Chivalry Never Died. I Just Settled For Less.

24 11 2016

About 6 months ago I met a wonderful man.

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We met at an unlikely place and at an unlikely time. As I had stated in my previous post(s), I had made peace with the fact that my future seemed relatively romantic-less. This was not a woe-is-me sentiment, but rather an understanding that what I had to offer was less than ideal.

Any single 20-30-something can rattle off the inst-clichés which we numbingly double-tap, half hoping that they’re true/false. Here are a few of my favourites:

Well, I am able to confirm that, for the most part, these are true. You only come to understand these statements when you’ve been disappointed by broken promises. You really come to understand them when you have seen words put into action. Little nuggets like “if he wants to see you, he’ll make time” are true! No matter how busy, tired, or far – when he’s in like with you, nothing will prevent him from making the effort and finding the energy to make time for you.

Enter RJ*

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RJ has been a breath of fresh air for me. He is kind, smart, funny, caring, sweet, attentive, considerate, responsible, hard-working, humble, determined and has a wonderfully weird knack for knowing unusual trivia and tid-bits of information.

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He’s a ferocious reader and a pretty talented writer (I’m trying to persuade him to let me post one of his many short stories on here). He’s easy going and I feel relaxed around him. He says what he means and means what he says. No game playing, no reading between the lines, no childish ploys. It’s not stressful and I haven’t spent hours agonizing, wondering how he feels or how I feel. It’s effortless, easy. Peaceful. It really is rather amazing.

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We are still very new and I’m being careful to keep my wits about me, but I am very much in love.

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I hesitated to write this piece in case it doesn’t last, but then I thought – all the more reason! If it doesn’t last, this post will serve as a reminder to me that good men exist and that they are out there. And if it does last, well – it’s a pleasure to share my happiness with you!

If mushy, isn’t your thing, then I’m betting you’re already reaching for a bucket – and I’m about to do you a solid by saying, you may want to stop reading here. It’s about to get names-in-hearts-all-over-my-notebook mushy.

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I thought I would share with you all (in no particular order) some big and small moments/things that made me fall in love with him:

– He has a good relationship with his parents and siblings.

– He is a cool, loving and fun uncle to his 3 nieces and nephew.

– He handled my skeleton closet with empathy and attentiveness (including my cancer stuff).

– He supports me at my follow up oncologist appointments and takes an interest in my health and wellbeing.

– He has a good group of friends who are committed to his success.

– He opens doors, offers his jacket to me when it’s chilly and he walks on the outside of the sidewalk in order to keep me safe.

– He suffers through my girly movies and listens to me lust after Michael Fassbender and Ryan Reynolds.

– He invites me to spend time with him and his family.

– He accommodates my keto-dieting ways (even though he doesn’t approve).

– He gets on really well with my friends and understands the importance of forging good relationships with them.

– He is well mannered and respectful to my family.

– He supports me in my pursuit of my career (even though he knows it means that for now, he is the main earner).

– He encourages and applauds my feminism.

– He is racially aware and sensitive, and has even applauded me for standing up for myself in situations where others may have told me to just be quiet.

– He is able to be confident in his own views without tearing others down.

– He listens to my outpourings of emotions or gripes – and somehow he seems to know when to just listen and offer a hug or a hand to hold or when to join me in a rant, or when to completely break the tension by mocking my unreasonable-ness.

– He gives the best hugs.

– Every time he looks at me, it’s like it’s the first time.

– He really sees me.

– He really hears me.

– He lets me know how he feels.

I could go on, but we’d be here all day and I want to keep some things for myself  🙂 – and if you’ve made it this far you’re probably getting nauseous now!

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On a final note I will say this: I am happier now than I have been for a long time and I can only hope and strive to bring as much joy to RJ’s life as he has brought into mine.

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Tara xoxo

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Reflections of 2015, Notes for 2016

3 01 2016

Happy New Year 2016 replace 2015 concept on the sea beach

Health:

It’s been a tough year and I have learnt more than ever not to take my body for granted. It might not look the way I want it to look but each day, each minute, each second it’s keeping me here. Doing what I need it to do. It’s a wonderful thing and I am intent on treating it better.

Friends:

Over the years I’ve felt sad about the quick entry and exit of “friends”. I went through various stages of sadness and anger at people who I deemed friends but who no longer held that position (by action or circumstance). I have finally learned that the title of friend is a sacred one and I am much more aware that such titles are to be given carefully and with thought and intent.

Having said that, know that it’s ok to lean away from certain social groups when you realise that a relationship with them has reached its peak or will not aid or may even stunt your emotional growth and depth as a person.

I truly believe people come into our lives for various reasons (and vice versa). Once you believe they have fulfilled their purpose, it’s ok to move on. Put them to one side and keep what you have gained (good and bad) for future endeavors.

Family:

They’re a complicated people but you only have one (not including those friends who get promoted to family, of course). They may not be what you want them to be or they may not always understand you, but they are yours. They won’t be around forever. Make time for them and log away good moments as memories to be cherished later. Some people are not so fortunate…

Love:

Last year was about loving myself. Physically. I didn’t have time to lament about my singledom and actually I think sometimes it would have been much tougher to love myself while trying to love another.

This year is about loving myself. Wholly. Mind, body, spirit. How can I expect someone else to love, what is still (in some aspects), unknown to me.

Love can wait… I come first.

Wealth:

Put simply, life is too damn short to do something that makes you unhappy (simply for money or stability).

However, it’s never too late to start saving. Going out to drink with your buddies 3 plus times a week may not seem a lot – but it is. Do you really need that extra bottle of rose, half an hour before the pub closes? (you’re already passed tipsy anyways). Think of how much you could save (money, hangover time, liver function, dignity).

Pursuit:

Whatever it may be…

To travel?

To learn a language?

To do something that scares you?

To re-train?

To start a new career path?

It’s never too early to follow your pursuits.

Be passionate and curious about the world around you.

Never stop learning.

Love yourself.

I hope you all had a great 2015 and my wish for you is that 2016 will be all that you allow it to be!

From my heart to yours ❤

Tara xoxo





Featured Piece: Trinidad 2013 by Shekhar Mahabir

25 02 2014

Carnival 2013 J'Ouvert

I would like to share with you, a piece of writing that my father (above – being attacked by my friend during J’Ouvert) did about his time in Trinidad in 2013. He was born and grew up in Southern Trinidad and left with his wife and young daughter (me!) for England to study Law. He eventually moved over into teaching instead and set down roots in East London with his family. Some 20-something years later, now retired, he returned last year to Trinidad for 6 months – the longest he has been home since leaving over 20 years ago. Here are his thoughts…

San Fernando From SF Hill

My four months sojourn in Trinidad left me with a mixed response. In some ways it was exhilarating and invigorating: in others it was a reminder to me of the reasons I left 24 years ago.
Spending time with family and friends was a pleasure with the usual vacation activities, a New Year weekend in Tobago, trips to Maracas and Manzanilla and even Los Iros (on my own). Having drinks with friends in the rumshops and bars was especially enjoyable particularly in the weeks through the Christmas season and leading up to Carnival.
I loved the local food which I didn’t realise how much I missed. Simple sada roti and chokha, baigan, tomato, okra, carailli, ground provisions, King fish and carite and curry duck and shrimps and all the great variety of local dishes were a treat. I know you could get similar meals abroad but not the same. They don’t have the landscape in them, nor the rhythm and energy of the place.
The most enjoyable aspect of Carnival was the Chutney soca music finals at Skinner Park. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing soca and calypso drifting into sound from radios, taxis, shops and at events. The atmosphere was similar to what I was used to growing up. I did observe however that the racial divide has become more entrenched in the world of calypso. While there are shared appearances between the young soca stars and the Indian chutney singers, the traditional calypso tents and old time style travelling tents were not very popular with the Indian audiences. And the reason seems to be that the politics along racial lines still exist. For example Sugar Aloes and De Fosto were booed and heckled at the calypso semi finals mainly because they were showing an openness and acceptance of the PP as the government of the day. And while the Indian chutney singers had a range of popular melodies, the themes usually reflected were for the males, being free, single and able to drink and make merry. For the females it was about wining and shaking down the place.
On the day to day living and transactional side of things, the slow pace of workers in government offices and banks and other business places remain as they ever were. It took me a whole day waiting in a queue to get an original of the new computer generated birth certificate. Another entire day to open a bank account and differing requirements to be produced on different days depending on who is at the reception desk. It seems as ever the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
Crime is still high though concentrated in certain areas like Laventille, Maloney, Diego Martin and other hot spots along the East West corridor. Murder weekends still make the news and in some cases are reflective of the deepening hold of the drug underworld kingpins. A case in point was the macabre discovery of a head on a table at the bar next the Skippers at the end of Pond St. The rest of the body was discovered in the canefield on Dumfries Road. This is clear evidence of a message being sent out to others in that underworld. Both perpetrators and victims seem to know each other and each murder or reprisal seems to be part of an underworld gangs’ battle for turf in the ever escalating drug war.
Police roadblocks are frequent and turn up on weekends and holiday times when drunk drivers and drug traffickers are actively sought out with spot checks and searches. Police vehicles are seen regularly on the road pulling over drivers and berating them for some misdemeanor or the other (for example a driver of a lorry was pulled over for allowing a passenger in the front seat to carry a child on her lap) So I would say the security services are more vigilant. Yet in spite of all this the occurences of crimes such as robbery and shootings still occur on a regular basis.
People still have double and triple locks and alarms and multiple security in their homes. But life goes on. People go the shows in the Bowl and other venues in San Fernando. Large crowds turn up at public events and the happy go lucky atmosphere and attitudes still pervade.
The most invigorating feelings came from enjoying the hot tropic weather. I loved the early dewy mornings and late afternoons. On evenings it was incredibly peaceful to sit on the patio, look out on the Gulf and watch the sunset on the horizon or just see the evening pass into night time like I used to feel sitting in my hammock in Avocat and looking out into the driveway.
In spite of all the wonderful moments and activities in Trinidad I have to admit that I looked forward to returning to London. I feel I can have both without having to decide to give up one for the other. Trinidad will always be my home, the place where I come from and to which I still feel a sense of belonging. The people know me and I know them. The friendliness and effortless camaraderie still exists and it warms my heart to feel that acceptance. The disillusion I felt which caused me to leave is still there. It may sound strange but I love Trinidad all the more because I know I can leave it. I know also that it is not going anywhere and what I miss and long for is just a flight away and with more flexibility in my time I can visit and leave at my convenience. But I love London as my adopted home and I feel I belong here as well. So why not have both. That is my position. I am a citizen of the world which for me is a global village.
Perhaps in the future I may look for a place of my own in Trinidad to eventually retire and end my days. But not now. Now I want to enjoy my semi retirement by travelling and enjoying the Metropolis and city life as much as I can.





I have this friend…

11 12 2013

Daria & Friends Grown Up

In the last 5 years, 3 women that I went to high school with have gotten married and 2 of them have had children. We are all the same age, grew up in the same area and were raised with very similar values.

In my group of friends there are 5 of us who seem to have been in the same boat for the last 3 years.

We fluctuate between knowing exactly what we want and wanting it, to not wanting to give up what we have to get it

Of course, I’m talking about a relationship.

My best friends and I can, and have talked about this ad nauseam. We never seem to tire of it and each time, although the conversations pretty much go the same way, we seem to uncover a nugget of gold about ourselves, men or the whole process of dating/relationships each time.

We range from 26-34 years and we vary in racial and ethnic background, education, experiences and careers and yet we are at the same position when it comes to finding another. This has been problematic for Jelly-Bean and I as we try to make sense of why we struggle to find someone of value. You see, there being no common thread makes it impossible to figure out. We all look different from one another (in terms of size and physicality). We have all shapes and sizes in our group from overweight and short to athletic and tall. We have sexy and cute, curvy and slim, blonde and black, curly and straight, long and short, yet we all have the same experiences. Some of us go out to very high-brow events in and around London and are culturally diverse while some of us limit our outings to the local pub or church socials. Yet again, we come back with the same results.

Soul Mates

Guys and girls alike usually ask us, “what are you looking for in a partner?

The following list comprises of the things we all agree we are looking for – of course in varying degrees.

-Someone who can meet us emotionally.

-Someone who can meet us intellectually.

-Someone we can have fun with.

-Someone who can navigate family and various friendship groups (by this we mean, he needs to be able to throw down a few pints with the locals and our friends and make a concerted effort with our family).

-Varied interests (by this we mean, he needs to be able to appreciate a foreign film/theatre production as much as he would a gig).

-Someone who is content with himself (we don’t want someone who needs us, we want someone who wants us).

PERSONAL BONUS: Someone who can make me laugh! (funny, will get him far).

Now, that sounds like a lot – but that’s not to say he must do or love those things, just that he is able to appreciate them and pull them out when the occasion calls for it.

I used to know someone, who, whilst agonising about his own singledom, would say to me, “but if you really wanted a boyfriend you could have one… your standards are just too high”.

I tried to explain to him that it’s not about having someone, it’s about having the right someone. I mean, let’s face it. It’s a lot of effort to get involved. Time is no longer yours. You are required to put a lot of yourself in it. You are required to commit yourself (even on a dating level).

Of course he didn’t understand exactly what I meant and blew me off with a “well you obviously just don’t want it bad enough”.

But that’s like saying to an overweight person “you know, if you really want to be skinny you could just become anorexic… clearly you just don’t want it bad enough!

The problem my 4 friends and I face is not that we don’t meet men, but rather we don’t meet the right men. I could take that one step further and say that we don’t really meet men but we meet boys. When I say boys I’m not talking about age but maturity and value level in terms of a partnership.

Anyway, this brings me to the current problem of one of my friends.

She met a guy. Let’s call him John.

A really great guy. A Man, who ticks every one of the attributes listed above and even presented a few more really wonderful qualities. He likes her back and has shown equal amount of interest. He came into her life just as she was ready to believe someone like him simply didn’t exist.

The down-side.

He just got out of a serious relationship (when I say just, I mean 2 months ago and when I say serious I mean, 3 years. He had introduced her to his family, he was getting ready to propose to her).

She broke up with him before he could propose, citing no other reason than “she needed to be single” – which begs the question, if she ever turned around and said “I’ve made a huge mistake, I love you and want you back” would he have any reason to say “no”?

Obviously there are two problems there – he’s probably still in love with his ex and he could be rebounding…

The other problem – he’s going away for 3 months to travel. He had expressed to my friend that he wished he had met her before and that the timing of this really sucks as he wants to get to know her better but I told her, maybe the timing is perfect and what he really needs is to get away and clear his mind of his ex and come back fresh and ready to possibly start something new.

But of course, the risks are:

  1. He’ll forget all about her.
  2. He’ll meet someone else (on his travels or otherwise).
  3. Or that he’ll come back, realise how much he can’t live without his ex and he’ll set about getting her back.

Not wanting to place all her eggs in one basket (that possibly still belonged to another) she met someone else.

That moment

Let’s call him Daniel.

Daniel is a nice guy. He kinda ticks some of the boxes and they have a few things in common. He has shown a lot more interest in her than she has in him and he seems respectful and caring but he’s not who she wants. He’s not who she imagines introducing to her friends and family. Now, obviously this is all a little pre-emptive. She doesn’t really know Daniel that well to shoo him off, but I have noticed that she talks about them very differently.

From my side of things, I can see a definite attraction. A chemistry between her and John, but with Daniel, it’s more like a quick spark. The girls and I have encouraged her to give Daniel a chance especially since the next three months will be without John, but when we say this to her she looks slightly deflated and we feel like we’re telling her that “it’s the taking part that matters, not the winning”. But, of course, she wants to be encouraged that she can win.

Personally I prefer John for her but I don’t want her to close herself off for three months especially when she doesn’t know if or what John will come back to.

If this were a Hollywood movie, in the end (through some sort of difficulty) we would all be routing for John and in fact he would pick my friend – perhaps he’d cut his trip short and appear on her door step. He’d probably say something like, “you’re all the adventure I need!” and they’d live happily ever after as the credits rolled. But it’s not a movie. And John is leaving and Daniel is staying.

Say Anything

Of course she can’t string Daniel along. Daniel is very sweet, kind and he’s quite smitten with her. His biggest draw back is that he’s not John. Poor guy, it’s not his fault. By all accounts he’s done everything right. I think if she had never met John she’d be thrilled with Daniel.

So this is the dilemma that is before her and the group.

I guess all that remains is the question – what does she want more? John or a relationship?

xoxo





Sarah Kay – If I Should Have A Daughter…

12 09 2013

I came across spoken word poetry recently and this piece by Sarah Kay has been on my mind ever since. It is officially called “B” but has become known as “If I Should Have A Daughter”.

It is a beautifully thought out and heartfelt piece.

Below the video I have put the script. Enjoy! xoxo

If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom,” she’s going to call me, “Point B.” Because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. 

And I’m going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

“And baby,” I’ll tell her, “Don’t keep your nose up in the air like that. I know that trick. I’ve done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him.” But I know she will anyway, so instead, I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rainboots nearby. Because there’s no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.

Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rainboots are for. Because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat. To look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind. Because that’s the way my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this,” my mama said. When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly, and the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain, and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment, and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say, “Thank you.” Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shore line, no matter how many times it’s sent away. 

You will put the “wind” in “winsome… lose some.” You will put the “star” in “starting over… and over…” And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute, be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. 

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive. But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. 

“Baby,” I’ll tell her, “Remember, your mama is a worrier, and your papa is a warrior, and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more. Remember that good things come in threes, and so do bad things, and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong. But don’t you EVER apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing. And when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war and hatred under your door and offer you handouts on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”





Simon Draper: 1 Year xoxo

22 04 2013

Simon Draper 1 Year

Exactly one year ago yesterday, a great friend was… lost… taken… stolen.

I had been feeling a bit anxious this week just gone. The date loomed over me and memories flooded back of where I was and what I was doing this time last year. The weather was warming up, people were feeling good. We had the Queens Jubilee and the Olympics on the horizon. We were spending lots of time socialising and making plans of how we’d spend our summer and generally everyone was pretty relaxed, happy and excited for the months ahead.

And then it happened. Just like that. He was gone.

It was a shock to everyones system and instantly we were all deflated. The colour seemed to drain from our little world and it seemed to get very still and very quite. We were numb.

I didn’t know what to expect at the memorial gathering we had for Simon. I know what I wanted. I wanted it to take on a different light than the dim, heart-wrenching sadness that fell over everyone last year. Instead of being still and melancholy, I hoped that it would be light and vibrant and full of stories and laughter. But I tried to prepare myself for the former.

As I walked in I could feel the emptiness in the air until I saw one of Simon’s best friends. Paul (known affectionately as Crumpet) could hardly stand this time last year. He was broken. He was a physical embodiment of how we all felt. This year, he came over to me with a big grin and a cuddle and said “we’re gonna do it right for Si tonight” I smiled and nodded and hugged him back. He had lifted everyones spirit and taken it to a place of celebration rather than grief. I’m not entirely sure it would have taken such a tone had he not been there. I was and still am very grateful to him.

Thankfully, I can report, I only cried three times this weekend (quite the feat if you had seen me last year). The Millers staff closed the bar and called for a two minute silence at 10pm in remembrance of Si. I quickly positioned myself next to one of the more tight lipped, stoic men in our group, named Steve. Steve a man of very few words and he is seemingly unaffected by things around him. I figured I’d be able to hold it together next to him. The manager rang the bell to signify the start of the two minutes. I could feel the sting of salt in my eyes as they filled up, so to stop myself I looked at Steve. It was a bad move – his eyes were fuller than mine. He looked at me and sobbed. That broke me. I started to cry, his wife Trish followed and we just hugged each other for the remaining seconds.

All in all, it was a great night and I did (overall) get what I was hoping for. Terrible and embarrassing stories were told, uncontrollable laughter and banter took over. I have a feeling that’s what he would have wanted too.

Simon 1 Year On

Although there were a few faces that were missing, I’m sure they had their reasons and I have no doubt that where ever they were, they too were having a flick through their bank of memories with Si.

We love you! This one’s for you Si xoxo





Opportunity comes a knockin’…

16 01 2013

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You may or may not know this about me: If I could live anywhere, it would be the United States.

More precisely I would live in New York City. I did a 3 month stint there to see what it would really be like to live in the Big Apple. As much as I loved it, I quickly realised that as someone who works with children I would never, truly be able to live the life I want in Manhattan. I simply would never be able to afford it. I made my peace with this and set my sights on somewhere within the United States that would be more realistic

This is not to say, of course, that I would never return. Manhattan will always have my heart, and I imagine it being a place I will treat myself to as often as I can afford.

Yesterday I got a call.

A job offer.

In Manhattan.

For just over a month.

I was paralysed with happiness.

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Of course I took the offer. Although it would mean that my main plan is put on hold, it could also afford me some great opportunities to research where I want to, realistically, end up.

A dear friend of mine has generously offered me board for my entire stay, which is about a 10 min cab ride from the family I will be working with. The pay is pretty great – and I estimate it will afford me living expenses, a little recreation but most importantly – I can save most of it!

If you ask me, anything short of forever is too short a stay in the City That Doesn’t Sleep, but I’d rather a month, than nothing. So the big picture can wait. I would do anything for the chance to spend another summer in New York City.

But wait! That’s not all! The job sounds pretty great – I’m not exactly a tutor and not exactly a nanny, my job is somewhere between the two. The family has asked me to work with their 4 year old daughter. To keep her occupied for the summer and take her out and about…

That’s right-

My job will entail taking her to The MoMA, Guggenheim, The Met, Central Park Zoo along with many more cultural delights.

What could be better than getting paid to go and absorb New York City at it’s best?!

It’s a full time position which means there won’t be much ‘me’ time, but that’s ok. The family go up to the Hamptons every weekend during the summer and have said they are more than happy for me to tag along – the time would be my own and I would be able to stay at their house and explore where-ever my little heart desires!

Who knows what other adventures I might find..?

Having said good-bye to my Manhattan dreams, this opportunity is like a ray of light in a dark room. I know it’s only a little summer job, but I’m certainly not going to snub it just because I can’t have it all.

New York City is definitely my Achilles heal.

Instead of fighting it, I’ve decided to get lost in my wonderful weakness! xoxo

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