Archive for the ‘ Personal ’ Category

I’m an asshole.


Having “no principles” and “no regard for others’ feelings” are two descriptions I thought could never be associated with my name. In a previous post about recognizing and accepting self truths, I was honest about what I saw as less-than-appealing features in my character and admitted to being moody, impatient, envious and sometimes a bit of a bitch. I’m realizing now that being honest about your character is fine but doesn’t necessarily mean you are able to see the full scope of who you are, and sometimes you can surprise yourself with the things you’re capable of.

Self-indictment
In the same post, I also admitted to being a terrible drunk, which is, I suppose a good context for the story I’m about to kind-of tell. “Kind-of” because honestly I’m still rather ashamed of myself and haven’t even been able to articulate the details to my closest friends yet.

In a nutshell: The defendant, Klieon John, hereby stands accused of committing an act of gross indecency, betrayal and negligence, when he went to a party with someone (yes, a date) got drunk and made out with someone else (who I have no interest in whatsoever) basically in plain view of said date.

How do I plead? Guilty.

The last to know.
As it turns out I’m an asshole with no sense of decency or moral filter. What’s worse, is that I seem to be the last to know. Beyond feeling utterly disgusted with myself, ashamed and deeply sorry, I’m surprised that I could be capable of something so cruel, disrespectful and, as was rightly stated by the offended party, lacking in principle and regard for feelings. I’m surprised because I normally pride myself on being more level-headed and considerate than the average person and thought I was utterly incapable of acting in such an immature way but consequently that’s not true.  

Ctrl Z.  
I was a heedless child. I knew everything and could not be convinced of the likely outcome of my actions if I didn’t see it that way. As one can imagine, such a child is in for hard lessons in life, and indeed, I have had to learn about many harsh realities by making mistakes and dealing with the consequences.

One of those realities is that life has no Ctrl Z and that you cannot undo your actions, no matter how much and how sincerely you apologize.

Image

Another of life’s harsh realities is that some consequences are unavoidable. Ever so often a teacher, boss, parent or friend may give you a “bligh” and forgive your stupidity or negligence but this should not fool you into thinking that you can avoid the consequences of major actions and decisions in life. Here’s another thing: as humans we all make mistakes and sometimes we do bad things with no intention of hurting other people. But while we may be truly sorry, we don’t always deserve a second chance.

Mea Culpa
The next lesson is about accepting responsibility. In 99 of 100 cases, there was something you could have done to avoid the circumstances where your actions resulted in the displeasure, displacement or otherwise offense of another person. and whether or not you beat yourself up over it, you have to recognize and accept your role in any situation. “Blame it on the booze” stopped being a valid defence when you graduated high school.

I now have to accept the fact (whether I’m ready for it or not) that someone I love deeply will likely never speak to me again and that no matter how sorry I am and how badly I wish I didn’t do what I did, they are entirely right to do so and it is 100% because of my own doing.

Why am I writing about this and sharing with the world? Well, I can’t talk to who I want to talk to about it (I’ve been cut off) and writing is perhaps more therapeutic than downing a bottle of DPH and half a litre of wine (though it does shut up the voices long enough to get 7 straight hours of dreamless sleep – DO NOT try this yourself please). I feel like Macbeth and this is my soliloquy of sorrow (I’m a writer and therefore allowed to be melodramatic).  

I’ve always been able to accept when my actions affect me (failing a test, losing a job, paying a fine) but when my actions have hurt someone else (especially one I care so much about) it’s a very different kind of pain and something I’m not even sure how to deal with. I don’t know what will happen now but I do know this is one of the most difficult lessons I’ve had to learn so far and one I hope never to repeat.

BA, B.Sc, BEd, BASc… All BS?


It’s fitting that this post should come so close to the graduation ceremony for the University of the West Indies, which begins on November 4, 2011. Let me take this chance to congratulate all of my fellow graduates and to my classmates say it was such an honour spending the last three years of my life growing with you all.

I’d like to pause in the midst of all the excitement and anticipation, however for a brief reflection  on what these degrees really mean to us. How many of you, like myself, in high school believed our parents that once we worked hard, did all our extra-curriculars, took these great summer jobs and other activities to beef up our resumes that indeed, after all our hard work, we’d end up with a nice dream job, a good salary, and the life our parents never had? Now how many of you, like myself, have found the reality to be much different? How many of you have been through job application after job application only to find yet another disappointment? How many of you have actually gotten jobs and realized that the respect you imagined you’d get as a degree holder is just that…imaginary?

Let’s talk money for a minute. Who knows the average annual income for a first degree holder in Jamaica? 1 Million Dollars. Let’s work that out: Divided by 12 that works out to be just over 80K. Now, let’s sit a minute for Caesar to take what is his. Cue N.H.T (National Housing Trust), Education Tax, N.I.S (National Insurance Scheme), Income Tax (25% or ONE QUARTER). There may be one or two other fees depending on your status. You’re left with just over 60K (these are from various persons kind enough to show me their salary slips for this  post).  For my EC peeps, 60K is the equivalent of about EC$2,000 (divide by 30).

So, someone who went to university for about 3-4 years, spent anywhere between 600,000 and 1.5 Million, graduated with a first degree (First or second class honours isn’t taken into consideration for pay arrangements by the way…or even job placement for that matter) can expect to earn anywhere between 60-90K per month after taxes in Jamaica. If I have to explain why this is absolutely crazy, you might as well stop reading.

Now, let’s step away from money and talk about something even closer to my heart. How many of us will eventually find jobs where we have to either sit behind a desk or run around taking orders from someone who doesn’t respect us? How many will work over 40 hours a week, with 2 weeks vacation time, up to 3 weeks sick leave, a 1-hour lunch break, all the while having to ask permission do anything related to your own life during “company time”? Today, after being denied the day off to attend my own graduation ceremony, I found myself asking “Is this the life I’ve worked for?“. All my childhood and adolescent life I was told I had to work hard, go to school, get good grades, beef up my resume, speak and present myself well so that I can get a good job when I leave university. *looks around*… Is this it?

O.K let me set a little perspective for you. Yesterday, I had a talk with an acquaintance of mine who happens to sell marijuana for a living and did not attend university. For the first time, I sat and spoke with him about his choice of career and essentially compared it dollar for dollar with mine. Here’s what I learnt about a weed dealer’s life in Jamaica:

With a simple wholesale purchase and retail resale system, you can make more than double investment on any one pound of fresh, quality Western Jamaica marijuana. A pound, costing roughly JMD$5,000, can be resold for up to JMD$16,000 – a cool profit of JMD$11,000.  Let’s bear in mind, according to our weed guy, that when you buy over 3lbs, you can get it at a reduced rate so 4lbs can cost about 16K and 6lbs for around 20-25K.

Now let’s really get into some numbers:

6lbs= 25,000

1lb brings a profit of 16K

6X16 = 96

96 – 25 (initial investment) = 71

So for a $25,000 investment, you’ve made a profit of $71,000 …. more than the average income of a degree holder.

The smart people will ask: Yes but what does it take to move all that product? Dollar for dollar it may earn more, but hour for hour is it worth more in terms of effort and time?

Well I asked him just what it takes to move his product, and if he could easily move 6lbs within a month. His response: Easily! It’s weed in Jamaica! He explained his market strategy:

First of all, the simplest way to get rid of it is to sell it either by half pound, ounce or a whole pound. With a resale at 7-9 K you still make a pretty good profit. Secondly, with a simple distribution system where you break it down for your high-end and street customers, it could be off your hands in no time with profits of more than 200%. He actually explained his market and distribution strategy in very intricate detail but I’m not too sure if I should reveal it (Legal purposes). So I’ll have to find an off-air way to relate that if people are really interested! 😀

The point of doing all that was really my twisted way of showing that it may actually be a lot more worth it to consider some sort of entrepreneurial venture (hopefully legal!) that could benefit you and bring in some real profits. The truth is that the typical work lifestyle that our parents and teachers have groomed us for is inadequate and unjust to anyone who values their creative and intellectual energy more than what can be shoved into 8 hours working for some (pardon me) asshole.  In fact, here’s a quote from Mr. Weed:

“Anything legal even when it pays well doesnt compensate you equivalent to the work you’ve done.  Peons in a company might do invaluable work but they’re standardized or non executive and so cant earn shit. The point: to make good cash legally, work 50 years, have entrpeneurial capital or win the lotto”. 

There you have it. Is Mr. Weed not enough? How about this. A dear friend of mine who was nominated for this year’s Valedictorian published her entry speech online. She made reference to the fact that thousands of UWI students graduate each year and most are able to just scrape by hand-to-mouth with poor jobs.

“Quite clearly, UWI does not have a lack of brilliant, ambitious students who care about the world around them- they are, in fact, sitting before me. And yet, for all the brilliance in the world, for all the good grades we might have striven hard to achieve in university, there are many of us still without jobs; there are many of us contemplating migration; there are many of us who no longer feel the sense of possibility and of enthusiasm sparked during our education at the University of the West Indies. And how can we, in a region in which a large number of its highest earning businesses are owned by foreigners? In a society in which it seems that one cannot prosper unless one is well-connected? “

My aim is not to encourage anyone not to attend university, or to bash degrees or even to go sell weed! My aim is to encourage anyone reading this to think carefully about the life they intend for themselves. Note, I did not say the life your parents, teachers or community intended for you but the life YOU intend for YOURSELF and to consider whether or not you are moving towards that or just fitting into a mold that has been created for you. Will you be happy or fulfilled in that mold? Are you prepared to accept what has been prescribed for you by some company finance executive and run around following orders all your life? Do you still believe that YOUR dream could have possibly been worked out for you by a series of persons who’ve never met you? Is your degree the best tool you have to achieve the things you want for your life?

All comments and questions are welcome! Don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Cosmic signals: There’s more to peripheral vision than you think!


The universe has such an interesting way of pointing things out to us. The tragedy is that we are often too preoccupied with immaterial things to take notice of them.

Case in point: For much of last week, I found myself harbouring many negative thoughts about myself. In addition to being haunted by my recurring feelings of inadequacy (school, work, relationships, social life) I was mentally under the weather about my financial situation. With school about to end and no clear gainful employment in sight, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety about my ability to remain living on my own in Jamaica. And the prospect of returning to my home country, St. Kitts, began to take more solid form. Suffice it to say, this is not on my wish list for the next 5 years.

The point of this story is to set some context for a visit of a friend of mine on Thursday evening. We hadn’t spoken in a while and he offered to drive me home when we ran into each other on campus. While offering him a refreshment I said, with my fridge open, “Sorry but I’m not home much these days so I don’t really know what’s here”; to which he replied “I’m surprised to see your fridge so full though.”

Hmm…

I’m surprised to see your fridge so full.” Such profundity in a simple, innocent observation. It was like running into a brick wall. I was so concerned with what was not going right in my life that I forgot to take notice of the things that were good. And while this, of course goes way beyond a stacked refrigerator, I couldn’t help feeling so appreciative of that unexpected visit that caused me to pause and admit to myself that I still have much to be thankful for, no matter how simple. Good friends, caring family, health, food (I’ve been putting on weight) and every other thing that made life as I know it possible suddenly became far more interesting than all my perceived misfortunes.

As if to say, “DUH!” the universe and its precise maneuvering sent me to a dance concert the very next day, where a song from Nas and Junior Gong’s album Distant Relatives was featured. I liked it so I went home and found the album. One of the songs, was so obviously meant to conclude my latest lesson that I could do nothing more than smile in awesome recognition of the universe’s most marvelous talent…timing.

This little experience, though unremarkable from a story telling stand point was enough to show me how easily I can slide into negativity and self-pity; two things I’ve sworn to avoid this year. And the simple nudge of a friend’s casual observation was the universe’s peripheral signal telling me to count my blessings and focus on the positive things in my life which will bring more positivity. I only wonder how often we allow ourselves to miss these hints and signs because we are too taken with depressive and negative thoughts.

Lord, Save us from your Followers – Full Documentary


So I promised to follow up the trailer of this Documentary with the full version. This is a very unique perspective of Christianity by a Christian into its effect on the world.

I found it incredibly enlightening. It reinforced a lot of my rationale for not being Christian, yet it still allowed me to sympathize with the Christian faith. Yes, Sympathize. Most people assume that because I’m agnostic I have a disgust for Christians. Not true (Though I do find most of them quite pathetic). I Fully understand, respect and appreciate the tenets of the Christian faith. I just feel most of the Christians are, in their behaviour and treatment of others, the very opposite of what their faith preaches.

Nonetheless… Have a look at the documentary below and let me know what you think.

So that was it. Thanks for watching. Share your thoughts and see what others have to say.

Coment. Rate. Subscribe.

@Kliejay.

“Lewd!”- A ‘penetrating’ look at the Jamaican Dancehall Culture


“Lewd!” is a short film is by a friend and great Jamaican producer and director, Wayne Benjamin and offers a rare inside perspective on the motivation behind the current Dancehall Culture in Jamaica.

It’s very easy to come to negative judgements about the sexual climate in Jamaican Dancehall after seeing the scantily clad women gyrating and grinding, exposing their privates to the video cameras and the men in their animalistic lustful endorsement of this behaviour.

However, I have always been a strong advocate of open-mindedness and considerations of multiple perspectives and this film lends a seldom offered ear to the rationale of the persons involved in this practice.

Give a look and share your thoughts.

NOTE: The following clip contains highly graphic and sexually explicit content and is not recommended for viewing by persons below the age of 18.

Comment. Rate. Subscribe.

@Kliejay

Click here to see more of Wayne Benjamin’s work!

God, Save Us From Your Followers, a new documentary in search of truth


So I found this documentary called “God, Save Us From Your Followers”, which is an open minded look at the perception of Christianity in America and the reasons for the seemingly eternal conflict generated by a group supposedly devoted to peace and love.

Have a look at the trailer and tell me what you think. I may be posting the full version soon!

Comment. Rate. Subscribe.

@Kliejay.

Tanto Blacks on Smile Jamaica


So I’ve been making a claim lately that this new Jamaican Dancehall artiste, Tanto Blacks is mentally challenged in some way and a few persons have disagreed.

He’s known for being very goofy and silly and persons subscribe to his antics seemingly just for the fun of it. Though I appreciate that,  I’m really not trying to be mean or have a laugh but I genuinely think he may have a slight mental disorder. Observing his mannerisms on stage and other places I can’t help but see a similarity with persons with down syndrome or autism. And I’ve been around persons like that all my life (family and friends) so perhaps I’m overly sensitive.

Anyways….watch and tell me what you think.

Did you notice the robotic emptiness on his face? How about his inability to process logical thought and the obvious blindness to direct insults?

Maybe he was on drugs like Simon suggested. But I see this in his general demeanor. IDK.

Comment. Rate. Subscribe.

@Kliejay.

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