SUICIDE     CHRONICILES   

Somehow, somewhere out of the ether, as was my input for a process to manage my asthma, came the 3:00am awakening to do automatic ‘poetry writing’. This was unusual event that came upon me when I was at my lowest juncture, and I went with it. I sat at the writing table in my room, disturbing no one, and began aligning words into sentences that appeared to represent how I was feeling at 3:00am. 

This occurred with great regularity and efficiency, so much so that after a week I realized I had a collection of verses. One day, I dared approach my grade 12 English teacher, and requested she give me he opinion on the collection. She had me place them on her desk to look at, after her incoming class had gotten settled. Between the time I’d left it on her desk to the time I expected her feedback, there was a development most unexpected. It turned out that a nosey student had read a few of my poems and took a liking to them, and requested he use them as a part of his Printing class project. He wanted to publish my collection of poems as his class project, bound with cover. Miss Monroe approached me on the matter and I agreed, feeling most pleased at this turn of events. MY despondency resonated with another, possibly a few others, and was to become useful. I kept writing.

This felt like a siphoning of dark waters, just enough to keep the demons at bay while I continued in Time. The collection was made into numerous booklets of which I received three copies. The others were dispersed to where I do not know, but I was made aware of its resonance and it was used during poetry components of her English classes because of its relevance to my peers each year. Grade 13 followed, I was still writing, but there were interruptions which aligned with social involvements through my younger siblings ability to garner friends. Being the elder it was my responsibility, whenever appropriate and in keeping with get togethers when our mother was attending to her profession, to be present at her many social gatherings. 

We developed a circle of mutual friendships with older teens, and I was able to juggle these with an after-school and summer job and the extra-curricula that I fell into in those senior high school years- basketball manager, football, track and field, clubs and fundraising events which involved my singing. Amongst all of these I was able to have my very first girlfriend, learning yet again the colour of my skin plays a part in how our relationship would progress. It wasn’t to progress in the romantic manner of the silver-screen to which I attempted to align it. 

I was the eye of the storm with a torrent of activities whirling around me, unable to make sense of many of them, including the residential relocations which took us out of the neighbourhood where I was beginning to open up and feel settled.It was not to be, things were to continue in their transient, fluid and temporal way. My grades were falling again, unbeknownst to my mother, but I was able to keep afloat while recovering from a shoulder dislocation during a football practice. It was a jam packed year and I was able to manage my despondency, especially with additional 3:00am expressions. In spite of the turmoil unknown to those around, mistaking it for whatever their conditioned biases could identify, I continued on my university quest, leaving the choice to depart Life with the choice to explore the unknown into which I was headed…

SUICIDE     CHRONICLES 

During the year I was studying to achieve my grade 12 diploma, if I was not working or involved in sporting activities I was withdrawing into myself not knowing I was experiencing, what is called in today’s term, a mental health issue. All I knew was how I felt, and it wasn’t solvable by my understanding. Much of what I was involved in was a matter of course. Our family, like many immigrant and working-class citizens, was financially challenged with societal biases added to the roster. 

Yet, I was a high-functioning boy-of-colour, not overtly academic as I was sorting myself out given early childhood upheavals which contributed to my dilemma. I was quietening my asthmatic-condition, managing then unknown dyslexia and Daydreaming (ADD) coupled with the aforementioned social and filial conditions without a functioning adequate support, and a mother too busy to notice how our evolving dynamics made for the perfect storm of inner-emotional turmoil.

It didn’t matter, the expected outside-world demands to which everyone was adhering as best they knew, with whatever processes developed according to their ethnic – cultural, social and economic biases. Socially constructed systemic access and support were afforded accordingly, beneficial for some and often taken for granted. It was their privilege and right. With these and more weighing on my unconscious mind and emotions, I felt I needed a way out. Every request was felt a demand, another nail driven into a plank I felt I was walking with self-harm an option that seeped into mind partially acknowledged. Repeatedly, the notion of leaving this Life, especially after noticing I had gotten to becoming reclusive, from Friday after school until Monday morning, when I was to begin the school week.

It was odd, but acting on the thought of self-harm was regularly suppressed by my realization of who would be impacted. I never got past what I perceived as the devastating effect on my immediate family. We had endured, surviving a 5yrs separation sacrifice for a better life in Canada; but, there were the unknowns of unexpected, harmful side-effects many of which can be found in medical journals. That information and knowledge were not privy to us then, inaccessible, much less available. 

I was cognizant of the fact, that after having survived numerous beginnings, the processes affording us transition out our island home onto this continent, I was not to abandon them by the ‘choice’ I was considering. Suddenly departing would force a trauma into their lives. Whatever laid ahead was to take place without my presence and contributions as a stabilizing male figure, brother and son, they had grown accustomed to being there …

Suicide   Chronicles 

 

 

 

It wasn’t long before the plane began to descend onto a runway, but we weren’t allowed to disembark owing to information that this was simply a stopover for dropping-off and picking-up passengers and cargo en-route to its destination. Calmly and quietly I observed goings on outside the window, ignorant of the meaning of what was taking place.

 

The four-propellers sequentially began their preparation for take-off, all were on-board who were to be on-board, and ascension to cruising altitude began after acquiring take-off speed. I was fascinated! I was having an experience from an internal position, one I had never imagined possible having seen this experience only on-screen, in one of those films that took me away from my transient and random lifestyle. The view above the clouds kept me looking out the airplane’s porthole, with more to acknowledge of goings on inside and with my little sister napping beside me.

 

It was 8-hours, before the plane made its final descent onto the tarmac and traversed along the runway to its final placement outside a large and funny-looking building. We were taken off the airplane, but before disembarking I stopped and surveyed the foreign landscape that was to become our residence upon meeting the person fading from memory over the preceding 5years.

 

There we were, walking down a hallway, when a lone figure stood ahead of us. What followed was a question I was to guess at the answer to maintain surety. It sounded, “Was that our mother?” I answered, “Yes.”

 

Hugs all around, my 2-suitcases in hand, and we were off to parts unknown. Our destination was the dwelling where we were to reside with our matriarchal grandmother, an aunt and uncle. Soon after, we were enrolled in the nearest public school with my high school learning put aside for family dynamics reasons. It was there I was to learn I spoke with an accent, was of colour that made some kind of difference that hadn’t quite settled, yet; and, was to put my rote-learning methodology to use, after taking a test that was called I.Q.

 

I had my first crush, a lovely whose name I still recall to this day, but I was too shy and not within earshot of her peers to join in to get close to her. My ability to memorize and recite poetry put me in good stead to present a poem during an assembly of some sort. I recall the title, “The Flower Fed Buffaloes”, but the one to indelibly startle me was “Richard Cory”! It led me down a path that was most dramatic ending in trauma. That trauma taunted me for years …

 

Anyway, Time Flowed accordingly from 1962 into 1963 wherein I was to have more drama/trauma in the form of a fist-fight during a snow-soccer game after school. I didn’t realize being good at something was a threat ’n imposition to the pride of others, and me being of colour didn’t register; but, the illogical process for the conflict was confusing coming from the Caribbean of the fifties. I was also called names that didn’t register, although the emotional import did and I was soon made to connect-the-two by my uncle in no uncertain terms. 

 

A word was uttered to which I gave no regard, or response, but I was struck on the head with an admonition about the word and my lack of regard/response to it. I inquired about being struck, and I was told that that uttered ’N’ word was the reason. I said, “It has nothing to do with me, as it did not define me as intended”; but, my reply went unnoticed, and as such was the start of things untoward.

 

 

 

 

 

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Over  the  Rainbow         …   …   …                4

 

 

I made it through by the ‘skin of my teeth’, or as Barry Manilow’s song goes, “I made it through the rain …”, upon entering university under-probation, mutually beneficial at the time. I needed time and space to adapt to what was afflicting me,  and what I could not comprehend. I was, in fact, ‘running away from home’ as accused 6yrs earlier by the police officer. What mattered was the environment establishing its new designation of a University from a College, and unknown to me at the time. But, all manner of experiences were to be added atop what was already unknown in my life, and I simply had to keep moving until I made it, establishing some semblance of that which wasn’t to be for some time. 

 

It was time to take on not only was unknown but also what I did know, as it turned out. The time it took wasn’t expected to be into my retirement years! The unknowns were well beyond my comprehension, not to mention family members also dealing with similar in their own ways with their own peculiar psychological processing, in tandem with my way forward. Navigating to here was problematic without even the hint of surviving, given the probabilities of being in my favour getting me to where I am. 

 

Not the marrying kind was more on point, suffice to say prophetic? Often pronouncements seep out of the ether, the Collective Unconscious, and are to choose how to comprehend such messages going forward in Life. Deficits offered benefits the survival mechanisms from which one has to choose how synchronize with the Symphony of Life that harmonizes with the Universe Unfolding within the Music of The Spheres …

 

Here today, tomorrow being promised to no one …   

 

 

 

 

 

2b. Setling In c.'65

 

Over  the  Rainbow   …   …   3

 

 

My male personality was on notice in that female-dominated environment, speckled with gender-orientation variables that I accepted as the way of things. I wandered far afield, out-of-doors after chores were done knowing I would not be missed, much less absence known. Luckily, my routes were more among Nature’s enclosures and, when among people, assumptions might’ve been made about there being an adult nearby because I was never bothered. Interactions with schoolmates were routine, with the odd injury and corporal punishments going outside prescribed boundaries. 

 

After 4yrs, residing in 3 locations under the guardianship of a teacher, for the first time, to me anyway, our father appeared presumably to relocate us to his family’s dwelling in time for my 2nd year in high-school. That year of living socially within a family and neighbourhood setting was expansive, and slowed the mind-numbing sensation I was experiencing. Literally, I could see my mind fading into a place/space of unknown dimensions. Then, at what seemed a last-minute reprieve, I learned we were to emigrate to another country uniting with our mother, prime caregiver, of whom I was gradually suffering memory loss. 

 

The experiences incurred during those first 13yrs saw little if any role modelling of a family life, parental and/or loving relations save the ones subsumed during earlier childhood under the care of my mother, and her friendly relations. Family I augmented with artificial, scripted scenarios from the silver screen. Something had to fill in the growing abyss developing in those earlier years. Soon, I entered puberty, an era I was to navigate with minimal resources. I had to deal with the presumptions, assumptions and beliefs projected onto one such as I during the 1960s, in North America, with Civil Rights agenda unfolding.

 

 

 

 

Awaiting WaterProofing Compound Applications

New  ~  Reflected  ~  Affections          #1

 

 

The content of the following revelations is contextual, and with everyone’s unique qualifications it is fair to say that a grain of salt is a fitting seasoning upon tasting.

 

We cruise through Life with identities in the making, some with comprehension of conscious mindsets, others instinctual, and a myriad of others somewhere in-between. Somewhere along our ways negative conflict became an accepted norm with a randomly selected few opting to collaborate for survival and enhancement of the specie. This they did amidst violent conflicts where constant associations required repeated modifications for healing. The salve for the healing was often the cause of the violent confrontations that promised wealth beyond measure, and was left to those who followed as inheritors.

 

Many survived to utilize the benefits of their earnings while others fell on hard times. Look around, listen and scrutinize the fear that drives the engine for the acquisition of riches under many disguises. With increases in consciousness the accompanying awareness was lacking. Everywhere we’re admonished to compete and ascend the ladders of success, but none to identify ‘being the success’ sought after, much less how to live with that success comfortably, with a sense of security upon arrival. The process of getting there is flogged incessantly, but not the being there.

 

Granted, if one achieves what’s labelled success within a family context success on the material plane has usefulness, but it’s a treadmill as evidenced by many entering that phase called retirement. 

 

Retirement appears a dreaded phase of existence, more so for those accumulating losses resulting in living alone. There are many distractions along the way into ‘retirement’, including robbers lying in wait to defraud the trusting, unsuspecting and naive. Of course, there are varying infrastructures for those surviving into their senior years, but not for the comfort and security of all. This Extension in Life has become another growth industry founded on the inevitable. It’s what awaits the unsuspecting, the competitive and those individuals driven to succeed. 

 

Regardless of how one gets into Retirement, if one gets there with sensibilities in tact and a family in tow, their journey is a never-ending story. But, there is a growing number in the ranks who are tasked with navigating retirement alone wherein lies other never-ending stories out of sight, and out of mind amidst the fears for what’s inevitable.

 

 

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Over   the   Rainbow               ….     …..     1.

 

 

In the ‘retirement’ phase of this Life, unravellings now surfacing have proven to be the unconscious drivers that plummeted me along my route in getting from birth into this future-present predicament. Let it be known, these revelations are occurring in synch through the well-meaning suggestions of ‘writing-a-book’ by former-colleagues, friends and strangers to whom I regaled portions of my life-story during social interactions.

 

When setting down to write this tale little did I expect to be getting revelations to substantiate earlier pronouncements from some of my pupils saying, “Sir, you’re not the marrying kind”.  Alarmed and confused at first, I’m now wondering their insight came from an intuitive source. Many may have thought as much from my outer-appearance, physicality, attraction to the opposite sex and my willingness to engage in opportune occasions. That would have been sufficient thirty years earlier for those seeking self-satisfying answers from minds envious ’n jealous. My visible behaviours had much deeper inspiration and motivations resulting in what was earlier described by others without comprehension of my history.

 

My introspections gave way to information appearing to show influences on my behaviours many presumed were familiar-similar and inclusive in accord with their natures.  Did they know the hows of my birth on that small island in the Caribbean to multi-national parents? Synchronistically, on those islands actual circumstances and conditions of my conception remain relatively unknown, but pieces have been deduced from attendant behaviours of the many players in my drama/traumas. Curiously, harmony may not have been at all prevalent with age and social conditions being as they were during that colonial era.

 

Still, survive I did but not without infused, unexpected characteristic traits which surfaced according to Nature, with nurturing environmental conditions affecting my psychological development.

 

 

 

 

Rain Aftermath*

A L T E R E D      S T A T E S

 

 

Suffice to say, Desmond’s training regimen contained a different focus which netted his progress. In the fourth year of his  training he was able to step out of low paying jobs and into a job where he earned thrice his previous salary. He went form the door to a construction site. Still not full union scale but through a recommendation that was more honourable than the minimum wage accorded his ethnicity.

 

At the end of the summer of ’74, he began his fourth-year in university, the final whereby he’d acquire his degree which he beloved would open doors to the better future his grade-nine Math teacher recommended. The year began, and partway through the first semester he was informed he’d qualified to represent Canada in the first World International Tae Kwon-Do Championship to be held in Montreal. It was an unexpected culmination of years of training, right please – right time.

 

On a fateful weekend, by train, he was with his team-mates and one who he’d trained with but was representing his home country. It was to be two-days of fighting, no equipment unless an injury required it. Desmond already had an injury, but had to compete without safety-pads unless re-injured. A thought of whether or not he would win anything passed through his mind.

 

Time passed, the team took 3rd place in fighting. Desmond made it to the semi-finals in the middleweight division. In the semi-final match, he did a technique he’d never used before but had practiced in what was called one-step sparring and he knocked his opponent out! He stood silent, back turned, waiting for the verdict if he was to be disqualified, from the video-recording. After some time, the call was made and it appeared Desmond had used a controlled technique and his opponent had been rushing in and met the blow delivered. He was now to face my training partner who was representing his home country.

 

They wished each other well, Desmond prepared to let whatever happened happen, since his opponent was an instructor at one of their instructor’s schools and the win would’ve been beneficial for him going forward. They started out in a controlled manner, respecting each other’s skillset, he had the reach in both arms ’n legs. They scored on each other and having their scores tied after two-rounds. Desmond emptied his mind fully prepared to let his opponent have it on a clear unquestionable technique; but, during their exchange his opponent showed an opening to which Desmond instinctively reacted and scored the winning point. Surprised and disappointed, yet pleased as he won from an unquestionable point he could not take back. They congratulated each other, but Desmond knew what he had done and what his opponent/friend had lost.

 

The championship over, awards given and accepted; fortunately, his opponent had won a world-title in another event albeit not the one that could have parlayed more publicly for his school. Desmond had to return to university and attend his Monday morning classes. He sat alone on the return train-ride, musing on the experience, while everyone else celebrated the 20day event. One thought went through his mind; he would be returning to class a world champion and no one would be aware of the entire weekend affair. Such is Life …  

 

 

 

 

 

13. World Championships Awards

ALTERED   STATES                             

 

 

Life had Its heady pace and rhythm that Desmond and those around, near and far, engaged according to their predispositions. The Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War Protestations, along with the myriad of Life’s cornucopia goings on saw behaviours unbecoming along with basic civility and kindness. All enveloped the activities Desmond experienced. A few silver linings glistened throughout his living, one of which was a surprising President’s Honour Award for achieving an ‘A’ average from his previous university. He knew little of what that afforded him.

 

Arriving in his second university, the misunderstanding resumed but was suspended allowing him to explore his talent during his fourth year to receive an Honours BA in Fine Arts. The inclusive environment may have been what afforded him latitude to survive the process, along with being in his stomping ground to train – work – study, among other temporal experiences. 

 

During on of his stint’s as a Doorman/Singer, supplement his income to support his weight living in his mother’s house, Desmond took a step out of his comfort zone which enabled him to couple with a lass from a small town. Little did he know this also was a doomed outing, as he had yet to learn of the limitations foisted on his through his formative years experiences. Still, he went in with both feet believing in romance he’d seen on screen, the happy ever after that was not to be. 

 

He trained, competed successfully in many open martial arts competitions, as well as in the Korean invitationals. Somehow, without paying attention to his winning ways in competition he garnered a champion reputation. What many did not comprehend, because of their ambitions and goals being tailored from other experiences, Desmond’s training was motivated from a life-&-death incident. It was not widely known that he was assaulted ’n left unconscious in the middle of a side street where, instead of being run over in the dark, the driver and passenger saw him while driving by. They stopped, and picked him up to carry him to the nearest hospital. It was during the process of being loaded onto the backseat of their vehicle that Desmond regained consciousness. Such was his inspiration to learn how to defend himself, considering previous close calls which didn’t get to escalate as did the circumstances and conditions for that assault. 

                                                                                                                 to be continued

 

 

 

Conceptualizing

UNCONSCIOUS   PATTERNS

The home-base route and practices resumes. Desmond resumes his full-time evening doorman position, with occasional part-time assignments and his martial arts training all reflexively from unknown drivers. The summer was filled with martial arts competition in which he was successful and acquiring a reputation as a champion. This he had not fully grasped since his attention was divided on acquisition of funds for his education and living expenses, as he was tasked to put himself through university. He was conscious of family obligations and limitation in financial funding, so he spun the wheels of fortune as best he knew.

The jobs netted, what he considered sufficient to support him as in the previous year being assured of a Student Loan. Unfortunately, as he stood in front of the Loans Officer he was slammed with the incongruity of the system. He did not qualify for a Grant portion because his mother had remarried and his mailing address was her home address. This she claimed made him ineligible in spite of the fact he was returning on the Adult Program, and not supported by his mother who was recently widowed. The words of this officer resonated through him when she blatantly asked him, “Do you want an education or not?” To which he replied, “Yes, give me the loan.” Thus, his 2nd year at university studies got off to a telling start of which he was yet to discover.

The cloud had a silver lining in that he secured lodging on campus, but with a room-mate he barely said two-words to each week. Bearable to say the least.

What was in tow was another love-interest that he felt would stabilize his process going forward. What he was to face was even more challenging than his part-time job and martial arts training, and monthly weekend trips to his love-interest and home-base training. His developing insights in the Visual Arts realm appeared to contravene some of the expectations of his professors. It wasn’t until nearing the end of the school year did it come to light that Desmond’s art explorations had a label, Zen Art. It was revealed to him by one of the professors in whose studio class he had been having conflicts. She revealed both she and another of his Art professors had experienced a Zen Art Seminar in the US, their resident country, and she discovered my direction was in the vein of what they were experiencing. The other professor disagreed, as it was her belief one such as Desmond could not possibly have such inclinations!

Suffice to say, that other professor along with another she was able to agree with her were successful in getting Desmond dropped from the Fine Arts program, unless he would agree to terms. Call it pride or preservation, but Desmond elected to transfer to another university for the ensuing years to complete his degree. But, that wasn’t all. His love-interest gave him his walking papers citing the distance ’n his martial arts as interference, while his art-process dispute was ongoing. This break-up struck him to his core as he fell ill for a week, unable to attend classes and work. He was right as rain the following weeks and was more driven to carry on his quest for excellence, as best he knew.

What was odd to Desmond, were after critique disputes in his studio classes fellow students would cross his paths on campus and relate to him how they understood what he was defending in his artworks but were afraid to say what they thought. Added to the loss of his previous year’s artworks his years was quite multi-layered education. 

He transferred to another university for his 3rd year, with another silver lining that held its own challenges to navigate going forward. 

4b. Kite Down

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