Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yes Sireee!

It may be true that the majority of the world is brainwashed by the media and news. It may be true that the majority of the world is clueless as to what the true meaning of life is. It may also be true that the majority of the world has become heartless, callous and self-centered. But just because the majority of the world is like this, I don't have to assimilate or conform also. You know what, even if a person hasn't lived in the States for a long time, they can know 'everything' that goes on there…why? Because of that wonderful television screen; people become sponges and are able to rattle off advertisement jingles and know characters by name in half-an-hour sitcoms.

I actually, do not currently own a television. Yes; crazy most of you may think. But I gave up many of my belongings before moving across states. Sure I could have easily purchased another, but I rather not get comfortable in my tightly packed room anyway. To make matters more interesting, I, in fact, don't really care to watch television that often anyhow. I rather not get addicted to shows that tell me when I should laugh and for how long, and have it blast what's the coolest, most awesome, newest gadget that I should run out and buy. That's just my choice, it doesn't have to be everybody's too.

In Trinidad & Tobago (man, I've been talking non-stop about them lately – can you tell I'm dreadfully homesick?), our national motto states that we should always respect our elders, parents and those in authority. We address elders that we do not know, by saying, Sir, and Miss, and elders we do know by Aunt and Uncle, even if we aren't really related to them. It is simply a matter of esteem towards the other person. In my acting class the other night, my acting coach told me not to call him 'Sir'…it wasn't the first time people have scoffed or laughed at me using that word. I didn't understand what was the big deal? I thought they should be happy I thought of them this way.

One of my new friends in LA says to me, that if I want to be successful or work in film that I needed to change my attitude. That I needed to be mean, and rude, and that I was too nice! He said I had to dish out to them, what they dished out to me! I knew that what he was saying couldn't be right, but I listened to him carefully, I wasn't sure yet, how I could make him see differently, but the truth is that sometimes no matter how you try to make people see the truth, they would never see it; because they are stuck in a certain level of thinking, and they had to walk along the path on their own to discover their own truths and lessons. I would let this one go.

You cannot just do bad things! Are you kidding me!?? Do these people not have a conscience? Wait don't answer that….Respect to every man is what we need to have. If they aren't as realized or aware of how to treat people etc, then they need to learn on their own time, we must have compassion for them, because they are unaware of what they are doing. Love is SO powerful. It is the ULTIMATE gift to give. Spread it more, regardless of people that try to suck your happiness or positive energy away; regardless at if people scoff or laugh at your dreams; regardless if they treat you terribly.

The sun shines for everyone, the rain falls for everyone, and then you too must be nice to everyone, relish in the opportunity to give this gift to people who hurt you. It's not every day you get to grow, learn and rack up in good karma points! J


Within the past twenty, thirty, or maybe forty years of history, people from around the globe have immigrated to the United States. They came for various many reasons but for the most part, they came just like the United States forefather's came for, a better way or quality of life. America is built on immigrants, as the only true owners of this land were the Native Indians who discovered it and many other countries to date. Unfortunately they were overthrown and killed out like the Aborginees, Maori and other Native tribes by the Europeans who made it their own; very typical around most of the world.

America is so eclectic and multi-ethnic it's absolutely lovely! My country is similar too, but on a much smaller scale. Our people all look different and have charming exotic blends, but it is still the Trini, Trinidadian or Trinbagonian culture that reigns there. We do not have Japanese influence or Mexican influence or Russian influence for example. Here in America, you can find food from anywhere in the world, and get a taste of cultures that some communities proudly hold on to.

The sad thing is that the new generations born and raised here; completely disregard their beginnings or parent's heredity to become strong patriots for this country alone. I can understand that a place that has raised you and given you certain ideals, you may wish to represent and withhold them; nevertheless I find it daunting the amount of superiority that goes along with it.

If I collected a penny for the amount of times American passengers or people I meet ask me "Why am I here?" I would be a rich lady or as I'd rather say, an even wealthier woman. Some people actually come to escape harsh rules and living situations, others sadly their countries are ravished by war and others like myself, just making career dreams come true due to the ostentatious opportunities available.

I've had several prospects in the dating world, to learn lessons and realize what it is I like or dislike in a future mate, which I'm so grateful for, but I've only dated few times American boys; the reason being that most times they come across quite arrogant. It is a fact that people from other countries tend to travel more, which gives them a broader sense of what the world is about, how people live, what they think, and how they feel. But if a person isn't given such chances, they see the world only through a much constricted view. Sure there are books and television to learn from, but there is no experience greater than taking your own life adventure to learn the truth about the world.

I can imagine what it would be like to not even leave your own community or neighbourhood, and not venture beyond the boundaries of it. I can see how one would be trapped into a certain type of thinking and how they may be less tolerant or thrilled with beautiful differences around them.

There's one thing about being a patriot for your country and there's another for disregarding or belittling others because there is fear of the unknown or secret wish of supremacy. I may have been born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago. But my ancestors traveled and were brought from many magnificent countries before settling there; Africa, Hong-Kong and Scotland to name a few. Therefore I consider myself a nowherian (a trini word meaning 'a person who does not seem to have any fixed place of abode'). I hold close my culture and roots, but I also am happy to be well-traveled and have a wider perspective of how the world works. I find beauty in even the ugliest places because we are first and foremost a human race. No matter the colour, the social class, or hardships, we all yearn for the same things.

For me, if you cannot really see with your eyes, there is no need to pretend you're going places. In other words, if a boy sees the world narrow-mindedly, there is only so much you can do or so far you can go, there is no need to waste precious time… I may live here, and may enjoy it's many conveniences, but I certainly do not deem it the most high and mighty because even if a place is small or under-developed, it's people can be intelligent and admirable. Traits I much rather have, including humility and compassion, things people know little about.

Happiness vs. Responsibility

You be the judge, which is better? Being burnt-out in a job you don't particularly care for, with small amounts of holiday time, stress from your boss but loads of money to take care of family or maybe just on yourself to make you feel better? Or on the other hand, working that dream job, with less stress, more time off, and a better quality of life? The money's not there yet, but it will come. Or at least you hope so.

They call my generation, our generation, Generation X (age 19-30), and they give us such a bad rap. I was skimming through the channels one day on a layover in my hotel room, and saw that they're actually calling us the 'Slacker' generation. The Baby Boomers are safe, the Millennials aren't working as yet, but it's Generation X, that they say that is creating all the havoc. They exclaim that we have a sense of entitlement, that we have unrealistic expectations and we care more about our quality of life as opposed to our responsibility in life.

Yes, not only are jobs scarce nowadays, but the 'Slacker' generation would rather not work at all if the only jobs available are at McDonald's fast food restaurants. They would much rather renovate the basement into their own sanctuary, until that dream job or better job becomes available. True, some may still rely on the help of their parents, but they rather work in a position they're capable or happy about, than having their happiness spent in a place that is not stimulating or arousing. This worries parents, as in their 'Baby Boomer' generation, they did whatever it was they had to do to make ends meet. They were for the most part 'responsible'; they worked for years in jobs they didn't necessarily like to provide for their families, the problem they face now, is that they're in their 50's and 60's, and are still providing.

So what would be the right thing? Sitting on the couch, living and eating off your parents, until that dream job comes along, or taking some of the weight off your parent's shoulders, and work a job you may not necessarily care for, but on your down-time surrounding yourself and working towards that dream opportunity?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

On Instant Gratification

Instant Gratification was a topic I wished to write about for quite some time now. Many older people in society complain about the young 'whipper-snappers' that want everything and want it now! It makes me laugh so much. Not because it is a right or wrong thing, not because it is a true or false thing, but because I also am guilty of being impatient.

We are a people of pleasure. We like to feel good. How do we feel good? We eat sweet things; we enjoy wearing nice clothes, by having sex, drinking alcohol, making others feel inferior, getting compliments, being loved. These are all things that make us 'feel good'. But everything that makes us feel good is not good for us. That is a pathetic trait we humans have, one that continues to destroy us. We can't always do things that make us feel good. Sometimes we have to step back and look at the situation and realize that even if this makes us feel good, it could harm us, it could hurt someone, it could in actuality just be a bad thing altogether.

Getting gratification or pleasure isn't necessarily negative, but we just have to consider and reflect on why we want it, if we need it, and ultimately if it's good for us. Not everything that is sweet, dazzling or handsome is good. Most times in fact, these things are indeed traps or harmful. Don't lose hope or feel dreadful though; if you have been fooled in the past, you would realize it is only a lesson, a test, and never the final. Life is not the final, just a classroom to help you remember what existence is all about.

I smile to myself when I think about all the times I have been impatient in life. Feeling frustrated when a minute in the microwave is too slow when I'm hungry; angry with myself when I don't seem to get a move down in belly-dancing class, when I practice it every day; sad when that handsome boy who whispered to me sweet things didn't turn out to really care about me at all; and discouraged when I'm unable to cry for a scene in acting class, but I can bawl only from the soundtrack of a movie. We all have our eccentricities that make us fanatical at times, but we should never give up or lose faith.

Despite the fright of hearing that life is short. We should rejoice in knowing that death, is a part of life, and that life is the longest thing we have to do. For when we die, we are finished, finished with 'our' reality and have completed our lessons needed to be learnt. Therefore don't worry, don't stress, and don't be impatient. Take it easy. Breathe… Let the wind blow through your hair, and know that you are where you're supposed to be in this moment in time. As my father always said, "Life is like a traffic jam, you look in front of you and there's a long line of cars ahead, but when you look behind you, there's also a long line of cars behind you". You'll get there – just take pleasure in the moment, understand it for what it is and enjoy the journey J

On Desire

I've been doing some reading lately, as always; I took after my father that way. I eat books and he just happens to be a book-worm. Books really are quite delicious actually, not only do they entertain your imagination but you are inspired by the new information you receive. I've been raised to think that you should just do the best with what you have and be content. Not that I didn't have great things growing up, but I was someone who always had a hunger for more. It didn't make me crazy not having things others had; it wasn't even material things I thought about, but mostly about becoming an expert me; in other words, an expert at recognizing and developing my skills on this journey of life.

I knew from a young age what I enjoyed, and I yearned to make this enjoyment a part of my everyday activities. I was stifled for a long time, but I never lost sight of my main aim or aspiration. People, who happened to have enough power to slow me down, and discourage me, believed that Desire for more was a bad thing. They believed that some few chosen could have what they wanted and others had to live a hum-drum, ordinary life and make the best of it. That might be okay for some, but for me, I still believed that having a desire to become better shouldn't be seen as a negative thing and should be available for all who had the determination to succeed.

Sure the path in life is not only to achieve things, but also greatly that of spirituality, that of love. Living a life of love for others and yourself, is the ultimate pleasure and fulfillment. It occurred to me however, that even though this may be the most important aspect of life; that my time and our time here on earth also needed to be one of worldly enjoyment. Whether that be driving the car of your dreams, travel, or living a life of luxury and comfort. Sure a person with strong faith and spirituality has complete comfort, but we also live in the world and to be 'present' completely, we should also take time out to enjoy the sweet aspects as well.

Meditating and praying is powerful, but I also loved dancing, laughter, and good wine; a time to just let loose. Why couldn't I have both? Why couldn't I merge the 2 together and have the ultimate happiness. Elders in my community and wise ones frowned upon my idea, and even though I respected them and valued their advice, I still found the answers within myself. One should not lean too heavily on any one thing. Life is about the middle way, the middle path. It is about balance but also that of experience.

I had heard many things about Tantra; sexual /sensual experiences, witchcraft, black magic; all of which was wrong, and after reading some more on it, I found out that it's about when spirituality meets the materialistic. It is about merging the spiritual and worldly path. So I saw finally that 'my way' was accepted by many others and that other people too had the same thoughts. I still have loads to learn but I am happy to say that you should listen to your heart. The answers are all there, be silent and hear what it is whispering to you! J