Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

2013: I Kicked Her Butt

I wanted to write a blog post about the hurdles I’ve had to overcome this year, about the many frustrating days when I felt lost, alone, like I had nothing, when I was clueless about my next step in life. I wanted to write about the nights when I cried till my eyes almost bled, till my throat was parched and my head throbbed with pain, till I writhed in agony on my carpeted floor, clutching a worn out teddy bear wondering if my prayers were going on unheard.

I wanted to write about how I’d questioned whether or not I’d wasted $70K doing my master’s at Columbia University, only for almost three years later and with a total of 15 years experience as a journalist in print, broadcast and online media, I have yet to land a full-time job in my field. I wanted to write that I’d been feeling like my career was in limbo, that as much as I appreciate the freelance journalism jobs that come my way, they don’t provide the stability I need, adequate visibility for my talent, the challenges I seek, or the opportunities to help others or effect positive change.

I wanted to elaborate on my previous blog posts regarding my luckless dating in New York City, about how a few of my girlfriends got “booed” up this year and I’m happy for them, but sad for me that the year has come to an end and I’m still single. Yes, I wanted to bitch about everything in my life that is seemingly not happening. But the more I reflected on my year, the more I realized that it was not filled with failures, or regrets, that my year was bankrupt of nothing. Rather, my 2013 has been rich with smiles. Smiles brought to my face not by material gain, not by tangibles, but by the people most dear to my heart.

Neither time nor space would permit me at present to go into detail about these most memorable moments of my year, so for now, I’ll simply list some of the highlights.

*I traveled to beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) with my mother Victoria to visit her mom – my grandmother – for the first time in 10 years. I also reunited with several of my cousins, aunts and uncles there. While in SVG, my 84 year-old grandmother, still as spritely as ever, baked me her signature delicious Johnny Cake (Caribbean doughboy), not one, not two, but three – giving me enough to bring one back to New York. I lost count of how many times I hugged my grandmother during that one-week trip and how many kisses I planted on her tender cheeks. On the day I left St. Vincent, we held each other tightly and she said, “It was good to see you my granddaughter, I love you.”

 *SVG brought me additional smiles when my friend Nick took me to Sandy Bay, the village of the island’s indigenous Carib people, among whom are relatives of my late father Lee, who, in addition to his Trinidadian citizenship, had Vincentian roots. I met for the first time many of my father’s relatives. They’d all congregated at one house specifically to greet me. My father’s eldest sister Rosa, who had not seen him in more than 30 years, was especially happy to embrace the firstborn and only daughter of her dearly departed brother. Her resemblance to him made it challenging for me to let go of her.

 *I also traveled to Toronto, Canada. That too was an incredibly emotional reunion. This time, with my two brothers – my father’s sons Glen and Lyndon, I’d seen neither in almost a decade. They attended to my every need and filled me in on stories about our father, since unlike mine; he was a fixture in their lives from childhood. I never met my father till I was in my early 20’s. Read about our story here: Tears And Prayers For My Father. My brothers left me no doubt that I am loved beyond measure.

*Smiles also came my way when my beloved nephew Nicholai, 11, visited me this summer in NYC for the first time since I moved here. I cooked him some of his favorite dishes, took him shopping and showed him several places in the City that have enriched my life, including giving him “my alma mater tours” of The City College of New York (CCNY) and Columbia University.

*Toward the end of summer, I got another big reason to smile. Through the guidance of my trusted friend Allan, I combined my talents; unique background, reportorial diligence and social media management savvy and started my own media consultancy company.

*The smiles continued into the fall. I got an amazing opportunity to I travel home to Barbados to assist the local Live Nation Entertainment manager for the Rihanna Diamond Tour concert. The month-long assignment was both professionally and personally rewarding. Those weeks home allowed for quality time with not only my family, but also several of my dearest friends. Special thanks to one of the best friends I could ask for – Shawn aka Smooches.

*While in Barbados, I also saw for the first time in about 20 years Mrs. Ruth Oliver, my favorite primary school teacher and Mrs. Stoute, an elderly lady who used to “baby-sit” my sister and me. I visited Brother Hinkson as well, a dear elderly neighbor and fellow congregant of my childhood Church of the Nazarene – he tells everyone that I’m his girl. I also stopped by retired Managing Editor of the Barbados Advocate, Robert Best, now in his 80’s, – the man who first inspired me to become a journalist. Each of these special people shared with me life lessons, warm hugs and a whole lot of smiles. 

*And even though I didn’t find love this year, I found a reason to smile when I made amends with arguably my number one ex-boyfriend. His kindness to me defined true friendship and an enduring love.

*I smiled as well because: My blog – this blog, “Island Soul City Dreams” amassed record views; my social media circle shared posts that kept me entertained, informed and inspired. I smiled because it gave me great joy to give to charity every month; I smiled because I finally got back on a consistent workout regiment; because I was proud to cook some of my sexiest dishes to date. I smiled because my stylist Joyce continued to help keep my dreadlocks beautiful; because my dentist said I have “really great” teeth and my doctor said I’m in the pink of health. I smiled because my closest friends remained loyal; my mother’s love ever unconditional, her prayers for me unceasing.

Sure, I also trudged through a few valleys this year, some of them frightfully dark, but morning by morning new mercies I saw as great IS my God’s faithfulness unto me, His blessings ever flowing. So to God be the glory and to all who made this “Island Girl” with “City Dreams” smile through 2013, I thank you.

Here’s to 2014 and praying for many more smiles not just for me, but also to you and yours. Be blessed.

Check out my video tribute below featuring several of the people, places, things and moments that kept me smiling throughout the year. And yes, I cooked/baked/made all of that food you’ll see.

~ I Keep it Irie ~

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20 thoughts on “2013: I Kicked Her Butt

  1. de Carib on said:

    May 2014 bring you even more smiles. 😘

  2. Mirta Ojito on said:

    This is so sad and beautiful and heartfelt. I’m glad you are noticing all the good things happening to you, everyday. May many more come your way.

  3. Inspirational ! I pray for you an even more rewarding and fulfilling 2014!

  4. Sonja M. on said:

    I never had any doubt that you’d make it through the year. The fact that you know how to find the silver lining in any dark cloud guarantees your success. Continued blessings to you in 2014. I know there will be many.

  5. Alison on said:

    Another great article Maquita. Keep smiling!

  6. thanks for sharing your story and memories of your year in pictures, was most effective

  7. Hazel on said:

    I smile because it was so good to see you. It’s good to see and hug you after so many years. I love your blog. So much like my own life, we have shared a lot of the same experiences. Stay positive. You have learn the true beauty of life.


  8. barry on said:

    Really interesting….thought you would’ve put your awesome experience of shouting one of your major partners BAW……lol….good stuff in all seriousness.

  9. Shawnie on said:

    The is one of the best! It really sends the reality checks we need in life and to see how much you have accomplished even though you are single….great work.

  10. This is my second time reading this article. My prayer is that great opportunities will open up for you in your field. You write from a very organic place, this was so heartfelt. Thank-you for sharing your stories, your truth and for giving us a glimpse into your world. I hope that despite the hurdles, swift turns, bumpy roads and roller coaster rides of life, that you will always have plenty reasons to SMILE
    Love and Light,
    Julie xxxx

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