning of July I had a topic in mind. “Is it an insult to a woman to be called ‘girl? ‘” Due to becoming extremely busy I began writing the introduction for this piece and then left it for about a month, and then forgot the points that I was supposed to address.
Moreover, I took a look back at this topic and began to wonder whether it was actually something I wanted to write about. I realized that if I was to knit pick at every topic in life I would be writing and analyzing for days and months. I figured that referring to a woman as girl, depends on the context and tone in which you use it. If it is used in a condescending tone, then ‘yes’ it becomes degrading to the woman, but if one is using the term in a friendly manner then who am I to deny the use of the word.
As I am currently stumped on what to write, this will be a short piece. I hope to continue on with coming up with topics to write about in the near future.
As human beings we deal with rejection on a regular basis. Weather it be pertaining to school, career, or social life. No one is immune to it. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘rejection’ as dismissing or refusing a proposal, idea, etc. Honestly, and I speak for myself, when I am rejected by someone or a position I take it personally. As much as I try not to I do; over and over again. Relatively speaking it has never been the end of the world (yet), but at the particular moment I feel as though I am being targeted and my life is ruined. I tend to think to myself “If only,” and “What If’s” about the situation and then I think about it some more, and some more. Until I drive myself insane. And create ridiculous situations in my mind.
Okay, but I doubt I am the only one that thinks like this. Am I ? Maybe. My biggest problem is that I dwell on EVERYTHING, and ANALYZE everything. I admit I am quite sensitive, so when I get embarrassed or rejected I take that stuff personally; even if it wasn’t mean’t to be. Lately, due to rejection I’ve been experiencing bouts of the ‘Blues.’ I am not too sure what to call them. Which lead me into a spiral of keeping to myself and watching YouTube videos and movies on my laptop. Because let’s face it at this point the lives of others seem to be much better than mine.(This is where my mind is at this particular moment) Moving on…
I recently watched a video on YT by Taren Guy about living in the present moment and being grateful for life. I know this and try to take this approach on a daily basis. But those times when I get rejected I am pushed down and feel useless and forget about the wonderful things in my life. Rejection causes me to think about the negatives rather than focusing on the positives. I also realize that life has its ups and downs. As of right now, I have debts, as a recent graduate, living the single life (oh yea!), and searching for a full time job, all this has been draining (aside from being single). Let me point out that the single life is a double edged sword- its lovely because I am not tied down, but then at times I wish I had that one amazing person by my side. Wow how did this turn into me discussing about my non-existent dating life. Back to business…
Where was I ? Oh yea- I try to remain positive when life throws rocks, stones- I was searching for a quirky saying. Anyways, I generally try to keep my spirits high when things are not turning out the way I want them to and believe in the saying that everything happens when you least expects it or everything happens for a reason. Being rejected by someone you are crushing on, or the job you really wanted, or the Uni/ College you have wanted to attend since you were in diapers -well probably not that early but you get what I mean, IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. In this instance the Caps are for emphasis, I am not yelling. But, all I am trying to convey is that life goes on and we shouldn’t spend our lives dwelling on what should/ could have been. As a thoughtful,handsome, Blue-eyed man once told me (since I analyze life I needed this told to me more than once), “Live in the moment.” And I would add, don’t focus on the past because it does not allow one to move on and experience all that life has to offer.
I will leave you all with this, when rejected give yourself a couple of hours to a day to be a Debby Downer, but as soon as possible pick yourself back up and search for the positive of the situation. Continue on with life…
An amazing live performance by UUH
On the evening of May 13th, I saw Uh Huh Her (UHH) live at the MOD Club in Toronto. It seems to be quite a difficult name to pronounce and explain to others. The band comprises of two amazing musicians who play guitar and keyboard, Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey. Fans of ‘The L Word’,’ may remember Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki; a Journalist for L.A Magazine, who was only the self-proclaimed bisexual in a group of Lesbians.
My first reaction to the evening was that there was not going to be many people because let’s face it when I tell people about this band, the common response is “‘What the [beep] did you just say’ or ‘Who is Leisha Hailey,’ or better yet ‘what is The L Word?’ ” I guess I just haven’t been interacting with the right people because the turnout was great. The crowd consisted of well, WOMEN! And then there were some partners that seemed as though they were forced to attend- that’s always never easy to miss. As it was my first time at the MOD Club- I’ve passed it many of times- I would like to mention that the venue is really nice and small. What I loved most was that there were options to sit down. Thank YOU! Since I attended the concert on my own, I resorted to sitting, because if I stood on the dance floor I would not see a thing.
The night began with an energizing set by D.J Kim Anh. Female D.J’s – sexy, and awesome! She pumped up the crowd with a set combing House, Garage, and Reggae. As I was alone, I felt that I was better able to keenly listen to the mixture of her amazing beats, along with watching her energetic dance moves. After her amazing set, UHH took center stage. Note: As Kim was jumping and pumping up the crowd, I glimpsed the shadow of Leisha in the ‘green room;’ which took away my attention for just a bit. Moving on, Camila and Leisha took center stage and looked beautiful. They began with “Common Reaction;” one of my most favourite songs. Well, I loved the entire set! They sound amazing live. Watching Leisha playing guitar and keyboard live-SO sexy. Ugh she has such a cute laugh. Gosh if it’s not apparent yet, I do have a bit of a crush on her.
I would also like to mention, the time of the concert was great for me, not too late to become restless and lose interest, and ended at a decent hour. After the performance, they did an encore due to people chanting “ENCORE!” (of course what else would they yell). So they came back on stage, and I decided that this was a good time to buy some “MERCH” aka merchandise before the crowd arrived at the table. I bought a t-shirt. Although both DJ and Musicians mentioned that they would be at the MERCH table to sign and say hello, I decided to head out right after the last song. Although they are amazing musicians, I really don’t care about getting signatures and let’s face it the whole situation would be loud leading to awkwardness. I’d like to meet UHH in a different setting, possibly at a smaller and quieter venue.
Overall, the evening was amazing. I enjoyed my second concert; first in an enclosed venue. I will never forget my first, ‘Tegan and Sara’ with FUN at Downsview Park last summer- AWESOME! This was also my first time going to a concert alone, which I fairly enjoyed. As part of situations to break me out of my comfort zone, this seems to be a comfort-zone breaker. I took some footage, but wanted to experience the show with reduced amount of digital devices. I’m glad that everything worked out and I was able to catch them on their ‘Future Souls Tour.’
Just say “Abra-cadabra!” and all your dreams will come true. As an individual born in the 1990s, I am considered apart of ‘Generation Y’, also known as the Millennial Generation. Wikipedia (not a trust worthy site at all) states that there is no precise beginning and end years, but typically researchers have noted that Generation Y spans from 1980s to early 2000s. I have heard older generations describe us as wanting things in an instant, selfish, but also having a strong sense of community, both local and global.
As a child, I was always told that I could be anything that I wanted to be in the future, which I think has been a benefit, as well as, a cost. The benefit as a female of African –Caribbean descent is that I challenged the notion of “why nots;” why can’t I be the CEO of a company like so many white males in this world? I don’t have to limit myself to fulfilling “female” career roles such as teacher, or nurse. I do not believe that there are actual costs to thinking that I could be anything thing in the world, but I will admit sometimes my mind takes me to places where I think that I should have things handed to me. Previously, probably our parents and grandparents, when they began working started off small. They were probably involved in internship positions, worked for little than nothing, and worked their way up the career ladder. I feel that sometimes, I only speak for myself; I want to be up on top of that career ladder now. I want that awesome full time job that allows me to travel, teach, write, and so much more RIGHT NOW! Granted, I’ve only been out of school for about four months. There are moments when I begin to think that I’ve just finished five years of university and I should have a decent “adult” job by now, and NO I will not work at some bar or grocery store. I am too EDUCATED to work at places that require a high-school diploma. This is where the problem lies. The notion of I’m too good to work here and there because I have a degree (from a prestigious university might I add). Of course, I am not saying that as post-secondary graduates we should demote ourselves; the point I am trying to make is that we shouldn’t walk around with the notion that we are too good for menial jobs. Unfortunately, we still have to pay bills and eat right? All I am saying is that through growing in an instant generation, we need to slow down and take note of the opportunities around us. Maybe while working as a bartender, you meet a customer and begin talking and find out they work for an organization that you really want to work for. NETWORKING! Those days when I take a step back from the hustle and bustle of life, (oh by the way it is always important to hustle for what you want in life) and realize that I won’t be working at my dream job in the next month or two without making contacts and experience, I keep in mind that starting from the bottom doesn’t mean I am less than.
Starting at the bottom as an intern or volunteer, means that I am absorbing experiences that I can cultivate as part of my skills for when I am ready to make the step into the career world. Past experiences of volunteering and internships/ co-ops, also allow us to become humble and appreciate those beginnings once we reach our dream destination. So at this stage of my life, I am learning how to connect with others that may help me out in the long run, taking some time to volunteer or intern, and keeping in mind that things in life don’t always come in an instant.
Stop wishing & Start doing!
I am the Human Experience
I am a Jamaican- Canadian, feminist, spiritual, daughter, bi, friend, niece, cousin, sister, volunteer, U of T Alumni, introvert, thinker, dreamer, learner, plus much more, but first and foremost, I am a human being.
At the outset, I was placed under a label, that of disabled. I was born premature (about 6 months) with many complications; thus remaining in the hospital for 8 months after birth and undergoing many operations before the age of one. There were many “CAN’T” placed onto me in the beginning, such as “She will not speak or walk.” However, I proved the doctors wrong and began speaking and walking (albeit later than usual). But I did it! I believe that I made it through because of all the people in my life that remained by my side especially my mother. She has been my rock from day one.
My mother always encouraged me to do my best no matter the obstacles facing me. These words of wisdom did not work too well in my favour because I then became sort of a perfectionist, which I think can be an amazing trait but also problematic. I always wanted things to be perfect and when they weren’t I became frustrated and anxiety began. Thus, as a young child I grew up believing that, like most cis- gendered females, I would become attracted to a cis- gendered male and that was how life was supposed to plan out. Yet, the moment I began to question my sexuality I realized: 1) life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan, and 2) the act of being unsure is problematic and not perfect.
I began to question my sexuality during high school. I did not date throughout this period, but I did conform to the norm. The norm being what I noticed around me which was females and males were attracted to each other. I of course knew about lesbian and gay, but I had no friends or family members that exhibited one of many amazing intimate partnerships. It wasn’t until my final year of high school that I began a long-distance relationship with a guy and after a year of arguments and apologies he ended the relationship. After that, I like many other women after a break-up, vowed that I was finished with men and decided to focus on myself. As this point, I had begun the rigorous university life, but also began socializing at gay clubs with a close friend ( I also attended my first PRIDE TORONTO event). I enjoyed the clubs because I was able to dance without being harassed by men, and the atmosphere. This was when I realized that enjoyed being around women and felt an attraction. I began to ponder the possibility of whether I was only attracted to women because I was not finding any men attractive. Yet, I would deny myself these feelings and thought because of not wanting to be seen as a disgrace within my family. Thus, I began forcing myself to only be attracted to men because I would lose important people in my life. After a few months, my attitude began to change slightly and I decided not to identify under a label. Were labels really that important anyway? Although I was label free, I would hear comments from family members about the LGBTQ community that were not always positive, and wondered whether I could in fact live my life that way I wanted. At this point, I guess I was a coward and scared. Later on in my final year of university I dated another male but realized once we broke up that I was only craving for comfort of another person rather than actually being attracted to him. Once that ended, I reverted back to being label free and realized that I actually hated them. Personally, I believe that labels are for t-shirts not people. I love all people not matter race, religion, sex, or gender (or none gender) and I really wish that we could all love each other without judgement.
There are many labels – some that are more visible than other- which I automatically get boxed into. Heterosexuality is one of them. Note, I have had the chance to be in a relationship with a female, YET ! So can someone identify as bi without experiencing a relationship or hook-up with another woman? My answer is yes, because I experience the same physiological response to women as I do to men (ones I find attractive of course). I “pass” as how society perceives heterosexuality, but I tend to keep my personal dating life private. However, at this point in my life if asked in a respectful manner I will be obliged to share.
At the young age of 23, I live in the moment, believe that sexuality is fluid, attracted to men and women, but have only dated men. In our current world there are better things to worry about rather than who an individual chooses to become intimate with. As humans we are automatically labelled and judged the moment we are born. With all the labels forced onto me, at the end of the day I am a human being that is filled with love and compassion for others. Love is amazing and as humans we should all be able to love whoever we desire. I posit that we ask insightful questions that provoke insightful answers, and that we ASK QUESTIONS rather than ASSUME. This is my human experience thus far, life is unpredictable so let’s live life to the fullest and stop discriminating against our own kind.
What is The Human Experience? It is the validity in your story and the story of 7,000,000,000 other people in this world. How do you put a label on being human? You don’t. You open your heart and listen. This is the foundation of our publication,The Human Experience, and we want to hear your story. Join us in spreading the diversity of the human experience with the world by sharing your story. Find out how to share your story with the world.
Written on Sept 4th ’13.
Today marks the first day of school for many children, teenagers, and adults in Canada; with people experiencing different emotions such as anxiety, excitement, and nervousness. I found it befitting to write this piece, because this is my first entry for this blog which brings along the same feelings as those children, teenagers, and adults either beginning school for the first time or returning for another year. Today was the first time that I, have not had to experience ‘first day jitters’ pertaining to school; yet, as I look back to my school days I realize that ‘the jitters’ remained every year. To expand, every chapter in our lives brings forth these same emotions; whether one is beginning a new job or career, newly married or becoming parents. I have always wanted to create a space to express my opinions, but have always discouraged myself from doing so in fear of embarrassment or (more often) laziness. My main question has always been will anyone even read this? My main goal in life is to mentor and help others in any way I can. Over the years, I’ve watched people upload videos on YouTube talking about various life topics, and realized how they have influenced and inspired other people watching these videos. Therefore, as of today I have decided to enter the world of blogs in written form and maybe down the line I’ll try video form. Yikes! As a new school year has begun, I find September to be a month for a fresh start. New beginnings allow us to grow and learn more about ourselves and others. For those of you who had the “first day jitters” this morning, just go with the flow and relax. Try to foresee all the amazing this lessons you will learn and opportunities you will experience in the coming months. Just remember new beginnings are scary, exciting, and nerve racking all at once, but rewarding in the end.
See you later alligators,Kera B.
Stop Wishing, Start Doing!