Sure The Montegonian did a lovely stint in the Western Mirror which I believe changed the dynamic of Column writing in Western Jamaica and imbued western Journalism with more confidence and vigor. Sure I would hear my ideas in articles popping up in Mobay's Chamber of Commerce on the mouths of other people with no credit to me, which is not a problem to me, as long as it makes this city better. Yeah but in the age of so many hot writers erupting everyday from Jamaica on the world stage, what is it worth when the world stage and so many platform seem closed to me and the less financially endowed. Sure I have been championing and been an early pioneer using Linux and Open Source in Montego Bay and Western Jamaica on PC's, Laptops and Desktops, but what is that worth in a country that worships at the alter of Microsoft and Windows, yet not knowing Linux holds up their tech world on Android phones and slavishly carrying the tech world on servers everywhere. What is it worth when you champion your community and any social cause worth the activism, only to be neglected by NGO's because we aren't PR material or the poster child for the worst community or we just don't have enough dead bodies on our streets, to have media focus on Kingston and the colourful personalities that catch their eye and fancy, and this happens no matter how conscious the media agency seems or pretends to be. What is it worth to be another unsung hero... to fight the black struggles in the best ways you know how and to have so little verbal reward or any kind of accolade and close to no meal ticket. What was it worth to be vanguard and forerunner, when every forerunner only holds the lead to be in a lonely place and relegated to pariah.
What was I to do... worn thin and wounded in spirit?
Enter my Daughter... life in abundance, come to reinvigorate me and teach me new lessons on life and to remember the lessons and ideas I forgot long ago.
Lesson 1. Simple things can keep us happy: The Princess Yo-Yo 101
~Now this lesson I learned last December. I am not a Christmas believer nor do I believe a Christ was born on Dec 25. However Nativity, Christmas Carols, Trade Winds those tings make me redolent, and is a season I cherished as a child for the bells, the x-mas plays, cool chilly breezes, the yards smelling of paint, fresh cut lawns, pretty silver moons, astronomy with my father under clear skies, being filled with the sense that the world was slowing down for reasons such as love, family and in-gatherings of family and extensions of family. A season that as child wished would never end. So it is that spirit I try to hang onto and recapture for my daughter. A feeling and emotion about the season, not necessarily connected to trees, or lights, or presents, but connected with the presence of special people. So when she became swept up with the season last year and she requested a present, Super Daddy has to answer the call. Now, for a few days I twisted my brain to find a nice present and thought it maybe it'd be something costly. Would it be a tablet, a Nabi, a electronic gadget of some sort, surely not clothes... After not thinking of anything, I asked her what she wanted. "A Princess Yo-Yo!"
WHAT! A princess yo-yo... hmmm it seemed a unique and odd request and one that maybe would stump me. For this was a request at the crux of roads... Yo-yoes are for boys, I hadn't imagined that the 21st century girl could be a Tom Boy Princess... another strange anomaly. HMMMMM HMMMM HMMMM... so specialized, it sounds like that may stretch my imagination, where in Mobay was I gonna find a princess yo-yo... if one even existed. And how much would this cost now... please let it not be over $2000, as mi just nuh have it, fi maths more than that. HMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I was confounded. Being the presumption ass, I assumed that such wonders as a possibly expensive and specialized toy like a princess yo-yo had to be located at Fontana or MegaMart or some such location... of I went... wasting gas to traverse from Paradise to Mobay's likkle farrin... out by Fairview! Only to not find the prized princess yo-yo there. After giving the issue some more brain power... I came up with Sangster's Book Store... so off to Harbour Street to park again and foot it to Sangster's. After scouring Sangster's seeing an varied assortment of $1000 odd Yo-yoes, I was heartened somewhat, but I hadn't found the Princess Yo-yo yet. Fine fine... lemme walk the town in one last hope to see what's up, only to realize hmmmm Henderson's in renovating... lemme check it out... as I enter it immediately greets me, a $435.00 pink Princess Yo-yo! My word... that's it $435.00 bet she just uses it once and discards it... I've seen kids do it a thousand times right.
3 Months later in March I was still de-tangling yo-yo chords and explaining an assortment of tricks. Hence I had learned that she really did ask for what she wanted, was happy when she got it, and really tried to learn to use it and understand it. Hmmm much more than I had given her credit for. So my daughter reminds me of the Sizzla song now... "Simplicity we use to survive, many find it difficult cause them ignorant and dumb." The hold incident too reminded me of a time when I was young, it was a Sunday, and as my mother and grand mother sat reading the papers, I didn't realize my granny had stopped reading the newspaper and was watching me swing on the grill at the door, and when I realized she was, she looked at me and said, "A see seh yuh come fi mek yuh owna sun shine." It was a while before i understood what she meant, but Kyrha's made me re-learn that idea.
Lesson 2. Everyone has their own mind: On White Folk and Other Philosophy- death, afterlife god mother nature
Now when it comes to life and learning as it pertains to youth, my belief is that, I ought not hold much back, and if I do, it is only in the interest of keeping things simple. I won't lie or make up fairy tales. Lies, myth and fairy tales I believe hinder a child's development, and denies them the chance to intuit deeper levels of knowledge and understanding. Fairy tales hinder humanity's collective gainful comprehension of the universe.
However explaining gravity, why we fall, robots, machines, sleep, imagination, digestion, the eye, even sex and how she came here, seems so so so much simpler when one contends with explaining GOD, JESUS, HEAVEN, MOTHER NATURE, AFTER LIFE, SLAVERY AND RACISM among other metaphysical and social mysteries.
Most amazing of all though is that this little year old processes my thoughts and what I tell her and she doesn't just imbibe it and says it is so because Daddy's says so... she challenges ideas in her mind. I'll soon explain.
My doctrines on life are a scientific approach to questions, in social spiritual matters in my Ras Tafari I employ Marcus Garveys's fiery Afrocentrism and pan-africanism tempered by Haile Selassie's cerebral modus operandi and diplomacy. So when I have to touch on touchy issues of Race and slavery I as advised by listening to Martin Luther King Jr's treatise on his little daughter and fun town, which I listen to often via Youtube.
So when Africa comes up and how or why we are Africans and how we came to be in Jamaica, I didn't shy away from explaining the horror of slavery and the evils wrought on us by white Europeans. As MLK Jr suggested I tried not to be bitter. I think I may have been a little. Anyway... it so happens one day white Christian folk visit her school, when I pick her up, she immediately comes to me and says guess what Daddy... You know I think you are wrong about white people... not all white people are bad... I met some good ones at school today... I couldn't contain the laughter... this child retained the race conversations and had borne it in mind and challenged my information with her experiences... I was truly impressed. There is no brain washing this one. Anyway... after she repeats her point and says "is true enuh Daddy, is true!" I say to her don't worry we'll discuss this again when you are older, and hopefully then you'll see my point more clearly.
Lesson 3. What Father is and means: Pickney Proverbs & Prov 15 vs 5
So on becoming a father I have had to examine my experiences being fathered, what I liked, what I want to improve upon from my father. But I have also had to examine the role I have played to people I have semi- or part-time fathered. If mentoring is important, the power of the role... what power has been invested in father.
More difficult to examine has been how Jamaica deals with father and how harshly we are critiqued and derided by society, even as our stats improve and some stats are coming in to indicate women have to some extent aided in undermining Jamaican Masculinity... the Jacket phenomenon, the bleaching, the long hair and expenses, the gimmi mentality, relentless challenge to male authority, the belief in the better-ness of white notions and displays and examples of masculinity.
I've also had to open up to my daughters notions of father, dada, papa... the fixer of things, the knower of things, her companion encyclopedia and philosopher, the backdrop against which she bounces ideas and deciphers reality. The daughter who believes father is there for super/supra natural protections. To examine what this young femininity means to man, what really is the role of man, what do I teacher her of masculinity, what do I do with her Tom Boyism... her Princessism... how do I prepare for the future with a truly helpful vision that equips her for all that may come, how do I also prepare her for launch as my first emissary and arrow shot and cast into the future, my messenger and ambassador to the future? How? How do I combine organic ideology, african spirituality, technology, post modern philosophy, ecological livity, humanism and not this transhuman future of black widows, Iron men and people with electric hearts and dreams of electric sheep, visions and ultrons??? How do I sow Marcus Garvey into everyday existence and merge the ethics of Haile Selassie?
Most of all I have had to examine everyone who has played some sort of mentor or fatherly role... my Father, grand Father, older friends, elders, sages and all... I have had to even consider if I am comfortable with God being a father... should it maybe not be better that it be ISIS and not some nondescript holy ghost, and what social ethos would only give us a God father, and no mother or reduce her to a ghost... and find some way to sire sons (the sons of god came down and took of themselves wives of the daughters of men) without women, to make man give birth to the first woman!
In many ways my daughter more than anyone has taught me about Father, through the gift of fatherhood.
Lesson 4. Live!
I don't know another soul that gives meaning to the words Verve and Vivacious and Effervescent!
From the moment I met this girl in a tummy kicking, I couldn't have met her before that, I am not privy to the woman's early knowing that her body is inhabited and her womb is occupied. Yep! I met her with a kick and the information that she constantly moved to the noise of children and voices on the outside world! And as I sat by the womb waiting night by night... I had a sense of knowing that this was someone full of spunk...
It would come as no surprise then that some of her favourite songs are "This Girl is on Fire" and Katy Perry's "Roar"... She ravages through cartoons and her favourites change often... there was the Avatar "Ang" phase, then Korra... the Doc McStuffins, Cat in the Hat, Peppa Pig, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, now much to my chagrin it's Monster High and Sabrina the Teenage Witch!
But that I think is a crucial lesson she has taught me... sometimes I spend too much time being cerebral and thinking about things and there consequences rather than just doing... and that is her thing... impulsive impetus... just do it.. live, with a sense of absolute fearlessness at that. So if she can do it... why can't I! She also brought home this Garvey quote..
Fear is a state of nervousness fit for children and not men. When man fears a creature like himself he offends God, in whose image and likeness he is created. Man being created equal fears not man but God. To fear is to lose control of one's nerves; one's will, to flutter, like a dying fowl, losing consciousness, yet alive.
Imagine a 5 year old teaching I N I bout fearlessness!
Lesson 5. Serendipity Sanguinity and Telepathic Connection
When I was a little boy, sitting int back of cars in the rain, I'd look at the wipers and imagine they were two children chasing each other or fighting, throwing water at each other. It's just one of those little thoughts your child mind produces and you forget as you get older. I was blown away one evening whilst driving home in the rain, she says "Mommy and Daddy! Yuh know those two wipers look like two children fighting and throwing water at each other, two rude children... dem rude enuh! Don't dem look like dat Mommy?"
I had to give the car a 1 minute stop and let the years come back... then let the strange feeling of synchronism and time-loop or -warp sink in and settle and explain it to her and her Mommy why I had paused.
I think this is a lesson on the metaphysics of things, the unknown and unexplained, a sense that their are greater psycho-spiritual things going on, we are more than we know... paranormal, in search of... STRANGE BUT TRUE...