One compliment I’ve stopped accepting

It’s official.

I don’t accept ‘you’re not like most girls’ as a compliment anymore.

Took a while.

And I admit…I used to feel really good when people would set me apart from other women. But then I have to admit that like most people I was latently misogynistic.

And the more I think about it the more I realise that if women don’t deliberately get on their own side nobody will. I’m not different from other women and setting myself apart from them won’t spare me from going through the garbage other women have to live with.

gossip-girl-blair-jenny-no-one-loves-you

It’s kind of like black people who create an internal rating system because they think that will keep them safe from racism. Because agreeing with white people that (some) black people are despicable will make it clear that you’re not one of those black people….that you’re different…that you’re not a nigger. Chile….please pree Facebook live and the court system them nah pree none a we out here and dem nah differentiate. So we a separate out we self fi try fit een but a nuh the ghetto a di problem a the black so it cyan change. And the more we separate out we self the weaker we become and the stronger they become by comparison.

As a black woman it’s a double whammy because everybody waan me hate me.

original

You may get ahead as an individual by siding with your oppressor, but it will always be temporary because though your individual value has increased the intrinsic value of the group you represent has decreased because of the actions you have taken. And that must eventually come to haunt you.

tenor

I am exactly like most girls…most the girls I know at least.

And for the girls who are nothing like me…there’s really nothing wrong with them.

The thing that underwrites these compliments and rating system and a lot of our courting and dating culture….hell the thing that underwrites most of the songs we THINK celebrate women is the need to big up one set of women by putting another set down. All it does is perpetuate competition between women and empower a culture that feels its okay to tell women how to be and judge those who don’t fall in line with our specific idea of woman. The compliments also ignore that ‘most girls’ become the way they are as a result of being beaten down/oppressed or trying to overcome a culture that is set against them. So then we punish women for the things they have to do to survive and the ways they struggle.

Me done wid it.

tumblr_inline_n6ma3t1isu1qhgk1x

It takes a lot of re-thinking and re-calibrating. It takes a deliberate intervention into anti-woman-ness and girl hate. But it’s necessary because a) I can’t really love me while hating people who are like me and b) women have it hard enough dealing with patriarchal men, we shouldn’t have to deal with patriarchal women too.

Me is most girls. And that a one a the best tings bout me.

Have a likkle song and celebrate yuself.

Actually….have two.

Hailee Steinfeld Most Girls

Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin Sisters are doing it for themselves

Have a good ass black-tastic woman loving day.

-CM

Dear disgruntled employee: Quit your job… PLEASE.

To all the people who hate their jobs:

QUIT.

no seriously, please quit.

And to be specific this is for people who hate their job and use every moment of every day to make that fact clear.

We get it, you’re probably not being paid what you deserve AND they are probably over working you. The office kitchen is probably messy, the canteen may be garbage and all the people you work with may be imbeciles.

tumblr_nqm541zhxs1to8m3co1_500

So of course you treat everything and every one with attitude, work to rule, take every opportunity to complain and generally use every interaction to reinforce that you’d rather be somewhere else and that the place is a patty shop.

635749018278230505385974830_anigif_optimized-5255-1428280335-9

Effectively you’re probably the biggest pain in the ass in everybody’s day.

So the other 15 other people who work in the patty shop probably have less problem with the patty and more problem with the paté (read: sh*t) you drop on them everyday. Your displeasure with your job is probably causing several other people to hate their job and some of them may really have no other choice but to work there.

Now I’m not saying it’s your fault. Toxic institutional cultures have become a bit of the norm especially as people become more overworked, less fulfilled by their jobs, and are forced to spend more time in the presence of other overworked unfulfilled people who get on their nerves.

But in the making do with what’s there…some of us become a bit of a burden to bear. And some of that some don’t have to but we continue to do it because we’re afraid of the what if:

What if I can’t find another job?

What if I hate it there too?

What is my resume looks spotty because I moved around too much?

What if I get another job but I’m bad at it and they fire me?

What if I quit just before something changes for the better?

ldy70_s-200x150  ldy70_s-200x150  ldy70_s-200x150

What if you stay where you are and make yourself and everybody else miserable?

Nobody is telling you to leave your job on a whim and step out on faith (though it’s been done and has worked for some) or act like some monied white westerner with a business to inherit (no shade but y’all write the most articles telling people to do stuff that only your 5% of the population can do). I am telling you that toxicity can be changed and sometimes you’re the one who has to change it.

So quit.

tumblr_niqshwf23b1smcbm7o1_250

BUT before you do that, do a few things like this:

  1. Apply for and find another job.
  2. Accept that you MIGHT hate it there….you may also love it. What IS clear is that you hate it where you are so let’s keep that reality at the top of the list before we go planning our lives around things that may not happen.
  3. People have spotty resumes. You can explain it in your job interviews. Perhaps its time for employers to accept that a) just as they are shopping for the right employee, employees are shopping for the right employers and b)they should do something about their crappy institutional cultures so people maybe want to stick around. Job jumping is often just as much the fault of the employee as the places of employment.
  4. If you keep up your frowsy attitude you may get fired from your current job so being fired may be closer than you think.
  5. You’ll really have to weight the odds on what could change at your current job and what could cause it to change or stay the same. Often that moment just before a big change is the most terrifying and we lull ourselves with the idea that things could change. They COULD as well as they could not…there’s risk to everything.

NOW one final word: I know there are some people who cannot make this change. And trust me…me feel it fi yu. I also find that there are some people who have options and don’t take them because they sell themselves on the idea that they are living on absolute limit situations. Check your privilege, assess the truth about your life and do what you actually can. Stop living somebody else’s life and use what’s given to you to get to a position where you can create meaningful change. Meaning….don’t change positions and recreate the same crappy culture you just escaped.

Claro?

Bueno!

Peace.

Carla

 

Hustle (less) hard

I know it’s basically the opposite of what we preach these days.

We are firm believers in the gospel of ‘while they sleep i grind’ to the point that we almost shame people who dare to rest (unless that rest involves a yacht and cha
mCJBOhX_UcAAC3_zpagne and can fit into the rubric of ‘work hard play hard’). In a very Tina Turner-esque turn of events we like things more, even the nice things, if they’re hard.

honestly, I get it.

Our lives are different from the generations before, the boom time is over, recession has been a part of our reality, and capitalism marches on.

 

For black folk and people of colour who have had everything including their work ethic colonised, we are busy pushing back against the notion that we are naturally lazy and dunce.

170507-leon-orlando-jones-tease_qren1s

So of course we hustle to prove them wrong (I’ve always wondered why we’re so comfortable defining our lives by external terms and giving our entire existence over to disproving some myth that was used to shackle us,  but that’s another post).

The point of this post is that your body will pay for it. And at this juncture despite your best efforts your body might be the only thing that can belong to you (though they sure have tried to take the autonomy with unethical experiments and surgery  inserting birth control that could never come out, and denying us reproductive rights while supporting rape in almost every way possible). Your body (for now) can’t be repossessed and you can’t be deported from it. They can’t give you notice and tell you to vacate in 30 days.

Sleep deprivation and overwork will literally kill you.

Acute stress is the leading cause of sudden death, especially in young healthy people with no evidence of coronary disease. But it can fell people at any age. (see here for more).

What will also kill you is the other things that accompany the hustle hard lifestyle: caffeine and energy drink dependency, poor eating habits, not getting ant exercise, high levels of stress etc.

Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, liver diseases, arthritis and high cholesterol – caused by dependency on fast food, eating as a means of escapism and coping, not sleeping, and binge drinking are now the leading cause of death – in particular among young people. The Caribbean is reported as having the highest rates of lifestyle diseases according to one study and puts a burden – yes on the government – but moreso on us who a dead earlier or live in illness more than before. This while medical technology has improved significantly.

So the issue isn’t medicine people, it’s us. Overwork is glorified and …sometimes me nuh even sure it rewarded. Me know nuff people weh a overwork demself fi years and nuh have nuttn but heart problem and poor eye sight and strained relationships wid dem partner and pickney fi show fi it.

But what can you do right? A just so the system set.

Well yes, and no. The system will be the system, you don’t have to buy into it. But it will take some work and maybe some change in aspirations.

I have a few things I think might help.

  1. Stop glorifying busy and overwork. Stop acting like always being at work is some kind of achievement.  Work is supposed to pay for your life, not eat the whole thing raw.
  2. Decide how many things you need. Yes, step away from the life they’ve sold you as ideal and think about what you need and want. Yes, I know its hard, especially since we judge our success through what we own. So maybe 2a) change how you judge success. Everything you own or want to own is a certain number of hours of work that you’ll have
    to put in.  Now go ahead and add in the hours you’ll have  to work to maintain them and you have a pretty good idea of what your life will look like. Prune, prioritise and remember life is not work.
  3. Stop equating stress with success and productivity. There are quite a few successful people who live stress free. Also stop telling yourself ‘ when I get to the top of the ladder I’ll take a break’…suppose you never get there…suppose trying to get there in the way you’ve been trying actually kills you? Success is a lot of things but it’s not stress. And the absence of stress is not laziness, it’s just called healthy living.
  4. And this is a reach – over throw capitalism. Because the capitalist system can only function if some people live in or die from poverty and if some people do far more work than they’re paid for. I think we can agree most people do that now.
  5. Since number 4 is unlikely to happen I suggest prioritising your health and learning skills to manage stress. Because honestly what’s the point of working like that if you’re less likely to be alive to enjoy it.

I recognise that for people who don’t have much financial support these can be especially difficult choices to make because this change of mindset can come with consequences. For people without financial and social buffers the consequences could mean devastation. Also, overwork may be necessary to overcome absolute poverty. It is up to people who do have financial advantages to intervene in this overwork culture and create some kind of change so people who are trying to make it don’t have to die doing it.

tumblr_o5u176sD6L1rhf0i3o1_1280.jpg

Take care of yourself, no matter what. If you can only afford 5 minutes to stop and eep breathe take the. To the people who don’t have to work that way to survive: stop buying into and propping up a culture that is actively hurting people, including yourself.

 

on renting in Jamaica (and Babylon)

Often we think about how Jamaica makes it difficult for people to achieve things we often look at the outer extreme of poverty. Centring those who live in extreme poverty is important since they are most often ignored in many aspects.
Only using that experience as a lens to understand Jamaica, however, leaves some other people out of the conversation and limits our understanding of what needs to be changed. And how we make independence and upward movement near impossible for each other in our own unofficial policies and preferences.
 
For example, the standard in Jamaica is that a person needs to provide first, last, and one month deposit before they can move into a home. That’s three month’s rent they need to have ready to go in advance on top of moving costs, application costs for light and water and cable and internet etc on top of cost of furniture.
 
Even if a person decides to tough it out and sleep on a mattress on the floor they still have to provide three months rent before they can get to the four walls. So for a rent of JMD 25000 per month I must first have 75000 put down just so to hand over before I can get the key. Now this may seem like a small amount for some but for a person who is only working 75000 or even less per month, who had to move to another parish for the job, who is currently cotching on a couch and good will, who perhaps also has a kid to feed or a parent…that’s a lot of money that will take a long time to amass.
 
and why do we do it? it’s not the official policy. and even people who have never had a negative experience with renters will demand it.
 
we do it because like most other things the Jamaican renter system is mercenary and developed to benefit the (historically white/wealthy/landed) owner while taking advantage of and pathologizing the (historically black, poorer) renter.
 
I get it, you need protection in case you place mash up. but you also walk into people place to conduct random checks as you have a feeling…or perhaps if you were doing maintenance like you should you would know what was happening before the person moves out.
 
just saying.
 
people, we claim that we want ‘di yutes’ to do good or rather blame them for not seeking independence. But so many of our policies make life unliveable for people who don’t come from money or earn ’nuff money or who can’t call on parents to back them up.
 
we can do better.
 
#carlamoore #thinkitthrough

oh Jamaica 1/who knows

I find more and more my relationship with Jamaica is a conflicted thing full up of resentment and growing short on hope.

I hate the feeling.

The latest thing I am trying to make sense of is the vendors who beat a Rasta man and left him for dead because he started (him alone mind you) chanting against their jerked chicken and saying it smelled like dog and was polluting the place.

The whole thing bothers me for a number of reasons:

1. Is it that easy to kill a person now? Anything they say that’s against you or displeases you deserves death? What happen to all the shades of responses in between and why more people inna the crowd never recognise say it was a mob against one man and that never fair? And when we going to realise that this particular brand of badness can only ever benefit a select few while taking advantage of most…rather, when we going to recognise that our time as the ‘bad’ is limited and soon we will all fall from power and become the beaten?

2. I know somebody is going to say

‘well you haffi consider say wah him a do coulda did a interfere wid the people dem money…some people nuh play bout dem money’.

This I understand. When smaddy a ramp wid you money it nuh just easy fi siddung and watch. But that draw up even more question fimme: a) people really in such desperate situations (that kind that warrants killing a man fi piece a bread) or we just tell we self say things desperate as a way fi excuse we self fi treat one another terrible? Because sometimes me feel say we turn the sufferers story into the national identity and use that justify anything we do. Not everybody is at the ‘anytime me hungry again you a go see mi nine’ state. Some a dem nuh even hungry but dem a tear out people neck and headback like dem a starve. We, the not hungry,  tell we self say Jamaican dark lakka midnight inna every situation and go from there. Fi why? To what end? And what cost?

3. Now as me write this round and brown me know say smaddy a go tell me say

 A middle class browning like you cyan chat because you have privilege  and you belly full and you will never understand

Yes, me have privilege. Cyaan deny it and the impact it have pon me life. And me nuh waan take up too much space in a conversation that is not about and my experience. But the fact that I am privileged does not mean I am blind and don’t mean me cyan call out foolishness when me see it. And this is it: One Rasta man chanting fire on a whole slew a jerk man never did a go cost them business, dem cudda shout him down and run him dem never need fi do him physical harm. Dat a just people feeling like anybody come against dem must be exterminated because them a pest. That a we feeling like black people easy fi kill and deserve fi dead. That a colonial ignorance and foolishness. That a summn we need fi puddung.

4. Why is it so easy for us to sing about and talk about and actually do harm to black people? Because me sure a white man woulda never get beating and me nuh see white people a sing bout killing niggaz nearly as much as black people. So wah di deal?

5. Why all now Rasta cyan get some respect. This many years after defining some aspects of Jamaica culture internationally, after the many atrocities including Coral Gardens, after everybody wanna be a Marley, people still cyan see Rasta as anything but dutty foot mad man.

The more I think about my future in Jamaica the more deeply riddled I am with doubt.

What do I see?

An upper class that manages to thrive because they have enough social and economic buffers to make a world inside a world. To live in the Jamaica we wish we could inhabit. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the lower classes.

A middle class that is being held accountable for the country’s debt through taxation. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the lower classes.

A lower class that has managed to resist and recover from crippling under development. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the middle and upper classes.

Criminal activity passing for culture. Violence as a marker of national identity. And hopelessness.

Inside of that beauty and hope and children growing businesses opening and people living their lives.

When I think about my future here I don’t know what I see…and with the love I have for the country…this burns me.

It actually makes me cry.

I want to scream that we can do better but I’m not sure who is we and who I should scream at first. Perhaps at the colonisers and the ones with the whip. Perhaps at myself.

 

singular wanga gut- the ultimate betrayal

look here nuh, me used to see the meme dem and laugh after dem but me never realise how it real…

is there any betrayal that cuts more deeply than when he smaddy who claim fi deh wid you nyam and leff you out?

everything gone inna doubt after that

yes you love me…when you belly FULL

will you love me when you hungry

matter of fact

will you love me when you peckish?

me  cuddn believe it, come inna the bathroom as cool as you please wid di cheese trix crumbs a circle him mouth like lion fish inna harbour  – well proud a tell me bout him likkle snack.

like me did fi happy fi him.

like me did fi celebrate say him nah starve.

inna that moment if me see him a road a dead fi thirst me wuddn even piss inna him MOUT

so deep was the wound if you cut me you wuddn find BLOOD

JESUS wept and died and rose again for this charlatan to come moggle pon me wid cheese trix crumbs…the salty part a the bottom too…the nice part weh you all tun over the bag fi lick out.

when-bae-eats-without-you-k-messages-details-whats-for-16114048

me hurt,  me devastated, me nuh know if we can make it back again.

this is 30something

It’s a 4 day weekend and i’ve sequestered myself into my home with snacks, turmeric (to counteract the snacks) and the highest hopes of going nowhere until Tuesday.

There was a time I would have been rinsing paint from the crevices under my batty jaw and popping andrews like hope for a better world.

those days are done honey, at least for now.

do I feel bad about it? of course. people don’t hesitate to tell me how me old.

and do I feel old?

YES

a b*tch is living with chronic pain now as a very real reminder that time, like red ants, marches on.

am I happy? still not sure.

This is probably the closest I’ve been to it in ever though.

and so?

So I’m home. with a cold sore (yup, came out about those), reasoning with people online about being survivors of sexual assault (came out about that too), dealing with my anxiety (backside yes me come out bout dat too to raws) and being unsettled by the world but more at ease about my space in it.

This is what happened while I was gone y’all…and me love unnu long time.

 

cm.

…whyU.D.?

yes, me title it whyU.D because me think me savvy.

Unnu cuddn tell me that despite being about the prevention of pregnancy, the IUD basically punish you every time you take even a tiny piece a ting?

Me mumma.

Me nuh know how unnu do it enuh. Maybe me too old.

Maybe if I made my debut into the world of invasive painful female birth control in my 20’s me wuddn know better. But at 34 (well 35 now) and very much accustomed to bodily autonomy and at ease with my regular pains (cramps, joints, people me nuh like) fi come add summn weh a go hot me when me cum, ovulate, and menstruate just feel like too much.

Honestly, should out to the lesbian homies doing it real big without big medical interventions, unnu really have the thing figured out.

No joke.

Supposedly it will get better sooner…

*big old hetero-taking-dick-for-no-reason- eyeroll

“The essence I embrace are my curves, a

“The essence I embrace are my curves, and if I could, I’d be naked most of the time… After years of being insecure and half-loving myself as person who isn’t the ‘normal’ shape, size and sometimes even color, I decided that it would be easier to embrace who I am than to fight everyone telling me who I have to be.” — Felicia

I’ve NEVER shown my back in public because of my back flab…worse when I sweat. When I first saw this picture I didn’t know how to look at it…the part of me that hates my back flab wanted to look away. The other part couldn’t believe she was so audacious. this image has changed a lot about the way I feel about my back flab…because…it’s just skin. Like any other skin. There’s no actual reason I should be so self conscious about it. More women have ‘normal’ bodies than have ‘perfect’ bodies but I just always looked at the modelish ones because that’s what I was shown…i choose now to look at myself