ANOTHER  FULL  CIRCLE

 

 

Before going off on another tangent, I’d like to close this cycle which appears a circle. When this, “Police Services Interaction”, peculiar exposition began I spoke of having origins within my patriarchal environ. Looking back on the path I had navigated, the specifics could not have been foreseen much less planned for or against. There was an unfolding that originated then materialized from the ether that was Life’s.

 

It was a matter of being born in the Tropics with behaviours particular to its time, emigrating to another continent with its indigenous behaviours and unaware of my tool-kit’s contents for survival, which I was to use and eventually discover the qualities therein.

 

The journey traversed a circuitous path from that origin to place me where I am, aligned to Police Services.

 

I left where my father’s vocation was with the Jamaican Constabulary, until his untimely passage into the hereafter, only to have numerous close encounters of which I was fortunate to navigate safely without stereotypical incarceration. I was aware of certain news items that were operating while en route, and unaware of what could have had very unfortunate outcomes had variations to conditions been different. 

 

My living conditions, during the ‘Spot Check’ scenario, was facilitating the closing of the cycle. I had overworked myself to the point of collapse and, during my early phase of recovery, began volunteering in unknown arenas that were presented. One could say it was meant to be, but that would sound fatalistic.

 

One of the contributing factors to my collapse began much earlier in the late 90s, and afforded me information to look out onto the goings on in a neighbourhood I had resided for 10yrs but was unfamiliar. Venturing out into the neighbourhood one thing led to another and I became a neighbourhood representative for my building in Its association. Earlier in my alignment with this association I was asked if I would accept a position that became open. This position was liaison to the police services division of which my neighbourhood constituted a part.

 

Accepting this position sparked the coming full circle, in my perception, in spite of my much earlier decision not to become an official member of this city’s constabulary upon arrival. When I arrived my country of origin carried no firearm and I wished not to carry one. Here I am 55yrs later, aligned without having to carry a gun, with the Police Services of Toronto coming full circle in an interesting cycle. 

 

No one was aware to pay attention to this circumstantial occurrence, least of all me; and, none were the wiser on seeing this coming.

 

 

 

CPLC Volunteer Award copy

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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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Anthropological    Content 

 

 

At a certain moment in Time, during my physical comprehension on the biometric level, I was informed ‘Free Will’ was an illusory construct to pacify the masses. Many were seeking their place in Life, and try as I might, I was steered onto the self-determining route from which there was only a forward path I knew not from whence I came. 

 

How do I clarify the aforementioned statement? 

 

Well, Nothing would give me greater pleasure, except specifics are peculiar to timely discourse and an open mind towards accepting outside-the-box concepts is a pre-requisite. Starting points are synchronistically philosophical and scientific! Question is, how open-minded to this comprehensive notion are you, and where do we begin? 

 

Are you a religious and/or spiritual person, and to what do you ascribe? Are you fluid, conventional and/or rigid in mindset? All are factors in the comfort level of you going forward. Take a few moment to consider your place in this Time/Space Continuum before deciding if/when/how you’re to proceed, and if we are going together on this journey.

 

I’ll be back to get your decision, as I continue my journal entries …

 

 

 

 

50. HALO

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

Forewarned  –  not  –  Forearmed

 

 

For the first time, after numerous occupations since my arrival in Toronto and upon completing 25yrs in teaching, I received a government document in the mail revealing decades of pension contributions. It was noticeable because, in tandem, I received notification I would qualify for early retirement in 3yrs. A timely notification as decades of stress and drama/traumas I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, symptoms I had unrecognized when experienced.

 

Many years have passed since my early retirement began, and what appears a constant is the unfolding of decades of missteps and misadventures that might have been avoided if those around me were not either intimidated and/or had envious inclinations of how I may have benefitted at the time of their inputs. Luckily, I did receive one or two inputs which I was able to explore, and one resulted in being employed in the teaching profession. 

 

Although, I was able to enter into that vocation it was not without its naysayers, opposition and withholders. Even their promoted concept of mentoring was not applied to me by those who had it within their jurisdiction to support me by such data. Unbeknownst to all, navigating the education required astuteness to grasp as whatever straws were within reach as I overcame early stuttering and dyslexia both of which were not labelled as educational restrictions then.

 

Through strict discipline, corporal and otherwise, I was able to develop strategies to process and learn through my undiagnosed dyslexia, obsessive-compulsive and attention deficit hyperactive behaviour. Other laymen terms used during my early childhood years, especially upon emigrating to an anglo-dominant society where I received a definitive set of labelling geared toward my ethnic appearance.

 

Nonetheless, ‘I made it through the rain’ as the lyrics claim, albeit in a different context to where surviving my life’s dramas/traumas, which included asthma, have brought me. Appreciating where I am requires more time than I feel is afforded me by the preceding years achievements which, upon reflection are many. I am tasked with recognizing and releasing the hurt and pain heaped upon me deliberately and happenstance/ignorance along my way.

 

The way forward involves making peace with the way travelled, requiring the kindness of family, friends and strangers alike; including, the naysayers, the angered and injured along the way. My ignorance from lack-of-support caused unintended injuries as I too was likewise injured. So much forgiveness to going forward from backwardness, which is the only way toward healing and growth if wholesomeness is to be experienced while ageing out of this mortal coil.

 

 

 

quiet-retreat

OVERCOMING    MISSIVES

 

 

During my first attempt at acquiring what was deemed a higher education, I hit a brick wall founded on ignorance meted out via cultural shifts: being a person of colour in an otherwise uncaring and unknowing system after emigrating from a similar system where I was a majority yet minority. Contemplate that statement a while and I hope it does make sense.

 

After finding myself in unfamiliar territory which required tools other than the required educational qualifications of which I was unaware, I was unprepared to accomplish the goal I had yet to set for myself having arrived on the scene. I faced other dilemmas to choose among in order to proceed under conditions bearing down upon me. I had arrived onto this higher education stage and found I was misplaced. I was erroneously registered in a faculty of interest without requisite qualifications!

 

WHAT  to  DO? I was admitted conditionally with borderline qualifications, via the student loan program and without information to improve the condition of faculty misplacement. Dropping-out/leaving was not a desired option; then, what!?

 

I decided to continue onward, staying-in but dropping-out having accepted being unsuccessful as the eventual outcome. I rationalized my particulars: no working-tools from home and school experiences; inaccurate faculty placement; student loan commitment; and, no job possibilities had I chose returning from whence I came. It was the most logical choice to my understanding. In spite of the accepted outcome, what was ahead was a vast unknown being where no one had gone before in my family history! I had arrived on the plane of university higher-learning, I was a University student! The first in my families, being the first-born from both parents families, albeit disenfranchised by divorce!

 

The year proved a most essential part of growing into adulthood, although void of understanding adulthood and manhood apart from what was onscreen in movie theatres during my formative years. Transiency and disruption was a mainstay throughout my earlier years which I navigated with calm exterior many observed, and I learn to manage behaviours as I proceeded in Life. In my head, through my childhood eyes I observed Life and Death, deciphered according to developing environmental customs, which changed randomly and spontaneously on the whims and necessities of the adults/grown-ups in charge then.

 

Now, in university, I was to choose and decide on those preceding life-stylings which were biased and sparse. Paying attention to the moment, acting on what I observed in university life at the time in Windsor of the 60s, across from Detroit, USA, my adventure far away from home began. Lodging was the priority, as I began my worldview education; a first, abiding inadequate acquisition.

 

 

 

 

2b. Viewing the Archer

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

AFFECTATIONS

 

 

An interesting premise albeit somewhat macabre regarding the following…

 

By design she fostered the Domino effect by choosing it as her stage name. Then, by taking her life from this existence on October 31st, she was followed the day after by my ward. Attrition took part in the domino effect by the sending off a friend’s mother and the world famous, Stan Lee. 

 

There it was only Monday.

 

What followed those preceding actuations was a discussion, the outcome of which brought to bear the notion that holding onto the belief of one’s “Individuality” induces simultaneous connections and disconnections facilitating ‘crazy-making’ birthing ‘insanities’. 

 

 

 

 

Erroneously

 

UPON   REMEMBERING

 

I was in elementary school in Jamaica when it was announced that there was a catastrophic rail accident on the railway line. Unbeknownst to me, my grandfather was an employee which would have been quite the emotional situation being a child of 10. My first, “Do you remember where you were when?”

 

A year after emigrating to Canada, seated in my grade nine History class, I was to hear news of the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. An uproar with little resonance afforded me by my especial knowledge of world history, as was the Korean conflict and Cuban Missile Crisis. My 2nd memory under said question!

 

My knowledge of Civil Rights dilemmas invaded my psyche and remained ever since, on varying levels of intensity, for which there appears to be little chance of evolutionary movement.

 

While transiting high school into university the escalating Vietnam conflict took place, along with the Iran-Contra and Watergate affairs, as well as the notorious campus shooting at Berkeley.

 

There were other notable incidents and I’ll not add to what appears to be a considerable disturbing List, but I’ll add just two more…

 

January 2001, in the midst of introducing a grade 11 Art lesson, I was summoned to the Main Office to take a personal, pre-cellular call. This call was to inform me of the imminent passing of my father and my presence was required. The thought that emerged within my consciousness upon departure to be with my father was, “This feels like the beginning of a most unfortunate year”. Nine months later, during yet another art lesson, came the events of September 11th.

 

There have been many more noteworthy occurrences tipping the scales toward our not too pleasant present. One being the United States of America electing its first African-American President, which was followed by the reflexive election of a divisive, biased, self-absorbed Commander-in-Chief determined to undoing anything that could be considered his predecessor’s ‘legacy’. This divisiveness duly noting the deep-rooted slavery heritage/foundation binding that country together in a unacknowledged symbiotic relationship.

 

Their inability to collaborate appears to present a well-crafted desire demanding culling of an out-of-control population, to result only in annihilation due to short-sightedness among even the best of them.

 

As the Cuban Missile Crisis had little to no consequence in my pubescent mind, the growing Global Crises, prodded by mindless contributions in the present, are less of a concern to underdeveloped minds. Simultaneously, as I in the corner my of ineffectiveness age out of this Time/Space Continuum, Life will continue as It did prior to my emergence, and will as such long after my exit/transmutation.

 

 

 

3c. Rim Walk

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