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 ~

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It’s My 25th Birthday – Again! And I’m Happy And Thankful

At one of the places that makes me most happy - a gorgeous white sand beach in my beautiful Barbados.

At one of the places that makes me most happy – a gorgeous white sand beach in my beautiful Barbados.

Every year since I turned 25 for the 10th time, as I approached my birthday, I’ve had a tendency to get depressed. Not because I’m sorry to be aging or to be in the land of the living. Oh no, I’m beyond grateful for life and to be alive. But like many of us have a habit of doing as we mark another year on the calendar, I usually find myself reflecting on my journey and instead of focusing on all the ways in which I’ve been blessed, I lament on all that’s missing from my life. The husband, the twin daughter and son, the luxurious house, the chocolate brown Labrador Retriever, that dream job, that “fantasy” Abraham Maslow created – self actualization.

This year again as Jan. 30 drew near, that feeling of depression started to creep up on me. But merely for a few fleeting moments. As those usual dark thoughts began to plaque my mind, I found myself going, “Hell, no, I’m in too great a space for this.” Today, for the first time in years, I start my birthday with no feelings of sadness, regrets or wishful thinking.

My day actually kicked off with me doing one of the things that I love most – writing. As the clock struck midnight, I was sitting at my desk in the newsroom working on a story that would soon top our homepage. It was a heartbreaking story about a terrorist act that took the lives of six people at a mosque in Quebec City. I find no joy in writing or hearing such stories. But the opportunity to be part of an amazing team this past year that impacts the world daily with the work we do, the stories we tell, is one of the key reasons, it’s been easy to focus on my blessings.

To say from last birthday to today’s has been an incredible chapter is an understatement. It’s been a year where I’ve had to adapt to a new home in a new city after living in my beloved Brooklyn, New York neighborhood – my adapted home for more than a decade. My move to Washington, D.C. started off challenging, but overtime, I started to develop a great appreciation for the change and to stop comparing it to New York. Because, truth be told, nothing, absolutely nothing compares to New York City.

But I can still now safely say, here in the District, I’ve found a haven.

It’s been a year, where for the first time in a long time I’ve awoken every day excited about going to work, loving what I do at work, enjoying the team with which I work. A year where I’ve found myself saying repeatedly, “I have my dream job.” Thank you NPR.

It’s been a year where I was hurt in the worst way by two of my dearest family members. A lesson learnt in forgiveness and rebuilding a bond so badly broken, ensued.

A year in which I’ve lost a few people I cherished, key among them my maternal grandmother, Doreen.

It’s been year where I was reminded how much I hate dating, a year of having to kiss a few more frogs and finding that none of them turned into a prince. But more importantly, it’s been a year where I reconnected with the man I’ve long considered the love of my life, who, in his inimitable way, reaffirmed my belief that’s he the best and most amazing man I’ve ever had. He’s a timely and much-needed reminder that I’ve been loved, am loved and worthy of unconditional unrequited love.

Sure, there were some tears, fears, frustrations, mistakes and disappointments throughout the year, but they added to helping me get to know me better.

It’s been a year where I’ve continued to improve my health and fitness, to grow closer to my mom, enhance my bond with relatives and my dearest friends. Moreover, it’s been a year where I’ve strengthened my faith, built a better relationship with God, prayed and praised Him more and been truly feeling His joy totally restored to my life.

So for all these reasons and more, for my first birthday in eons, I find it easy to refuse to focus on what I do not have. The following quote totally resonates with me:

“Sometimes pain becomes such a huge part of your life that you expect it to always be there, because you can’t remember a time in your life when it wasn’t. But then one day you feel something else. Something that feels wrong only because it’s so unfamiliar and in that moment you realize you’re happy.” – One Tree Hill 

Indeed, today, I am happy. I am joyful. I have complete peace of mind. On this my 25th birthday – again, I’m hopeful about my future, claiming all the blessings I know God has in store for me and fully cognizant that my timing isn’t His timing and that He’s working all things together for my good. Today, more than ever, I say, “Thank you God for everything.”

P.S. Happy birthday to my dear sister Sancia! Love you!😘🙏🏾

~ I Keep it Irie  ~

 

 

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Men, Please Stop Calling Women Hot

Hot Blog

In my book, it’s not physical attributes that truly make someone “hot.” 

About a year ago, I came across a video on my Facebook timeline of Nigel Hayes, then 20, and a sophomore forward for the Wisconsin Badgers, where he was caught in a slightly embarrassing situation. Well, I thought it was cute. But he, having realized that what he thought he’d said in secret to fellow players during a press conference was actually relayed over the microphone, quickly covered his face.

Hayes had spotted a stenographer for ASAP Sports, 40-something Debra Bollman, and was so enamored by her, he whispered to his teammates, “God, she’s beautiful.”

As I browsed through the comment thread, I noticed several people — both males and females — echoing exactly how I felt about his actions. And as I revisited the video in preparation for writing this post, I reviewed the comments on YouTube, again seeing responses that captured my take on the incident. One commenter, The XXI, puts it as thus: “Man I gotta take the habit to say “God she’s beautiful,” instead of “God damn she’s f**king hot.”

Yes, I love that Hayes’ instinctive response was to say beautiful and not hot. It comes across as if he were describing the entire person, inside and out, although it doesn’t appear that he knew Bollman personally. It comes across as if he saw her as a complete woman and not merely as an object of sexual attraction. Young Hayes came over as genuine, sweet, appreciative of the woman before him, respectful. What especially appealed to me is that he didn’t sound “thirsty.”

I hate it when men sound thirsty. I hate it when a man calls me hot, especially when I don’t know him and even more so if it’s a man who claims to be seriously interested in courting me. No men, I don’t want you to call me hot. I find it neither flattering nor does it validate my sex appeal, nor who or what I am as a woman. Were a man for example, to say he finds my intelligence, wit, industrious nature, fortitude and other intangible attributes hot, that, I would find complimentary.

Some men don’t get this. They think that because they tell a woman she’s hot, she should simply accept what they deem the “compliment” and move on. Men like Marco. I dated Marco on and off for a two-year period a few years ago before and during grad school while living in New York City. He was a lot of things I adored, but never ready for a committed relationship. So over time, I stopped communicating with him. I recently moved to Washington, D.C., and as it turns out, Marco beat me to it by a few months. We reconnected virtually and he invited me out to dinner to, in his words, “welcome you to D.C.”

It was delightful reconnecting with Marco. I remembered all the reasons why I’d liked and dated him, from his smarts to his inimitable sense of humor, ambition, his overall magnetic charm and yes, to keep it real, his enthralling physical attributes. We discussed our history and evaluated why “we” didn’t work as a couple before, our current respective relationship statuses and goals and we concluded that the time was ripe for us to give it another shot. A real shot this time.

I made it clear that a solely physical relationship was the furthest thing on my mind, that obviously that type of interaction will become a reality once I’m committed to someone, but at present it’s not what I seek. Marco said he was on the same page with me, that he wanted to court me, to date me, that he wanted for us to truly become one, for us to get married and have children. That from hence forth, he’ll be working toward that. For once, he sounded serious and I took him that way.

The next day, he practically disappeared, citing he’d been very busy on the job. I too had been busy at work, but had reached out. I decided to not sweat it and just responded cordially to his text which came at the end of the day. The following day out of the blue, he texts, “You’re hot.” No “Good day, how are you,” or “Have a great day,” or “Let’s plan to meet up again.” His message totally turned me off. I’m not saying he’s thirsty. He has no reason to be. But he sounded thirsty, purely carnal and I didn’t feel flattered.

I told him all this and explained that had he said something like, “Hi beautiful,” that would have come over as more appreciative of the whole me. I further explained that if he’s as serious as he claimed to be about building something with me that he needs to understand and respect my position on this matter. That whether his intention was “pure,” that I don’t like to be addressed in that manner. Marco disappeared for more than two weeks, no response, no returned calls, nothing.

When I finally heard from him, he argued that it was fine for him to act carnal merely because we had a dating history and that I was irrational in my response to his comment. No consideration was given to the fact that his comment did not sit well with me and why. It especially did not work for me because no, he wasn’t saying hot in the sapiosexual sense and no, that’s not what I want to hear from a man who’s trying show me he’s serious about being serious in pursuing me.

What exacerbates the situation is the fact that he disappeared after I’d voiced my opinion, instead of having an adult conversation on the matter. To me, that further makes the point that it’s not me the person – inside and out- he was trying to get close to, but me the “hot” object of his sexual attraction. Do I think I’m hot? I’m hot alright, hot as in mad that some grown men don’t get that some of us grown women don’t find it hot that you call us hot.

~ I Keep it Irie ~

 

Farewell My Beloved NYC, Hello New City

Hello DC

They say NYC is cold? Not as cold as this place lol!

The one phrase I’ve heard over and over prior to and living in New York for more than a decade has been, “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.” I’ve always thought New York was the toughest place to live. But gosh, I love this amazing city of blinding lights and so over the years I kept pushing on, no matter the challenge. And those of you who know my story, know there have been many a challenge.

These past few weeks have shown me more than ever just how much New York has made me grow, the strength it has given me, the lessons learnt, how it has enhanced my indomitable will to succeed, to go after my dreams, to never give up.

Yes, through smiles, tears, courage, fears, friends made, friends lost, dreams broken and some fulfilled beyond my imagination, moments of doubt and steps in faith, New York has given me far more than I ever could have imagined when I boarded that American Airlines Flight 1384 from a tiny beautiful island called Barbados, leaving all my family and dearest friends behind.

So as I bid farewell to New York City and say “see you later” to all those who’ve contributed to all I’ve become, to every Samaritan along the way, I say, “Thank you. One love and God bless.” Though now a couple of hundred miles apart, I hope you can continue to be a part of what remains an amazing journey for me in this country.

My new city has in my experience thus far, “done got New York beat” on merely surviving. Everything costs more here. Everything. Rent is far more exorbitant (although I do love the fancy amenities of swimming pool, roof deck, patio and more). Groceries are a prettier penny and one even has to pay for the plastic bags in which to pack them.

Gym membership is at least three to five times more than what I paid in NYC. Public transportation runs me a buck or more per trip than New York’s. Restaurants tax 10 percent unlike 8.875 percent in the Big Apple. And worse yet, I can no longer walk outside onto a Brooklyn street and get a nice mani/pedi for $19.99! I now have to fork out at least $50 in this new town.

Anyway, as I said, New York has prepared me well for whatever challenge may come my way. And so to my new city, I embrace an incredible career opportunity and I bring my NYC lessons, grits, curiosity, discipline, sense of adventure, hopes, dreams and faith in God. Someone living in my new neighborhood recently said to me, “If you want a friend in DC, get a dog.” _______________

~ I Keep it Irie ~

Food.jpg

First meal I made in this city, one way of surviving – more home-cooking, less eating out. Baked sweet yams/potatoes rubbed with my homemade virgin coconut oil, a dash of cinnamon and a lil organic honey served with baked cajun salmon and steamed vegetables. 

 

I am Enough

For a moment there

You made me doubt my worth.

I thought I wasn’t good enough for you;

Thought I was too short, too small

Too poor, too un-American

Too unaccomplished, too unattractive

Thought I had the wrong job,

The wrong dreams, the wrong goals

That nothing I am or have could measure up

To your ideals and expectations.

I thought I wasn’t enough.

 

You said I wasn’t your only one

And you had no such plans for me,

Your revelations were devastating.

I wondered how to change your mind,

Thought I needed to do things differently,

That I had to be a better me.

I agonized over it, cried over it,

Became consumed with it

“Why doesn’t he want me?”

I thought about it, prayed about it.

“How could I be enough?’

 

Soon enough I got the answer,

A reminder:  I am enough.

All five feet two inches, 120 pounds of me,

Forged by faith, fortitude, sentimentality,

A sharp mind, selfless spirit, indomitable will

And a heart overflowing with love,

I am enough.

Enough beauty inside and out,

Enough smarts, passion, enough ambition,

Enough empathy, enough loyalty.

I am enough.

 

I’m enough of the things

That make me wonderfully uniquely me.

Nurturing enough, sweet enough,

Witty enough, sarcastic enough,

Enough of a talker, dreamer, crier, writer,

A big enough smile, big enough personality

Enough of all a woman needs to be;

Homemaker, professional, supporter,

A listener, friend, daughter, sister, aunt,

I am enough as a lover, a mother, a wife,

As a faithful servant of God,

I am enough.

Heck, I am more than enough.

by Maquita “Queenie” Peters

~ I Keep it Irie ~

For Larry’s nephew A3. 

I am enough.

I am enough.

On Turning 40, Er I mean “25”

They say life begins at 40?;-)

They say life begins at 40?;-)

When I was a teenager, ages like 30 and 40 seemed really old. When I marked my 25th birthday (for the first time), I felt as if I were grown, that I knew all about life. When I finally turned 30, I thought, “Oh my gosh, where did the years go?”

My 30s have been my most challenging, most exciting, most memorable years; the years in which I’ve taken the most risks, suffered the worst heartbreaks, took my career and education to a higher level, the years in which I’ve matured and learnt the most. In my 30s, I truly discovered who I was and the kick-ass tough stuff of which I’m made.

Reflecting on when I was 21, I thought that by now I would have long been married, borne my twins, living in the proverbial house with a picket fence, ably guarded by my brown Labrador Retriever and black Rottweiler. As an old adage goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” For sure, God had and has completely different plans for me than I envisioned.

As I approached my birthday, I’ve been overcome by conflicting feelings. On the one hand, there’s been a sense of unaccomplishment about certain aspects of my life, there’s been a feeling that I am unofficially saying goodbye to my youth, and there’s just the incredulity that I’m already this age! I still feel as if there’s a little Caribbean girl trapped inside, waiting to grow up.

On the other hand, as I reminisced about my journey from St. Vincent to Barbados to Trinidad to Canada and to the USA, as I thought about the relatives and cherished friends I’ve lost along the way, as I grieved with my friend Moni who recently lost her dear mom, and my “bredren” Bertram (25) who only last week buried his beloved mother (who died two days before her 48th birthday), the reality of my own mortality hit me.

I’m reminded of what a blessing it is to awake to a new day, what a miracle it is to be able to celebrate another birthday. So today, I will not wallow in self-pity about what is missing from my life, but I will give thanks. Thanks for all I’ve achieved by the grace of God, whether tangible or intangible. Thanks for all the wonderful people, the angels in my life that have held my hand at whatever leg of this journey. Thanks that on January 30, many years ago, Victoria gave birth to her firstborn, and that four years later on that same date she gave me my best birthday gift ever, my sister Sancia. Thanks that my sweet, loving mother nurtured me into the God-fearing, fearless, faithful woman I am today.

Yes, today, I give my heavenly Father thanks for opening my eyes on this my 40th er, I mean 25th birthday. #Fab40

~ I Keep it Irie ~

P.S.: While in Barbados for Christmas and New Year’s, I launched my birthday celebrations and used the opportunity to ask my longtime friends there, some of the people who know me best to share their favorite memories/reflections of me and thoughts on our friendship. I recorded their responses on my iPad and iPhone and made a “movie” of it with a soundtrack that’s my testimony. Click on this link and check it out. I promise, you’ll be entertained. Thanks and one love.:-)

Life is a beach - especially at 40.:-)

Life is a beach – especially at 40.:-) Photo taken at Sam Lord’s Castle Barbados Christmas Holidays ’14-15.

Delicious Home-cooked Caribbean Meals

Most of what I eat is home-cooked by me. And pretty much most of those dishes are native to my beautiful homeland Barbados and the wider Caribbean region. Be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, I almost always have a taste of my beloved Caribbean spicing up whatever I cook. Over the past few years, I’ve produced vlogs and photo stories sharing recipes of many of these dishes with my growing circle of American and international friends. I’m happy to share some of those creations now in this photo gallery.

From Bajan salt bread, jam puffs and our national dish “Coucou and Flying Fish,” to Trinidad-style dhalpuri roti and chicken pelau, Jamaican jerk cuisine and dumplings, to and Vincy-style coconut drops, hot cross buns and peanut brittle, I present an array of my delectable homemade Caribbean dishes. My diet is predominantly fish/seafood and I occasionally eat chicken, so the photos will reflect this. All photos were taken with my trusty iPhone camera.

Should you require a recipe for anything you see, please don’t hesitate to ask, I’ll be happy to share.  So, please tell me, what is your favorite Caribbean dish? Comment below!

~ I Keep it Irie ~

Don’t Be Ashamed of Depression, Don’t Be Afraid To Live

Hope1In my last blog post for 2013, I Kicked Her Butt, I wrote about some of the darkest moments of my year and how on reflection, I realized that those dreary days were outshone by the unconditional love, invaluable time spent with and unwavering support from my family and closest friends. Above all, it was my relentless faith in God, long instilled by my devout Christian mother, that enabled me to appreciate the blessings amidst the storm. The latter was the mindset I adopted as the dawn broke on 2014. Like for many other people, the start of the year signaled exciting new possibilities, dreams being fulfilled, a spirit of invincibility, renewed hopefulness. I felt armed and ready for what I declared was going to be the best year of my life yet. But before I could even celebrate my birthday at the end of January, everything that could go wrong in every sphere of my life started to go wrong. Read more…

A Part of Me Died Today

Today marks two years since I lost my dear Uncle Moses. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him and think of him. Continue to sleep sweetly, Uncle Moses. Our family is not the same without you. I, rather, we will always love you.

Island Soul City Dreams

I had today’s blog post all planned. Over the past couple days I had been preparing another product – Caribbean-style to share with you. And while it’s not exactly a culinary treat, I’d hoped it would have brought some cheer. But this morning, I awoke to the sad news of the death of my Uncle Moses in Barbados. As my mother asked the words over the phone, “Are you sitting down?” I started screaming, “It better not be my Uncle Moses, not my Uncle Moses.” It’s no secret to anyone in our family that among my mother’s 10 siblings he was my favorite. He was my grandparents’ third son and the child born just a few years after my mom.  Had he lived to see his birthday on May 9, my Uncle Moses would have turned 52.Google Images

I struggle to find the words to write as I eulogize my Uncle…

View original post 626 more words

I Love That Dick

"It's like his dick talked to me." (Photo credits: compliments Google Images)

“It’s like his dick talked to me.” (Google Images)

There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies, “Love Jones,” where the character Nina played by Nia Long says to her friend Josie (Lisa Nicole Carson): “It’s like his dick talked to me.” This quote best sums up the effect a certain man has on me. He has a way of reaching deep inside of me, of touching me in ways and evoking feelings like no other. He’s the type that keeps me up all night, going at it for hours and the more I get, the more I want. I never tire of anything he has to offer. With him, it’s an art; when he puts it on me, it’s like everything is perfectly scripted, flawlessly dramatized; couldn’t be better executed. I lie there, or sit, sometimes stand depending on the hold he has on me and in those moments, I become lost in his world.

A few have come close, but no other man has consistently or for as many years as he has, connected with me on all these levels. He, this man, this “Dick,” is one of a kind. This is no common dick, this is what my Bajan and by extension Caribbean people would refer to as “a proper Dick,” so yes, I have to capitalize. It’s the kind of Dick you want to sing about to all your girlfriends, the kind you wish you could tell your mother about, the kind that makes you scream, smile, the kind that makes you cry because it’s so damn good. It’s also a Dick that’s married. Read more…

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. Read more…

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Island Soul City Dreams

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