THE  ~  WORLD  ~  OUTSIDE 

 

 

Desmond had no idea his life was to journey down the path he was on. He was surviving what was labelled a ‘broken/dysfunctional home’, as well as ‘neglect and abandonment’; now, for its time, a monuments failure that was to tailor how his future would proceed. His saving grace was his mother, the one who had to bear the brunt of her choice to leave him to the elements of Life in a colonized land of the 50s. If the choice was deliberated for too long he would not be where he was, with the challenging opportunities that abounded.

 

Here he was, at the ending of the 60s, and incoming 70s, without a clue of how to plan a path, save one of surviving day-to-day. He departing for a place of higher learning only to return unsuccessful to reside in unfamiliar territory, and with a step-father. All were welcoming, and he went with the flow as he had learned during childhood.

 

Through the fortunate connections of his step-father, an inheritor of colonization making his way forward with the opportunities afforded him, he was to secure jobs with very little opposition. The phrase, “It’s not what you know but who you know”; better yet,  “Not who you know, buy who knows you and will speak on your behalf” is most beneficial in Life. There is another part, but later for that.

 

During that first year, Desmond, because he was industrious and willing, was able to pick and choose jobs secured by his step-father. Of course, being ignorant of the Workings of Life through his transient past, he never truly clued into the wherefore and whys of these opportunities. Unfortunately, before he was able to learn such things Life threw another curve. His step-father began and lost a battle with the big ‘C’, and succumbed to it within the year after he’d returned from his university experiences. The path down that road was unexpected and unfamiliar, but he adapted supporting his family, as best he knew, doing what was required until his step-father’s Life passage ended. 

 

Thus, began the grieving phase for his mother and sibling, and the way forward in the Canadian diaspora if the 70s.

 

Needless to say, the intended return to university was delayed for another year finding work as best he could, possibly with atmosphere remaining of his step-father’s reputation aded to his mother’s aptitude for survival along with his. Desmond gained occupations that had potential for careers into the future, but his penchant for ‘change’ at the slightest hurdle saw him quitting and moving on. Fortunately, he was willing to do anything that would pay-a-wage. Even if it was taking on two part-time jobs to keep going, it wasn’t a problem. What benefitted him was the fact there were folks about unwilling to do jobs they felt was below their qualifications which allowed him access. His only qualification at that juncture was his willingness to do honest work!

 

After a set to at a good paying job as a surveyor, he noticed and accepted his one weakness, at the time. He was unwilling to work outdoors during the Canadian Winter! The job’s set to was mollified, but he felt the sting of Autumn flowing into Winter and submitted his resignation before that Christmas Holiday. He recalls looking out onto a crisp blanket of freshly fallen snow at Zero F, while cozy and warm on the inside of the family home. However, his job status had never left his mind. He needed to secure a job that would bring in some money, and not let the full load fall onto his mother.

 

He was able, through unforeseen circumstances, to acquire a job obfuscating the truth, just a little. He became the doorman, euphemistically called a ‘bouncer’, in an establishment now extinct. He became the sole law-keeper, as he was called. Actually, they called him ‘Sheriff / Marshall’ being the lone peace-keeper, which was required since it accommodated bikers, civilians and university students. One rule, “no fights on the premises”! This rule went over well, since no one wanted to be barred from ‘The Embassy”, a place which had a unique ambience. 

 

This was a successful turnaround for his employer, and the clientele’s comings and goings. For the two previous employees whose job he now occupied for less than their combined pay, not to mention creating a more cordial atmosphere, this would not stand. Something had to be done!

 

 

 

 

Peaceful Co-Existence?

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UNIVERSITY  ~  LIFE

 

 

Upon graduating high school, before leaving for his probationary higher education setting, Desmond  felt painful leaving behind what he felt was the beginning of a loving relationship. This was a pattern throughout his life into his present. Either he was left behind, or he was leaving another behind never to be seen again. There was a lack of information filling the gap between the parties and neither was aware of the reasonings involved that was to enlighten them both.

 

So, off he went into another unknown to navigate the conditions wending his way forward. It was on campus his eyes began to open about so many things his life thus far was unconcerned, and/or left for Time ’n Circumstance to illuminate. One such illumination, which was to have impact later on post-graduation, was his introduction to First Nations peoples. Upon meeting his a ‘Canadian Indian’, his first, he was tasked with realigning his construct formed by comic books he’d read during his formative years. He was unaware of the racial divide shared in spite of the incident where his recent acquaintance was carried back across the border to the university, with a knife stuck in his back!

 

Not being one to favour any particular ethnicity, Desmond found himself among many groups who favoured their own, yet accepted pioneers among them so that they learned and expanded their construct amidst their academic learnings. Cafe entertaining, bridge ’n chess, and attending a few select courses augmented what was coming-of-age amidst the sexual revolution in a naive fashion. Being mild-mannered, he was found to be approachable and non-threatening to those who felt the urge to adventure off-their-reservation, outside their cultural boundary. Of this he was unaware. There was an occasion when he’d spent an entire evening with an amiable paramour, who afterwards sobbed woefully refusing to tell him what moved her so?

 

It was a costly, yet wonderful year that he felt was worth the price of admission. But, this was the tip of the iceberg in a sea of icebergs yet to be discovered! The year ended, time for him to return to his home. Surprisingly, his home had been relocated during the time of his absence. A step-father as well as a new dwelling were additions to navigate and comprehend. This he accepted in stride, nothing new in the grand scheme of things the way Life has treated him. He had much to process, and this occasion he added to the sack he’d been carrying with the others.

 

What was an immediate concern, with this addition? He was unsuccessful in the completion of the terms of his probation and was to spend one-year out-of-school before being allowed to return. He was also on the hook for the student loan he’d amassed, so finding a job amidst the melee of goings on was a priority! What to do, and how to do it going forward?

 

 

 

 

Kissimmee Stn.

UNIVERSITY  ~  LIFE

 

 

Desmond overcame a few obstacles in getting into first year university, but that just a continuation of what he was unaware ongoing and oncoming. Fortunately, he was surrounded by kindly folks who buffered harsh realities he hadn’t noticed nor had he learned. He was ‘playing in the fields of the lord’. He was getting a Life education amidst an academic setting. Although, he was often unaware of female attention his libido was not averse to approach his interests in spite of shyness. Being under the influence of alcohol, of which he was an initiate, his efforts fell short of acquisition and was accepted with humour, by reactions he witnessed the following mornings on those occasions.

 

The cultural/ethnic diversity of that small university made his goings easy in spite of being across the US border. He had made new friends of First Nations and those of other geographic regions who had more unfortunate experiences.

 

The world around had a way of being most unkind, and he had chosen to find out, learn of its ways after turning eighteen. He had made a mental note which he had not known was to materialize in ways that challenges Faith as well as surviving. One morning when his mother entered his room announcing it was time to go to church, he went under the covers while responding his refusal to go. Her action was as surprising as his response. She turned about and left, closing the door behind her. He wondered what was in his tone that made her not argue or debate his reply? Laying there, he mused on his decision in keeping with his reasoning for not going into the ministry she had expressed as a desire for him. He felt before leading a congregation he had to know about Life, and It was something he had little to no knowledge considering his earlier life.

 

Well, he was getting a fine introduction into the goings on of Life from an insular environment, a good thing too. The first of his getting wet was an on-campus sit-in protest. Desmond has been pulled into a scenario to support a very popular professor who being let go just before acquiring tenure. Desmond heard, and agreed with their position, then found himself in a barricaded building where the protest was actuated. The City police was kept off-campus understanding the Campus Security would manage the situation. 

 

What exacerbated the situation, and was a curiosity to Desmond’s mindset, was that fellow students fell into camps of opposition and support. The campus was divided! It was jocks against liberal arts. The jocks were willing to take up arms, baseball bats ’n clubs, break into the building and bash heads. How this erupted was beyond him, but the occupiers were determined in their belief of support for someone being mistreated, while the jocks saw it simply as a contract negotiation. Both having their perspectives, Desmond thought, but acts of violence was not the Christian Way, this being a former religious college and the major belief of its population. Something for his religious positioning, as he had inadvertently spoken as a learning point.

 

Fortunately, conservative and intelligent minds prevailed. The jocks were obstructed, a compromise was attained, the sit-in ended and we exited the building no worse for the wear save a mental note of irrationality of those around you considered friendly, who easily and quickly turn into enemies. Luckily, Desmond still had his a cappella gig at the campus cafe, along with the odd social events. One occasion saw him over-indulging in homemade Italian wine drawn directly from barrels in the resident’s basement, and him attempting an amorous engagement with a willing co-ed. 

 

Alas, too much wine averted coitus and cuddling into slumber resulted. The next da in the campus cafeteria, he received endearing appreciation from onlookers giggling, patting his shoulder and stroking his neck on passing. Mutual affections abounded that year in spite of missed coitus opportunities. The news across the border kept things in perspective, the plus side being the Tiger’s winning the Pennant. As Sinatra once sang, “It was a very good year”.

 

 

 

 

 

In the Park

UNIVERSITY  ~  LIFE

 

 

During that auspicious 1st year attempt at higher learning in the University of Windsor, Desmond was to drift through many cultural, social environs and experiences he never knew existed, which began to take shape upon registration.

 

Having eventually secured adequate residence, his social life ventured into various arenas beginning with co-eds willing to teach him the basics of bridge and chess. He couldn’t get enough of these games playing them every chance he got form during classes he no longer attended, as well as before and after classes he did attend. He took advantage of the newly built sports arena, attempting to make the track and field team for which he was under-prepared. Having spent the previous 5yrs in high school without adequate coaching, going only on raw talent.

 

Most days he could be found on the track running, then in the sauna ’n olympic-size swimming pool which occupied 3 – 4hrs of those days. Little did he know he was being observed by others, co-eds of various ethnicities taking a liking to him. This was the sixties, the onset of the flower-power movement and open-sexuality. He was to experience adventures for which he was unprepared, not to mention did not recognize or realize had a bearing on his ethnicity. There was also that incident of his accidental entry into the swimming pool with his bathing suit on his shoulder!

 

He did have his eye on one he had no chance of being with, except taking advantage of the Valentine’s Day Kiss offered. He made certain to get a kiss from his secret-crush, yet missed out on one who wanted him which he realized only after passing by her, and was too shy to return to make amends for the slight. There were many such oversights of which that Valentine tradition was one.

 

Desmond had unexpected, intimate encounters biased by fantasies watching Hollywood Movies. He entered into each encounter feeling he’d met a life-partner only to experience confusion and clumsiness, both feeling uncomfortable in not knowing what was to follow. Nothing! Each encounter was never repeated and neither party crossed paths again. Upon discovering the coffee shop, he expressed his longings in song which the audience felt and appreciated in reference to their own longings.

 

On one occasion he took it upon himself to venture into the on-campus pub. There he proceeded to drown his sorrows in gin ’n tonic. How many he consumed is still a mystery; suffice to say, he was unstable as well as unsteady. Solo, he proceeded to the bathroom and proceeded with a process most unexpected. He threw up and defecated in turn, and was unable to exit the stall. So, there he sat leaning against the side of the stall and fell asleep.

 

He was awaken by a recognizable voice, a source who also recognized him by the tennis shoes he was noted for wearing. “Desmond, is that you?” Desmond replied in the affirmative and was told to open the cubicle door so they could retrieve him. This they did, and he washed his face while they allowed him to adjust, adopting his surroundings. They agreed fresh air was paramount and decided a stroll down by the river was in order. Along the way, Desmond fell into despair and began bawling uncontrollably. His associated told his partner to let him be, because he’d been there and the cry was what was required at that time.

 

Emotionally spent from the crying time, Desmond was accompanied to his dwelling. He bid his rescuers a good night/morning. They departed, and he went in downstairs, and slept into the day energizing for upcoming experiences. One of which had implications he was not to realize until decades later!

 

 

 

 

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UNIVERSITY    L I F E  

 

 

Desmond, having survived his truculent childhood, emigrated to Canada of the early 60s to reunite with his mother and other matriarchal relations. He made it through turbulent adolescent years and transitioning into adulthood arrived in university inadequately prepared, but open to whatever laid ahead.

 

He acquired suitable lodging with the aid of a classmate, discovered he was in the wrong program to study and obligated to a Student Loan Program, he thought. Working through the panic which assailed him he elected to stay in the program he believed to be a life-sentence, not knowing options available. His year began by attending classes he felt manageable, two being Religious Studies and Drama.

  

He made friends easily, it being a small university recently being renamed from its previous nomenclature of Assumption College. A few of his new mates were from Toronto, others from Quebec, Kirkland Lake, Chatham-Aylmer and the other surrounding areas of Windsor, Ontario and his first Nigerian. It was during this time he took to learning two new games which were to be mainstays going forward. These games were Bridge and Chess, and learning to play them kept his mind from his calamitous situation.

 

Being shy he had haphazard forays into sexual intimacy that he’d not considered because of his religious upbringing. He had been influenced throughout early childhood by the institutions of Anglicanism, Baptist, Catholicism, Church of God Saints of Christ, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, being christened a Protestant in the Presbyterian sect. His immortal soul required saving, and the matriarchs saw to it there were ample opportunities for that to occur. His propensity for art and interest in aviation, it was suggested he consider being a flying missionary.

 

Long before attending university, had had been a member of his high school’s religious club and was seen to cruise through 60s Yorkville Village with a bible under his arm. Of course, this was not visible in his demeanour save giving him a calm facade that co-eds may have found attractive, because the opportunities abounded and he missed more than he was able to allow himself to experience. One of his school mates was a fellow football player who made it onto the varsity team, while he chose track and field. His choice was based on the belief his size made him unsuitable. As it turned out he may have saved himself from harm, in spite of there being no attention given him by the varsity coach of track and field for the same reason. 

 

There was one asset he hadn’t counted on which gave him notoriety and calm, which was his ability to carry a tune. This skill he’d discovered during his senior year in high school, with the initiate of a classmate and musical director. He attended a coffee house on campus and was supported to going up sing a song. This he did, ‘a cappella’. To his surprise all his solitary teen angst expressions gave way to applause and call for more. He became a sought after regular with requests because of his crooner song choices.

 

A highlight of Desmond’s unsuccessful academic year occurred when visiting students from Wayne State University in Detroit heard him sing and requested he visit and perform a set in their campus coffee house. He agreed, they came and picked him up and took him across to their campus. With the exception of a Custom’s Officer making an issue to make certain he wasn’t a draft dodger attempting to sneak back int the country, the evening went well and he was returned unscathed to his residence on campus.

 

The year came to a close with only the aforementioned events giving him time to sort his emotional and mental state going forward. What was ahead was beyond the scope of his imagining, except he was preparing to tackle having acquired a debt, being unemployed and having failed at his attempt at higher education. He was venturing into a domain no one had done, being the first born in a foreign land and under-prepared. There was yet another twist of fate welcoming him. He was to reside in a different dwelling than he had the prior year, reasons for which he was to learn upon arrival.

 

 

 

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SCHOLARLY   LIFE

 

 

He arrived on campus only to realize he had not been properly prepared for what was required, the basics of where to live. It was not to be as straight forward as his life had been, going from place to place accepted with cordiality. He found himself with no concept of campus and off-campus lodging, but being a quick study he ventured to call around, make appointments and go from there; easy, peasy. 

 

Well, not so as his first call was first met with acceptance, but upon arrival was declined with the words, “It’s been taken” after a fifteen-minute bus ride. He had not taken into account his ethnicity, and that there was an issue of civil rights in Windsor of the 60s. He was in need of lodging, ant there was another option from an earlier call made. This call required an hour’s bus ride, but resulted in having an off-campus lodging in the home of a pleasant woman of similar ethnicity. She reminded him of his patriarchal grandmother, their interaction being fluid and congenial.

 

He would have felt well situated if not for the lengthy bus ride and the disconnected feeling from campus life. For this, Life was to present a timely resolution.

 

During a biology lab session his conversation broached the housing topic with his lab-partner. It so happened he recently lost his room-mate to an opportunity for on-campus housing and he was in need of a room-mate to share his basement apartment. Their needs, his discontent and disconnect, and his lab-partner room-mate loss and financial need had a solution in sight. It was proposed he take a look at the space to decide if it was suitable. This felt a most fated, synchronistic occurrence which must not be ignored.

 

They went to the abode, a quaint finished basement apartment and a 5minute stroll from the main campus. He was given a tour of the space, and they agreed on terms which halved the lodging costs and saved an hour’s bus ride to and from campus. They discovered in no short order, the landlady had something to say about this. Upon emerging through the basement apartment entrance, she appeared and inquired as to this stranger’s presence. 

 

He informed her of the situation and that he wanted him as his room-mate for the rest of the school year. There was a pregnant pause, then she replied, “If you don’t mind him living with you, I guess it’s alright.” To these words, caused us to automatically look at one another. There was the dawning of the unconsidered thing. They were a salt and pepper pair, long before the ‘I spy’ TV Series. They had not considered their pairing would have had any consequence. They moved on with her assent and agreed on moving in arrangements.

 

This move did have a down side, having to disappoint the kindly lady who had given him a place to stay when he was in need. That evening they agreed to his decision’s merits in spite of the financial loss to her. A bitter sweet farewell, and he relocated to his new abode with a likeable room-mate, 5minutes stroll from campus; and, trusting his previous land-lands would find a suitable student.

 

Curiously, after a short time of living in that basement apartment, his mother paid him a visit. During the early days of his stay he had never noticed the landlady, because his room-mate, Gary took care of paying her the rent. Upon his mother’s arrival the landlady appeared and he introduced her to his mother. To my surprise she invited them upstairs onto the main floor for tea and sandwiches. A confluence of her experiences with him as an amiable tenant contradicting what mass media previously caused her to believe?

 

Their social intercourse was cordial, his mother’s visit mutually relaxing, with the school year set to make unusual impressions upon his psyche in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

entry-level

ESPECIAL  DAY

 

 

It is said, you have your memories and I have mine, which is accorded each of us by way of our personal experiences. 

 

Contrary to popular opinion, beliefs and experiences of others, I never really knew my father. There was a man I called ‘dad’ according to custom with barely remembered experiences, throughout my growing years. There is an early photo of being held as a child in his arms at some sort of celebration, the only evidence of  me being in that setting. Thereafter, contacts and interactions were random and sporadic throughout childhood into puberty, no daily engagements.

 

There were a few memorable interactions prior to adulthood: a Yuletide notice of no presents due to failing school grades; being a happy passenger on the back of his police motorcycle; and, the gift of a pup during the year my younger sibling and I resided at his family’s home before emigrating to another continent. During my early adulthood personal engagements were once every few years when I was able to afford to travel. Surprisingly, he attended my wedding, which was short-lived and ended in divorce. 

 

Growing through middle adulthood, he had occasion to warn me I was being exploited, bleak information for which I was grateful but unable to fully actuate without further input and support mechanism. The only substantive relevance of the information was validating a current tenuous situation I was experiencing with a certain party warranting caution. 

 

I carried that information without directional benefit, but was fortunately in the process of developing an independent support mechanisms through education. We all have our trials and tribulations, and his life was no different. We lived our lives with only cursory knowledge of one another’s goings on, communicating at long-distance from time to time. It was during one of those dialogues he divulged his regret for not being the father he should have been. 

 

I accepted those spoken words, forgiving the past as one unable to regret what was an unknown life experience I had never lived. He was my father, and being his son has had benefits I do not deny however they materialized. This saying comes to mind, “It’s not what you know but who you know; not who you know, but who knows you; and, not only who knows you, but also who’s watching you.” I often sense I’m at the whim of Chance in a chaotic world.

 

I appreciate, sharing vicariously in others’ fatherly experiences via friendships, scripted dramas from movies and television shows observed throughout my life. Many families’ lives gifted me opportunities of what a home life was as witnessed my early years; before and after emigrating to this northern landscape. I learned through many observations and social engagements albeit unable to fully grasp the daily family dynamics, be it a two and/or single-parent process.

 

Still, I share with so many an unease within when I hear, “Happy Father’s Day”, levied with taken-for-granted abandon. However, I am void of anger ~ remorse ~ sadness; just an unoccupied space, neither good nor bad, a beneficial void unable to appreciate the expressed celebratory sentiments others share and hold dear. 

 

It is as it is … HAPPY  FATHER’s  DAY, one and all! Enjoy what you have within your purview to comprehend!

 

 

 

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a  COMBAT   SCENARIO 

 

 

 

This was an interesting phase of my combat years; and, unknown to me was the scenario I was to learn about, enduring its fallout. I was making my way across Canada as a premier fighter, unaware of my calibre due to my initial focus to becoming a Tae Kwon-Do stylist which is a tale for the telling in itself. 

 

My training, also included being a university student and part-time employee, and at this juncture my instructor told me of an invitation to an especial fight in Alberta: two competitions over the space of one-weekend, light-contact point and full-contact fighting. I agreed to compete at his behest and under odd specifics. I was not paying strict attention to the way I was being informed. 

 

Suffice to say the result was agreeing to fly to the competition on a one-way ticket and win the competition, in order to pay-my-way back to Toronto. Arguably, my doubts about winning were presented, but he was confident in my skillset at this juncture. The specifics were it being a combined tournament, contact and non-contact with a cash-purse, if successful. Therein was the motivation for my return airfare, by his assertion. I resumed training in order to improve my chances in winning.

 

Time came and we flew to Edmonton, arrived for a first weekend experience of my lifetime. Quietly, I entered the arena and went onto the bleachers-section to gain an overview. While seated there, I was joined by an entourage led by a rather large fellow. By the looks of him he stood 6’ 6” and weighing a well-trained and fit 250lbs, conservatively speaking. He sat nearby and we struck up a conversation, whereby I learned he was an American, ex-military from an airborne division. 

 

Within minutes he and his crew stood and stated he was leaving. Surprised, I inquired as to his departure. His response has stayed with me to this day, as I psychologically prepared to meet this fellow during the Grand Championship segment of the competition, should I succeed in winning my division. He said, “There’s no competition here.” I was amazed at his candidness and, internally sighing in relief as I shook his hand, bid him adieu and a safe journey.

 

As it turned out, I was successful in both combat scenarios. I was the overall champion in the non-contact divisions, and full-contact champion in my weight class. However, the promoters came up with a crowd pleasing idea, agreed to by respective instructors. They wanted a Grand Championship match between both full-contact weight classes, heavyweight and lightweight. I was having none of it and headed to the changing rooms!

 

Of course, there was an announcement calling me to meet with my instructor. We met and, after a disagreeable exchange, it was agreed both full-contact winning fighters would engage in a semi-contact demonstration, winner take-all match. 

 

We approached the podium, entered the ring and began our 2/3 rounds to the delight of the audience. Our exchanges were on par until a spark was ignited where we both threw reverse-punches to the head and the lights overhead went out. Actually, we had knocked each other out, standing motionless in our trained-fighting positions, centre-ring. We regained consciousness, and regained sight of each other still in defensive positions, the noise increasing around us. According to the announcer, we were both issued a warning for excessive force!? 

 

The rounds ended, to our delight and that of the audience, not to mention the promoters and high-ranking instructors present, and me. I had won my airfare back to Toronto! 

 

What took place that weekend was more than I realized; but, several months later an announcement was made there was to occur the First World ITF Tae Kwon-Do Championship in Montreal. We flew back to Toronto; I resumed my university studies, martial arts training and part-time employment awaiting the adventures to come.    

 

 

 

 

 

1. Combatants c.'73

COMING  FULL  CIRCLE

 

 

One never knows what circumstances Life awaiting. The conditions included cannot even be imagined. Take, for example, the country in which you are born? Can you imagine, much less fathom, the time and place goings on upon arrival by your birth? These conditions/circumstances are things accepted, taken for granted in which we operate hitting the ground running, so to speak.

 

I had been alive fro 14yrs, thirteen of which was on a Caribbean Island, and the fourteenth in a northern city in North America. I entered a high school to begin my journey through a new education system, learning as I grew which included the realms of biology, psychology and sociology. During the latter years of my learning one area involved what was considered extra-curricula, specifically track and field. Little did I know I was amassing qualifications to receive a certificate of athletics award.

 

It was during my third year, that a turning point for the school’s track and field team occurred. A coach who had a passion for the venue took over the team. He was to cultivate and develop a tradition going forward. Unfortunately, it was at a time I was heading toward graduation so his attention focussed on the lads who would benefit the school from his efforts. I was transitioning out as they were transitioning in. 

 

Nonetheless, I crossed path with another student, one in the Visual Arts section of the school, and a member of the track and field team. He was a junior, one who would benefit from this new coach while I transitioned out. Two years later, I was to graduate and journey through Life’s awarded conditions for twelve years. Life offered circumstances for me to immersed myself in a self-defence system of the martial arts for ten of those twelve years. 

 

I had transitioned out of the martial arts school Life conditions had presented, and was in the early phases of attempting to continue developing my skillset by establishing my own martial arts school. During one of my usual walkabouts I decided to step into a jewelry establishment I had passed on occasion because its marquee imaged a symbol for which I had an interest. It was a stylized image of a Unicorn.  

 

I entered the establishment by way of a descending stairway opening into an marvellous expansive space with original-crafted, free-form jewellery pieces. What made this decision to enter synchronistic was the experience of recognition that followed. It turned out the proprietor and I were track & field teammates in our high school years, thirteen years earlier during which time a myriad of drama/traumas occurred. 

 

There we were, face-to-face, not knowing that this meeting was just the beginning of unimaginable drama/traumas to come.       

 

 

 

 

 

Metamorphosis

TRUE   CONFESSIONS  

 

 

Repressions/Suppressions were the patterns in my growth. There was never a time when excitement was not followed by grief and hurt, so I relegated myself to being mindful of all that I did and/or was invited into doing as Time went bye. 

 

Of course, being human I dared on occasion either through forgetfulness or hopefulness to follow a whim or fancy only to find I had chosen unwisely. Not all were without benefit(s) but all were followed by, if not accompanied by a pain. I was somewhat aware of my reserved manner and apparent lack of excitement toward experiences where others would otherwise show enthusiasm. It is difficult for me to be as expressive when the aftermath of similar experiences brought out naysayers, not to mention those scheming to demean any of my achievements or accomplishments.

 

Maybe, as it appears, folks just cannot help themselves. 

 

On one hand they compliment and cheer me on, all the while reserving reflexive opposition and disdain. Without their knowledge, by happenstance, I would often overhear their private statements in tones that lacked the praises they previously showed in public. I am approached in friendship while plans are made to subvert any kind of success in favour of others. It was a usual mainstay of my martial arts experience: praise with envy, when followed by an honorarium. I found myself on a mountaintop with unexpected accomplishments many believed I desired due to my fervour in getting to the so-called ‘top’ of my game. 

 

Similarly, in education, I was the first of my generation to acquire a degree and, although admired and possibly praised, I am given the moniker one to whom a certain respectful distance is given. Unfortunately, this respectful distance acts as a barrier whereby nothing knowingly gets in or out. 

 

Then, there is the physical appearance to which I had not been consciously aware, until 1986 when I was recommended to ‘take a look in the mirror’. I was unable to comprehend that recommendation until 30yrs later. Since it was first mentioned, I would look and ask myself, “What was I to see that I had not seen before?” After all, my reply to the initial question, “Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror?” was, “Yes, whenever I brush my teeth and comb my hair each morning.” 

 

Thereafter, came the recommendation, to “just stand there and look at yourself”, which I did on occasion but was unable to gain the insight of comprehension until decades later. Much had to occur in the interim, and it wasn’t until reflection in my early-retirement did I begin to grasp what I was to apprehend. Too little, too late? Maybe; too soon to tell, possibly?

 

 

 

 

 

11b. Outside the Ring  '74

Conceptualizing

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