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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

 

#GrowUp On Forgiveness and why feeling good and right again is great…but not enough

if you have been hurt, and you have undertaken the work of healing, there will come a time in your process when you begin to feel strong again. after you’ve sorted through who did what to whom, accepted responsibility for your part, made some kind of peace with what went down if not how it went down, you will begin to feel like yourself again. you may begin to feel…winning. this is especially in situations where on the face you look like the ‘loser’. you may realise that though everybody contributed to a situation, under no conditions would you act in whatever way the other person acted and you may start to feel…right, and righteous. and you may even feel unafraid of running into them because finally, FINALLY, you have yourself in hand and can handle whatever that moment brings. while its good to enjoy that moment and the feeling of filling out your own skin, its important to remember….you’re not there yet. yes, you are much further along in your healing process than you were before, but the point is not just to heal, it is to ascend. the point is not just to balm up the wounds, but to become the type of person who would not attract, create, or remain in the kinds of situations that would inflict such wounds in the future. and that requires not just strength, which thankfully returns, but forgiveness.

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it requires that you mark this moment when you’re feel strong and at peace and righteous…as just a moment, and be willing to let it go in pursuit of something much more complex but also much simpler and much more important…moving past wrong and right…or even righteous…to forgiveness. to put the person and the situation down completely. to move to the space where you don’t care whether they appear or not, because it is no longer an issue, no longer a thing you have to handle. so….if you’ve done some of the work, and you’re feeling fired up….use some of that steam to push you, because there’s still a little ways to go. your end goal is a return to something that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. a return to love. not of the person. but of the self. a whole and forgiven self, which requires complete forgiveness of the other. #keeptrodding

NEWVLOG Valemtime’s Special- wah valentine’s shoulda REALLY name

well it was my intention to load this on Matey Valentine’s

(aka di first satdeh after…if you were celebrating belated valentine’s for no ‘good’ reason….you might be the matey)

but FLOW said NO

so it went up likkel after

we can talk bout weh Valemtime’s day wudda name if we did  honest bout wah gwaan panni day?

happy drinking wine straight from the bottle and watching Sex and the City Day

Happy me buy yu present a Fontana day

 

On Companies Snooping In the Social Media of Job Applicants

As person after person on my twitter timeline – including those who are twilebrities – makes their timeline private, i am prompted to think about the new business practice of using facebook and twitter as background checks before hiring a job applicant.
It goes like this:
You apply.
The company you applied to either legitimately or through some back door method accesses your pages and checks to make sure you’re not a murderer (I would be snide but people actually do post about that stuff), not an alcoholic (I’d say most of our Friday and Saturday night tweets would put us out of the running AND alcoholics need jobs too, especially if financial instability is fueling the alcoholism) and to make sure you’ve never said anything disparaging about the company (this is where my issue arises).
I find it interesting that companies would disqualify job applicants based on past  negative tweets about the company. Are you hiring based on qualifications or pre -existing brand loyalty? And is the person not entitled to have a difficulty with one of your services if the service is not working for them?
For example Jamaica’s two telecommunications providers (look at me not calling names because I may require a work from them…and either way I’m not pointing fingers, just using them as  relatable examples) employ MANY people (big ups to di call centre work weh a save *nuff* a we). They are also not perfect providers: service goes down, customer service agents are sometimes rude (and human),  RIM certainly gave them a bad name, and yes calling rates can seem exorbitant, offers that save money often disappear after three months and issues arise that have *nothing* to do with the provider but in anger customers will blame them. They are businesses, they care about customers but money is the bottom line, and customers who feel they get the dirty end of the deal will speak out on that feeling.
But here’s the thing, if you are a business and you are *actually* committed to improving the quality of service you offer, twitter provides free crowd sourcing of consultants for every part of your business.
They tell you at what point in the day you need to bring on more customer care agents, when you need to introduce a deal to please your customers, when you need to re-brand, which offer is no longer relevant, and even if the free gifts you’re offering fall apart after first use. That is free information people are willingly giving to you, never mind the tone.
Now, the person you are interviewing, up until this moment, was a part of that crowd. How then can you punish them for doing something that is 1) common place and 2) actually beneficial to your company (if your company uses it wisely) because now they want to offer a different kind of service to you? I understand, you don’t want anybody working with you who might undermine your organization, and yes, as an employer you have the right to know who you are hiring. But on the practice of twitter/facebook snooping and persecution (more specifically for ‘negative’ tweets about the company) I have an issue. Most of the people conducting the interviews had no loyalty to the company before they were on payroll. Why should social media be exploited to deny other people the same right to change? Furthermore this has the potential to undermine the company by only populating it with yes-men.  A company cannot grow without critique and organizations are doing themselves an injustice by scouring twitter timelines as a part of the application process with the intention of eliminating people who have not always found them to be perfect.
Let’s be honest. businesses make mistakes. Consumers complain yet retain the services. People should be free to speak about their experiences with a company in one way without feeling it will bar them from another kind of relationship with the company. Otherwise what are we doing? Seeking fans instead of hard workers. And while Britney Spears is a business i’m sure she doesn’t interview for accountants in the VIP of her concerts.
 

On Nelson Mandela’s Teachings and the Power of One: RIP Madiba

 

Imandela no passionf there is one thing we should have learned from Nelson Mandela, its the power of one.
If one man, one ordinary man…because he was just an ordinary man until he started doing extraordinary things….if one ordinary man could have done all the he did, what could ordinary you do?
There is no difference between you or I and Mandela, not when he started.
The difference is in the end, and that difference is hard work and commitment and courage. It is seeking and activating wisdom in his life. It is remaining indefatigable in the face of trial after trial. It is faith and a belief in self and a belief in humanity. He remained a person that believes in people. As many of us give up on humanity – and make no mistake giving up on person after person in your own life will eventually lead you to give up on humanity – we disrespect his legacy. If we are to call him Madiba, in affection and respect, we must honour his teachings. We must stop smalling up ourselves, we must stop accepting that we are mediocre, we must not only laud Madiba, but recognise we are Madiba. I think that is the point of his words and his life, we are the ones who must combine mind and heart. We are the ones who must make the difference. He is one of the few, but only because we ignored his call, we did not do what was necessary to join him. Rest In Power Madiba

mandela poverty

 

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Is A Yaad Ting Emanci-Pendence 2013 Edition – Yu know bout Ms. Farm Queen?

 

Me mek sure wait til di festivities done before me post da one yah because me waan mek sure me can covah ebryting.

Points of information

1) Ken Boothe red velvet suit weh look like him brush it a day time like hair

2) Di police dem weh appear wid ticket book like abracadabra every time holiday weekend draw near.

3) Di importance of a woman who can smile pretty, be smart, and know how fi read almanac….behold Jamaica Farm Queen