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






Vancouver, 1985, one year after becoming acquainted with a lovely and pleasing lass, we decided I would spend 5weeks of my summer vacation with her and her daughter of 2yrs. It was to be, without being consciously aware, a part of healing which I was experiencing after separating from my wife in December of 1983. It was an odd phase in living, as I was unaware of the larger contributions to the entire process. Nonetheless, having met a year earlier, I felt drawn and driven to spend this time in bonding with her and her daughter.          


In spite of the good intentions, I was to experience something that was to surface 14yrs in a future-present stemming from a childhood experience, drama/trauma, some 28yrs earlier. The feeling was unnoticed at first, subtle and innocuous but it impacted on my consciousness like a freight train. My immediate response was a frightening followed by the desire for flight, which I did. I had a visitation offered to reside with a family during my travels and, without intending to accept at that time, I elected it as an escape route. I was experiencing panic unaware of its root cause.      


I have had desires to leave situations before, but none so acute with fear. I did know I felt I was becoming attached to my paramour’s 2yr old daughter, with the fear I would feel a hurt unlike anything I could bear and I had to return to my life in another province 3,000miles away. Although, I was establishing an intimate bond with a new love, simultaneously there was a bonding with this little being that I was not expecting. Especially, not expecting in this manner, but I had never been in this kind of relationship before. It was to emerge much later in my mind ‘separation anxiety’ played greatly as an unknown in my living.


 Until the future-present knowing, I was to live my life in episodic fashion without anyone being aware, least of all me. I was simply observed as a man about town, without desire for commitment and carefree. During the entire process, I did harbour a distinct opposition to the commentary, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”, because what I came to know over Time was proving that a fallacy and misdirection. Painful as knowing may appear, I always elect the knowing.    


I now know of my experiential conditionings. What was not known, and was to be accepted, the way forward unfolding. 







S P O T    ~    C H E C K ?



Once upon a time, as I have on previous occasions, I had a hankering for some Caribbean Fare; specifically, from Jamaica, my native land. Having acquired the wherewithal, instead of walking there only to return with a large store of food I decided to drive. My route there took me westward along Queen Street, where my Parking Fairy issued me a spot in close proximity to the food-provider. I parked.


After acquiring provisions to store in my refrigerator’s freezer until such time as I’m inclined again, I chose a route eastward along a one-way street. Unbeknownst to me this route took me through what was deemed the ‘Entertainment District’, where I was summarily pulled over at random by a female officer and a ranking male officer took charge noting something requiring his interference.


I rolled down my window as he approached, offered me a cordial greeting before making his inquiries of how I was and where I had been. I told him I was in good health and heading to my dwelling after purchasing take-out meals, and showing him the bags on the passenger seat. He regarded them, made a judicious decision and bid me a good-evening. I put my auto in drive and proceeded to leave the line of autos, but not before noticing the expression that appeared a disappointment on the female officer’s face which I considered a mystery.


After all, I was simply one of many she directed out of the traffic flow to the side of the road, although the experience of questioning was mediated by her superior. What could have been is anyone’s guess, but my mindset was being fuelled by a feeling of inconvenience via a misadventure along a Spot Check Route of which I was unfamiliar. Did experience intervene on a possible unfortunate discourse? It was what it was, an untimely and minor interference for Safety sake.





11. Victor&Don James c.'74

BEFORE  –helpful-  LABELS


You have your troubles, I have mine which are noted below from what I’ve learned growing through the education system.


It appears not only had I overcome stuttering during adolescence, but also was an undiagnosed ADHD/Dyslexic/LD-Communication Exceptionalities individual. I discovered I was experiencing these qualities during my studies. Unknowingly, I struggled with these qualities and was able to manage them as I grew through the education system. The LD aspect allowed me to develop tools to manage others, and managing them to my advantage until Life afforded me the privilege to use these deficits in a productive manner. Accidentally, although I felt guided, into the vocation of teaching whereby the ADHD flourished within the adolescent realm of learning. 


There was learning and discoveries on both sides, which I felt went undetected. Since everyone whom I was charged to teach evolved into whom they desired to become, if not more. I was undetected-undiagnosed and not labelled, albeit labelled in another way by cultural/social standards at the Time which inculcated similar negativity until recently. 


My dyslexia took much effort to manage in establishing credentials, albeit not as much as I could have if I had today’s resources and supports. The ADHD didn’t require much as it was beneficial in managing the myriad of classroom mindsets. It allowed me to engage each person in their individual confines, allowing them ways to expressions not normally fostered. Of course, the ones requiring more structure received it according to curriculum standards even though they may not have liked watching how I allowed others to behave: to each her/his own.


Early in retirement, my ADHD required more effort in keeping with the issues garnered along the way in Life, especially by not having the diversity I once had in my vocation. My stutter had been allocated to quiet reflection and thinking-before-speaking about which many have their own thoughts. Dyslexia continues as always, managed with care in my Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.


I function within the parameters of anxiety restraining its fear ’n anger offspring on waking most days. This realization took me decades to align upon reflections after a ‘chance’ meeting of my mentor at OISE. He appeared to understand much about me from our conversations, guiding me as best he could. What he said was added to previous professors cautions concerning difficulties I was to face apart from the apparent ethnicity issues I tended to overlook, until it was too late.


Being a late-bloomer with issues, and many disruptions in early childhood into adolescence, I have much going on and the knowing is only explanation of what went before that affected my growth into the present. Reduction in challenges incoming and current conditions is non-existent. Like many still above ground, I carry on as I learn and manage conditions as much as possible moving forward.


As the saying goes, “May the Force be with us.”  





Body-Surfing Dolphin-assisted

P R E A M B L E …



Reflecting during a long walk yesterday, it’s as I’ve always known, ‘no matter where I go there I always was’. I carry what bothers me and eventually returning it to reside wherever, whether my place of departure or place of visit. Visiting with family and/or friends are simply temporary changes in place appearance of situation albeit not the actuality of condition. I simply managed to exchange one illusion for another, a temporary delusion with recreation in mind.


This knowledge makes it difficult to make headway while living alone, in spite of it feeling beneficial as others claim. Still, I feel I am on the verge of discovering a solution to improve this plight I had inadvertently created. Only Time and Circumstances will allow me forward. 





15. Visiting Cousin

C H A N G E    -of-   V E N U E 



Prior to leaving high school, I discovered there was a world of mind outside the Judaeo-Christian confines of The King James version of The ‘Holy’ Bible. So much so, I became a voracious reader of philosophical and psychological texts with sociological writing to augment me appetite. These readings were to affect my mindset as I began to actuate a 3:00am to 4:00am poetic writing cycle. This resulted in some of my works becoming a class project for my peers studying in the Printing Department when one happened upon my poems atop our mutual English teacher’s desk. 


I was to discover much later these poems were being used in the poetry section of of a high school in another board in the city’s school system.


The time came when I was to venture onto higher learning, a desire I had instilled by my grade nine Math teacher, Mr. Graham. One fine day, as was his way to tell us stories, he advised us all to do our best to acquire a university education in order to establish a well paying future for ourselves, whereby we may have a life with a family and a home, and whatever accoutrements available.


This was the sixties and, unbeknownst to me, I was a black immigrant from a working class, single-parent family, a mother who had left me to my own devices to charter my way through an education system unaware of how to support one such as I. From my Public school year, from repeated visits to my grade eight homeroom teacher, I learned I was not expected to succeed in making it to grade thirteen, much less grade twelve. Round about my grade eleventh year visiting her, I gleaned from her reactions my visits were wearing on her and she was also surprised with each year of success. I ceased visiting, accepting the umbilical cord severance.


There were many incidents of merit where I gained notoriety, coming into my own so to speak, and acquiring honours although struggling to maintain a grade for easy acceptance into university. My visit with my Guidance Counsellor was unfruitful, in the manner I discovered much later when I was also a Guidance Counsellor! He asked what interested me without embarking on informing me of my scholastic record which was on his desk. I told him I discovered an interest in Psychology and Sociology, and he decided that was where he would register me in university. Positioned to fail with an assured OSAP loan to become a debt.


This was what was deemed a subtle systemic bias, deliberate – subtle – ignorance, who will say? Nonetheless, off I went on a Conditioned-Acceptance, Probationary with the understanding that, ‘failure’ meant a year’s absence before re-applying for acceptance to re-enter. I discovered within the first two-weeks of classes I was registered in the wrong programs and was not privy to the process of how I could change my courses. I thought once registered I had to see it through, pass or fail. I accepted I would fail; but, I would not go down in flames. I would make failing have a silver lining, come what may. I dropped out and stayed in, accepting the cost to learn what I never could anywhere else.





2. I spy

Take  ~ Time,   Over-Achievers



Take it from me, from one who knows. I have been there, done that and survived to tell this tale for you to reflect not only on where you’re going but on the finer points of ‘how’ you’re getting there! The finer points underlying how your life will be once you believe you’ve arrived.


Providing you’ve not burned the proverbial candle at both ends, not to mention portions in-between and fallen victim to over-exhaustion and collapsed as I did. I may be suffering from one of a few post-traumatic syndromes but still functional, so as not to be a burden unto anyone until such time I depart this mortal coil.


It falls upon me to ask you reconsider as you peddle your wares throughout your life aiming for the moon to fall among the stars; that you slow it down a bit, and consider factors success-minded professors give superficial lip-service. We’re in an Age, a Time, an Era where the measure of success is of  spiritual excesses. A hyper-sensibility of self where being the best you can be is better than anyone else, attempting to outdoor what you claim is your own self.


The measure of your best self is better than anyone else in your sphere. You may not say it, realize it, much less accept it consciously; but, the evidence shows the trend it to be at the top of your field, the pinnacle as it were. Seminars, webinars, all manner of consultations and collaborations aimed at improving where you are without acknowledging what and where ‘this/that’ is.


When is enough, enough? The answer I fear is there is never enough in a world consistently and continually unfolding the way things are going. There is always another horizon, and the satisfaction for accepting the here and now has been lost to Time, in Time. This is a conundrum I call, “The Maltese Falcon”!






21. Ocean World DR '12

Not  a  One-Off


It was a day like any other day, much to do on a self-induced scheduled claiming business. What events I had to make in whatever time-frame desired, expected, has been forgotten but not what could have been quite the embarrassment!


The weather outside required thermal undergarment; and, since I chose to walk instead of using public transit or another mode of vehicular transport, I wore said undergarment. I suspect what occurred would be coming during my elder years, should I survive these times. Nonetheless, what claimed my attention to the point of distracted forgetfulness was, and still is beyond my recollection. 


What I do remember was gathering all I required in getting to where I intended to be for what was considered important. Materials gathered, radio turned off and making sure all non-essentials were unplugged, I exited my unit and made my way to the elevators for selection. On my way there something did not feel quite right. I suspected I had forgotten something essential, or possibly I was under-dressed. As in one episode during my early university year, I looked down to realize in confirming I was without pants in front of the approaching elevator.


So caught up was I in my internal dialogue, I exited my condo unit in only my thermal-undergarment, shoes and socks. Fortunately for me, the timing was fortuitous in it being an empty hallway! I made my way back to my unit, entered with renewed awareness of how deep in thought I was with concerns taking me away from requisite preparations. 


Dare I ask if you have had such an experience to be so preoccupied you forgot to complete the etiquette of your social responsibility of basic clothing? Definitely, an action belonging to the category of walking into a room then wondering about your purpose in being there, no?





Reminiscing The Pyre

K i n d n e s s    of   S t r a n g e r s



Time passed, numerous untoward experiences were endured and filed as I navigated this New World Order I was making my residence …              


There were systemic values I was to be introduced to, navigate as I adapt to my new surroundings. As previously mentioned, there were bullying efforts made but were thwarted by responsive and caring peers. Seeing I was set upon by others in the hallway, these lads took it upon themselves to intercede on my behalf possibly realizing my naivety warranted their countermeasures. There were no further efforts by anyone else, so these fellows must have had some sway and I never got to know who they were.


Later, during the summer months, my younger sibling and I were to become regulars at the neighbourhood swimming pool. This was a practice we hadn’t known was a no-no in the deep-south during those years. What I was told from a Polish duo like ourselves, was a forewarning of what would be their behaviour if we were to cross paths. In as courteous and polite as the older sibling could, I was to prepare for non-acknowledgment on the streets as they were instructed, by their parents to not interact with anyone darker-skinned. I thanked him for the heads-up and we resumed our social interaction poolside.


During another year, I was to acquire summer employment as a mail-deliverer of Consumers Gas, later called  Toronto Hydro, I believe. It was a program where high-school age students were employed to take the strain off regular mail-carriers while meeting the need of society for the summer months. During those summers I was to learn my way around the city, also discovering I was subject to allergies. I went through handkerchiefs the first part of everyday for two-weeks!


On a hot day in one neighbourhood, in the westside of North York, I needed to use the facilities after hydration practices. Approaching one house with my envelope, I inquired of a woman seated on her porch if I may use her facilities. She consented, added a glass of lemonade and snacks while engaging in cordial conversation before continuing my rounds, thereafter returning home.


Those were easy and peaceful times of orientation into Canadian culture, learning the in’s and outs of ways in being and interacting. By all accounts, news reports then as now in comparison, I was very fortunate in my experiences. There were other kindly engagements in low-threat environments. Later in the summer of my eighteenth birthday, I was gifted the novel ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse. I had no idea the manager of the swimming pool where we developed friendships, that was to last decades, was observing my comings and goings and felt I could benefit from this novel.


That novel was a page turner. I could not put it down. In fact, I was so taken by this author I was to purchase and read as many of his writings as I could devour. I began and continued to discover the nature of my being. I was only scratching the surface of a veneer which I had to learn and ascertain was a protective device a lot later in Life …





2a. Getting Oriented c. 64

c. 1965

Kindness  in  Strangers


I have heard it said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Then, added was, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.” Subsequently, I discovered, “It’s not only who knows you, but who knows of you and is watching you.” Most of all along the knowing path, is that those in-the-know have influence, can and do affect change for the better in your life.


Case in point. When I was new to this country I was subject to bullying biased in the difference of my ethnicity. In 1963, immigrants were in abundance from the European stage of performance. There was a minority of us from the Caribbean, some coming by way of Europe as did many from Eastern Europe arriving from the Mediterranean in not too recent times. While after registration in the School System, I was set upon by a select few who felt obligated, justified even, to let me know of the place I was to occupy by their belief system. Unfortunately for them, my naivety saddled with a genuine disregard for their belief system, I attracted a goodly sum of stalwart Mediterranean and European students who held different belief systems. Consequently, their efforts at bullying was ambushed in a timely manner putting a stop to them, permanently.


That did not stop those in the teaching staff of a subtler nature, and in positions to effect influence in a timely and traumatic way. This also, I was blissfully unaware until much later and accepted the pain which was to strengthen my within while awakening the knowledge and awareness of ethnic diversity as an issue of contention. I had still yet to develop the armour for this opposition and continued in Life with a pleasant outlook.





6. Growing Still

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