We have been told we are all equal, although not necessarily the same. And, as such, dissimilar in every aspect yet equal, nonetheless. How do we compare notes, with our dissimilarities and differences composing our equalities? Will we discover our equality through our uniquely different tales? These tales that make up our life stories?

I have friends whose family experiences read like adventure novels, albeit episodic, very much like mine. So, at this point I’ll elaborate from first-person engagements on the ‘subject’ title.

Coming into this world is considered a blessing, yet greatly dependent on the welcoming committee to which I was not then consciously privy. Suffice to say, it may have been a mixed-blessing from the outset. Upon arrival, things had not gone swimmingly. Living conditions along the way were interspersed with peaks of joy, found in day-to-day endeavours, acting as distraction interludes. Needless to say, 10 months later a baby-sister joined the enclave and thereafter, the patriarch departed. Since then, it’s been attempts at permanence resulting in transience. Through it all, we adapted, coped, managed on the strength and determination of our matriarchal unit leader.

Like everyone else who’s experienced unease, uncertainty from their beginnings, I’m certain comprehending will not be difficult stretch. Still, spare yourself any comparisons even class association. True, our family unit had its economic challenges, to say the least; but, we were housed, clothed, fed and cared for so there were no discrepancies regarding, the have’s and have-not. Yes, there were things we didn’t have, trunks full-of-toys, clothes-to-spare and/or charity giveaways. But, hunger was not a factor, food was proportionate and sustaining, only the impermanence was a repetitious factor.

Initial Rollei exposure..

Initial Rollei exposure..

At the time of this photo session, living in different locations was accepted without question. We moved around a lot, changing household and locations. Learning how-to-adapt to new surroundings, people places and things; all the while developing what would later be known as ‘living deeply in the moment’, without the conscious awareness we would soon relocate. We were together and we were nourished on many levels of being. Unbeknownst to us, our matriarchal power-house had plans in the works of monumental proportions to which we would be called upon to adapt throughout our formative years. Less so to the understanding of my sibling, or so I thought.

Prior to was mentioned previously, our matriarchal immediate family units relocated to Canada and our mother followed suit, but to Scotland. I was privy to this plan, unknowingly, in that I assisted in preparations for the trip. I assisted our mother in studies, and in name insertions onto clothing for identification upon arrival at her new location. Of course, this activity was not comprehensible to my mind, the import of its meaning. What followed was another relocation, this time with a difference. Our mother did not reside with us as we had to be progressively weaned to the matter of her absence. In about 2 or more weeks she was gone and our communications were by mail, which included drawings from me which were interspersed with inquiries about our reunion. A painful experience for all concerned, my sister being less aware and unable to verbalize as she was able to sublimate through social adaptations more so than I. She became more emotional/sensory based as I was becoming more consciously aware of goings on, in limited fashion. All I knew was my mother, the primary care-giver and comforter was now absent and a void was beginning to materialize of which I was unable to describe, much less identify.

I was able to adapt to being alone by developing a ‘walkabout’ trait which allowed me serenity and alone time within the surrounding environment and nature. I was able to go about unnoticed, invisible while present in a crowd. A disciplinary program I cultivated when left to my own devices through my mother’s absence to which I accepted, and adapted without question or thought.

Time passed, and I was able to enjoy the transience which accompanied my aloneness amidst the day-to-day affairs between the ages of 8 – 13, my sister 6 – 11. We were able to find enjoyment in the many discards we experienced, abandonment and neglect, falling through the cracks as would be labelled today; but, to our consciousness in those times. It was Life in all its vicissitudes, not all black-and-white, cut-and-dry, as it appears to external viewing. Everyone present ‘did their duty’ where we were concerned, unaware of the lack of our emotional needs, as we were also unaware. We lived on the kindnesses we were shown, according to the know-how of our guardians, family members and other environmental contributors.

My sibling was more sociable than I, so the darkness that encroached was more evident to me, albeit consciously seen and felt. By the time we were to emigrate to Canada to reunite with our mother, the five-years that passed made a mark which is still being re-interpreted.

I was in second-form at Excelsior High School, in Jamaica and when I learned of the relocation that was to take place. Psychologically, I was hanging on to a thread as my psyche felt like it was taking a beating. There was a darkness, a veritable shadow that was overtaking my consciousness. I could visualize it in my mind’s eye, and it frightened me. But, the news created a light at the end of a tunnel, and I ran towards it as best I could.

Son/Brother  -Father-  Daughter/Sister

Brother/Son -Father- Sister/Daughter

The photo immediately above evidenced our situation. We were on the final leg of our Jamaican stay, myself 13 and my sister 11; our travelling clothes with us from five years earlier. You see, our mother’s thinking was far-reaching and progressive. Most of our clothes were purchased to last, mine as I remember. Cuffs were turned inside to be let-out as I grew, and shoes held cotton in their toes until I grew into them. A trait which I didn’t notice had developed into a conscious practice of inattention to fashion trend. I noticed not only was I not into ‘trends’; but also, I did not make garment purchases unless absolutely necessary. I still have garments purchased and unworn until necessary and often outgrown through neglect. Our mother was able to commandeer a post whereby she was able to improve herself by becoming a nurse, an act which afforded her the prospect to leave desperate conditions in Jamaica for an enterprising future available to us all in Canada.

She could have abandoned us in Jamaica, but that was not her way. We reunited as strangers with challenges of reunion and emigration, social constructs by which to learn and to adapt in the ensuing years. There are specifics which I’ll relate elsewhere, but suffice to say what followed in Canada continued the trend-of-transience, impermanence of which many are unaware as I am viewed through eyes and minds biased by individual experiences projected onto me as absolutes from the time of my arrival in 1962 through today.

Somewhere in 1970, an incident promoting a path for which I seemed destined to travel occurred, and from which much was learned. One of the many blessings and cursed gifts to be elaborated upon in time.

Championship years developing...

Championship years evolving…

From unconsciousness-to-consciousness, from collapse-to-fighting for my home. A condition that has evaded me from birth and for which I’m struggling, which I’m aware cannot be accomplished alone. Every step of my way there have been takers, but fortunately there have been timely givers albeit few and far between and I have learned to make the most of what I have been blessed.

Still connected, our times have received fortunes and misfortunes be-speckled with good and poor judgments, all the while doing the best we can with what we knew in spite of belief systems surrounding us. We were able apply learned methods to use whatever the systems afforded us, whether or not we were aware of the discrepancies.

Alas, there have been, and still are, many instances where those that know/knew better were unwilling to provide what was in their power to make things better for us due to their own biases. I’m sure many of you who’ve gotten this far can identify one way or the other. Of course, suppression persists; still, we all persevere and amble on doing justice to The Universal Plan, whatever It may Be.

Visiting Las Olas, FL  '08

Visiting Las Olas, FL ’08

The saga of continues, as I aspire to rise above biases, envy/jealousy and mis-managements by environmental currencies …

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