Saturday, May 7, 2011


Today I met the Caribbean Catholic for the first time just simply passing through the churchyard. First of all I must say you're pretty fly for a white guy.....LOL!! But on a more serious note, he gently chided me for not writing more on my blog. I have been awful at it but for a reason. February last year was around the time that my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. By December 2,2010, he was no more. He died peacefully at Vitas House Hospice. (Shout out to Trinidad Cancer Society, they were fab!) My life was turned upside down for those ten months. My dad was in denial for a long time about the sysmptoms and continued to be in denial after he got diagnosed and bascially tried to live life at the same pace until he couldn't anymore. It was hard for my Mom and I to watch but even harder was the feeling of helplessness. One of the hardest lessons I learnt is that you can't save someone if they don't want to save themselves.

It may not be a Catholic thing to say but it's the truth - Cancer is a bitch. Watching your Dad go from a real healthy, intelligent active man (it seemed like he was in every association in Christendom) to seeing him lying on a bed wracked with pain and cancer-related pnuemonia and not in his right mind is something I would wish on no one. My comfort is that he died in beautiful surroundings with caring and competent staff and that my Mom and I spent hours with him the day before he passed. He had a nice funeral which packed out the Cathedral and then we went home.

 So I guess here I am 5 1/2 months later still trying to put the pieces of my life together and journeying with my Mom to do the same. It was always the three of us - Mom, Dad and me. And now it is just the two of us. We do feel the lack of a man in the house just for the man stuff. Because of our situation I think people can perceive us to be vulnerable (yes, we have gotten the requests for money) Each holiday that passes is tough.
But we are getting by. Surviving. Healing. Growing. We have reached the point where there are more good and okay days than bad days.But that doesn't mean we don't feel his loss everyday - as breadwinner, fixer upper, source of cynical humor, source of running commentary of the news of the day, put-the-garbage-outer, bill payer and eater of all food *grin* So I guess that is where we are. Just the two of us

Friday, February 5, 2010


In the interests of being a good girl, I decided to post a series of notes that I had done about having bipolar disorder on Facebook. Enjoy!

1. The disability I live with is: Bipolar Disorder

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:2001, age 22

3. But I had symptoms since: 17

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Losing a lot of my carefree youth to bipolar partying, being a young working girl, etc.......either fighting my way back or now on the hustle to make a career for myself

5. Most people assume: That I do not have a disability...much less one described as mental illness. I don't know if that is a credit or a disadvantage.....

6. The hardest part about mornings are: Waking up. I hate early mornings. Especially if the insomnia that comes with bipolar has occurred the night before.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: I don't watch them.Get my bipolar info from the Net.

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: My baby, my functions as my music source, reading source when I have no books, educational and plain amusment when I am bored, link to friends etc

9. The hardest part about nights are: If I can't sleep. Bipolar brings sleep distubrances unfortunately.

10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please) 9, 3 of them actually for the bipolar are vitamins

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: Would like to implement some, just that they so damn expensive!!!And no, for me NOT taking meds is NOT an option...please respect that

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: Neither, each can be crappy in it own way at times.

13. Regarding working and career: My position as a person with a disability is if you can, do it. If you can't, I repsect you and live your best life!

14. People would be surprised to know: That I am very good at masking when my mood is down.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: The fact that there is a developmental lag......I am a full-time undergrad at 30 and will really be kicking off my career after.....something most people do in their 20's

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Hmm, before UWI ( University of the West Indies), attend university. Now I am in UWI, I still wonder if marriage and babies are in the cards for me....

17. The commercials about my illness: Are Sucky. full stop.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: Not having to take pills everyday. I hate it but I suck it up and do it anyway.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: Losing my career as a teacher to this illness.

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: Oh gorm! Any body who knows me KNOWS that I am on the Net a lot!!

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: Hm...dunno....I think I have accepted this as it is...just determined to live my best life.

22. My illness has taught me: To accept that I am not a superwoman and that I don't have to overcompensate and be better than everybody else to prove a point.....just have to be the best me I can be whether I having a good day or not.

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: When upon disclosure of my diagnosis, religious people feel that it is only a matter of lack of faith/prayer that I have not been healed yet.....Hell, the fact that I am living with this is miracle enough for me some days and trust me from where I came from when I was first diagnosed, I had to have faith in my God!

24. But I love it when people: Just see Nicole first and not the illness. The people who truly love me do that everyday and yet will still be supportive when I am fighting a depressive episode.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: When I stress out I often mock-threaten " I'ma kill somebody but it ain't gon be me cuz I am too cute too kill myself!"

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: That you can still live your best life, but it takes work and taking responsibility for managing your own care.And that your best life may NOT necessarily be the one you had before.

27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: Both how compassionate people can be and how utterly stupid and insensitve a dumb minority can be. Ignorance I don't mind but rudness and nastiness about mental illness AFTER some education...ARRRGH!!!

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Last year when I was fighting off a depressive episode and reached out on Facebook and a chick who didn't like me in high school was so supportive. Other than that my mom's support through this whole damn adventure!!

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because; People need to know that we exist, you don't necessarily have to be blind, in a wheelchair or deaf to have a disability.(Nuff respect to those folks! Boop! Boop!)

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Happy that you took a little time to read the 5 a.m. ramblings of a bipolar undergrad.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


OK. I am guilty.......of being seriously gone for a minute. I know, I am lacking and my writer's conscience has been biting me but I am going to get better. My problem is that I write on my desktop at home.By the time I get home most evenings I am one beat-up bipolar. Ain't no way I feel like writing. And so I don't.....but feel guilty for not doing so. (By now, my fairy blogfather, Max, has given up on asking when will he see a new post.) But I am going to be soon an owner of a laptop so I am going to appease my conscience (and my blogfather) by acting......and posting. So stay tuned, folks!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Here I am, sitting at my computer being disturbed by my neighbors' loud music. Today is pretty tame in terms of time it is being played… is about 1 in the afternoon. Normally they reserve that kinda loud music for between the hours of 12 midnight to 4a.m. Call the who? The poe-leece??? No, dear we are not in the suburbs. We in the ghetto. Well technically in the ghetto. We're in the part of the ghetto that just has individual houses instead of tenement apartments….Y'all know what I am talking about ……in the ghetto but just a step from where all the real grimy action goes on…..Don't worry - you can hear a coupla gunshots in the distance though… Anyway, ain't no police coming for noise in the ghetto. Doesn't happen. They come after the gunshots, if at all. I often tell my Mom that when I grow up I want to move out to an apartment on the hills with rich, white people and no noise. And I think that is the crux of my identity problem (or just complexity whichever way you want to look at it)…

You see, even though I live in the ghetto, with all the pre-requisite characteristics….the neighborhood weed man, the mini-mart in somebody's house selling soft drinks (soda to you Americans), the chicken and fries on a Friday night, the loud rap and dancehall music………I was different. I went to a prestigious school of mostly middle to upper class kids. I was the kid who didn't play outside. I was NOT allowed to have a boyfriend till I was 18 and left high school while there are people in my neighborhood who were moms at 14 and 15. While teens were playing R&B and dancehall, I was appreciating classical music and I LIVED in the library. In short I lived an existence considered by most of the denizens of my neighborhood as well, bougie.

As adult however, once I leave my home, I am really more or less in middle to upper class world. My close friends and acquaintances are mostly people with degrees, some of them multiple. Those that don't have, like me, are in the process of earning one. I remember one night, myself and a friend who attends university with me travelling home on public transportation and discussing some coursework we were doing and thinking, I wonder what the driver must be thinking? Of course, the driver was an obvious ghetto denizen. And of late, even though I don't want to because I am basically proud of where I come from and will defend it to the eyeteeth if anybody dares to say something negative about it in my presence, I find myself more and more irritated by what Chris Rock would call "niggas." I am wondering if three years in this university environment has gotten me too accustomed to what he calls "black folk" instead. And even as I feel irritated at the "niggas" who are playing loud, inane music right now, there are definitely things about ghetto life to be enjoyed. The realness and the simplicity can't be beat (and the Friday night fries are tha bomb! Better than KFC any day).

Despite cries for all black people to unite, there is difference in upper to middle and lower class blacks. I have felt it keenly at times as I switch fairly fluidly from world to the next. And despite being upwardly mobile, there is still that humble chick inside of me waiting to come out at moment's notice (especially when I see upper to middle class conspicuous consumption. I'm too cheap for that crap.) So I think I will coin a new phrase to describe a girl that is too ghetto to be completely bougie but too bougie to be completely ghetto – BOUGHETTO anyone?

Monday, August 3, 2009


There are writers all over the world. From those who write poems in their notebooks…..odes to love lost, love, desired, anguish and pain……… those who slave away in front of the computer screen every day. There are columnists, novelists, poets, playwrights, humorists, satirists, journalist, bloggers, screenwriters, pulp fiction authors, professional authors and amateur hacks. There are those who stand the test of time and are called classics – Shakespeare, Dickens, Machiavelli, Aristotle and the modern classics….Toni Morrison, V.S. Naipaul, James Baldwin to name a few. There are the New York Times Bestsellers with hundreds of thousands, even millions of readers and those who labour in obscurity and just wish for a single reader. But essentially wiring is the written expression of what is in the human psyche and soul about the human experience. Thus I'd like to boldly venture that there are certain elements that form part of the soul of all writers.

This is my bold and forward listing of the elements of soul of a writer.

  1. Love of language, in particular the written word. No matter what language, the writer writes in or how he does it, he must love language. For it is his tool and his craft at the same time to convey what he desires to be heard.
  2. Passion about his subject matter. The true writer feels deeply about his subject matter and uses language to craft his ideology about it to display in his work to the world. Without it, a writer cannot endure to create words and images out of seeming nothingness.
  3. The universal horror of tow things……the blank page and writer's block. Unfortunately the two are not mutually exclusive. A blank page is the canvas for a writer's art to flourish…however, a blank page that stay there too long is a sign of that horror of horror, dread of dread and fear of fears –WRITER'S BLOCK. When there is nothing so awful as when the writer desires to create and there is nothing that comes to mind to create. Writer's block is made especially worse when one is under a tight deadline…..
  4. Experience. A writer must draw on some element of his own and other's experiences to create his material. A writer with NO experience whatsoever is one that is not human.
  5. A desire to chronicle something of what he has seen, heard, felt or dreamt. Basically something to say.
  6. A desire to have his work read, even if it is just by himself.
  7. A love-hate relationship with editing. Whether he self-edits or somebody else does it for him, no writer is exactly thrilled to be edited. For a writer's creation is part of his soul and editing means somehow, squeezing, molding, cutting or chopping off a bit of it. However, a writer will appreciate and submit to good editing if the final product is better than he intended.
  8. And finally, a simultaneous capacity for solitude and yet the need to be among people. Writing is done best in relative solitude…..but unfortunately(or fortunately depending on the mood said writer is in) , one needs other people to write……to edit his material, to read it, to give feedback, to draw on for experiences, to have something to say about..

So folks, there you have it so far. If my writer friends have anymore to add….feel free. This writer is done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I found this prayer online and I decided to pay it forward by sending it to my e-mail friends. Today, I found mysef looking feverishly for it because I needed it myself.........Here it is


O my God,
I know that you love me.
And I know that you want me to be happy, safe and secure,
But sometimes it's so hard to find you in all my troubles.
I know that there are many people worse off than me,
But please help me with my problems.
I'm so worried, God.
Please help me find the support I need.
Please help me not to worry too much.
Please help me to be humble enough to accept help from others.
Please help me to stay away from the "what ifs" and the "if onlys."
Please help me to remember to help others, even when I still need help.
And please help me to trust in your loving kindness, your care and your grace.
Because I know that you love me, and you know that I love you.
And if all you want to give me right now is your love,
Please let that be enough for me.

James Martin, SJ

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


As someone who has been through a LOT of negative things, I have been on a seemingly never ending quest to find healing and wholeness. One message that I have heard before but that the universe has been screaming of late is to love yourself, to respect yourself and other will respect you. This seems to especially apply in everyone's manuals about how to find that special someone. Love, yourself, have morals, standards, etc. Play by the rules and everything will go okay. You will attract what you are so be good to yourself and you will attract that.

My question then: Is simply this? What is the process of loving on oneself? How do you love yourself? is there a golden rule book or play book that says, do x, y and z and you will love yourself? Where are the step-by-step directions or the accounts of their inner journeys?

It is not that I don't agree, it is that I am genuinely asking for the people like me who have been hurt and abused so much at times that it is hard to even conceptualise it. For with every effort you do make you have to contend first off with yourself...with the voices saying in your head who do you think you are, the fear of what the other person will think of you, if and when you set boundaries, the fear of being alone.Then you have to contend with others as well..

It is something that is easy to say but long and arduous to do. If you have grown up in a great childhood and a decent adolescence then great, you have a foundation. What about those of us who haven't had it so great? What is a frame of reference to begin?And when do you know that you have arrived?

If all those people who advocate loving yourself or better yet if someone who has had a less than perfect start has completed the journey, can you give the rest of us a holler and some steps to follow instead of just saying to love yourself and looking down on us poor mortals who are struggling? Some tips anyone? And please...... no cliches......