FiveJALoaves…..Extra's

Thoughts and insights taken from moments of poodling…


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Let Me Sleep

Let Me Sleep
It’s cold outside.
Let me sleep
I need to rest my eyes.
Let me sleep
There’s a task out there.
Please let me sleep
Others are awake with no fear.
Let me sleep
Unless you’re ready for the ride
Let me sleep
Or do you want to join me outside?

 

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To a sleeping world
Where there’s fun to be had
Full freedom and fun and fads.
The notifications on the Smarts will be pinging,
Whilst the sounds of the sweet music from the raves speaker box has my ears still ringing.
Still not making me sleep?
Cool, let’s have fun and salute the sun!

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Have fun… because there’s no chance of a son, right?
Let’s watch the stars at night, explore the brilliant white lights…right?
Let’s get lost in the purple haze of lust and tantalise our buds to the flavour of Ciroc mixed with a hint of rum in a daze..

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Let’s feel and explore what life has to offer by day and even by night…
Suffering from no sleep now right?
Let’s continue this insomnia as night turns to day and day turns to night and the calender can’t be right?

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Did you hear me? I’m awake now.
Hello?
The calender can’t be right, right?
Are you gonna let me go to sleep now?
Or are you now considering if we should fall asleep…together?

Let ME sleep…please.


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The Monster

The concealed fear consumes her as she waits for the school day to end,
Another hopeful trek home, hoping he’s not going to follow her today.
She looks in the mirror constantly,
To see if his reflection can be detected through the reflective subtlety.
 

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No one can know of him because he promised to destroy her and label her if she EVER spoke out.
Further still, she has seen for herself how those who speak get silenced with sweets which will not only stop her shout;
But will give him more capacity to isolate her in his world where no one can come and see what this has all been about.
His favourite time was in the middle of the night,
Waking her from her sleep and asking her to check the surrounding to ensure she was safe from any hidden light.

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As she grows in life, she learn to cope with him popping up to see if she’s faithful to only he.
After all, he said he loves her even though his punishment now exceeds…
He makes her laugh now and wants to know her every thought,
Now interested whilst the world continues to get caught,
In life, love, career, families, building, creating….unbeknown that they are also living with…him.
As her thoughts deepens, the truth about his CONDITIONAL love unveils and although she wants to shout it from the rooftops,
She knows the consequence for that will stain.
Sometimes he gets angry though,
and that is when she realises she needs to share this,
But where to run? The Emergency Service?
They all look through her eyes unable to spot her #1 critic,
Who is standing by instructing them to ‘go on and do it’.
The room is a bright white when she opens her eyes,
All signs of ‘her’ feels numb and now her alert is diguised.
She hears external doors banging, raised voices and keys clanging.
Her heartbeat races – ‘get me out!’
But her words can’t leave her as her muscles have frozen.
Everything has slowed down concerning her surrounds,
but the relief was his voice which means they got them both now.
Someone walks in, says ‘good morning’ then rests a tray down.
A full English breakfast prepared for one.
But wait?!
There are two in the room, she thought.
The ‘other’ one, they seem to have forgotten.

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Invisible Yet So Powerful

Haven’t blogged in a while but after so much recent coverage on the black experience especially after Beyonce’s statement at the Superbowl games…I was inspired to take a moment….

You know….I am thankful for today. I am thankful for this gift of time. Time together of sharing, caring and being significant enough to cross people’s minds.
I am thankful for the revelations being made about our race….all its complexities and the realisation that the undertone is self hate.
I am thankful for all those who have an issue with my melanin enriched skin tone. The previous potential black mother in laws who despised who their precious sons had chosen to love and breathed relief when these parternship ended….only to be replaced with a lighter skinned or non black guaranteed wife who would ‘brighten’ the genetic hub.
I am thankful to the black men and women who praise me for being self employed and paving the way….but at the same time as being inspired think ‘well I surely can do it if she can’ before attempting to drain me for suggestions and ideas on how they could make a start.
I am thankful for a number of tutors across my encounters in education who subtly but powerfully made it clear that I was to stay in my lane as I did not have the capacity to enter elite domains.

I thank the Lord for taking my beloved father home in 2002…the only man who loved my black skin unconditionally.
I am thankful for the sisterhood who share the struggle and offer support in times of strife and wilderness

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effortlessly.
I thank the black men who click likes on the blackest Queens on social media. ….yet pass her without a flinch on the streets…..because he usually doesn’t see her.
I am thankful for continuous hope which strives me to continue on in hope that the truth will prevail and I hope that on that day, my heart will be, as it is now, open to forgiveness.
I thank you for reading this. I thank you for keeping me in heart. Be inspired and feel my heart. Words of the melanin-enriched Ms J.


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Where are the Royalties in the abolition of Royalty? A Personal Review on the Gambian Roots tour experience

Gambia is such a beautiful country….filled with a rich foundation of forestry and hidden gems both in the soil and in the people. The nation always smiles and takes things in their stride. There seems to be a stooped head in the passing by of the locals…..but as soon as they are greeted as Kings and Queens, that lost spark returns and the excitement in their eyes can be readily detected as they respond to this title which deeply belongs to them….the Gambian people REALLY come alive. So, after arriving here for the first time, I decided to go on the Roots tour in The Gambia. People always said that you can’t go without attending the place where it all started and ended. After hearing so much about the ’emotions’ I would feel and ‘take care’……I was pretty much in the frame of mind that I would look at this from an external perspective as opposed to being drawn in to the deception of ‘feelings’ which can discern and mis-align ones ability to take on information presented with open eyes. Myself and a fellow Queen were the only two on the tour of direct African heritage. The others were from the British Isles.
From the boat journey which had an eerie sense of ‘some of this is where my ancestors were thrown overboard if we were sick, unhealthy, non-compliant, under developed or any other reason to be considered of any humane empathic response or consideration’. I heard the voices of the Europeans on the ship being jovial about the trip and stripping down to get their sun lotion on and their positioning set at just the right angle to absorb the rays of the piercing African sunshine. Already, I visualised some of the past sounds….the laughter and increased joy as the intake of alcohol rises to alight conversation and stimulating interaction, whist the Africans who were enslaved as ‘property’ were silenced in the decks below.
On entrance to the Kuntah Kentei village – Juffureh, the ‘show’ began. Sound – check. Begging elders greeting ‘us’ off the ship – check. Cue mother grinding the turn cornmeal under the blazing heat with the dirty-looking children, who were once Princes and Princesses – check. My face clearly said it all, as myself and my fellow Queen companion parted to take separate walks of reflection. A fellow Gambian, well travelled so-called person from the tour boat comes to talk to me. ‘You seem thoughtful’ he suggested. I was a little thrown at this point because I was deep in thought. What is going on here, I thought? I was not feeling any genuine emotion of sadness for these ‘poor people’, but I felt angry at this facade. Angry that this poverty performance show was encouraging the art of begging to the children in learning the art of manipulating others out of their money. Somehow, it didn’t feel genuine. I felt disconnected. To top it all off, with the Ebola scare, I was forbidden to have any body contact with any of the people or their children in the village.
‘Oh dear, this is terrible! These poor poor children and they are so cute! If I had known, I would have brought gifts for all of them. Oh look, maybe we should buy books for the children and sweets – those men over there are selling them so that they can be given to these poor children.’ That was a British tourist. I stopped in my tracks and kindly returned to re-engage with the Gambian tourist, that I was indeed thought, yes and that as soon as I found the words, we could reason.
‘Right my Sister, 350 Gambian Dalasi. Come on, we will ensure that the children get it’. I blinked, it felt like I had disappeared for a moment. That’s £5 for 5 exercise books and 5 pencils. I looked at the number of children, all in position awaiting for the tourists to walk past them so that they could sing, dance, perform cultural rituals and saying ‘welcome’ in the sweetest voice possible. It was all so enticing…..like I was under a spell. Then I snapped into reality. I don’t feel any guilt, I have no urge to take my last £10 note and give it to ‘these poor children’. These are royal people with extremely rich backgrounds before the slave trading saga…..so I am also a part of that history, as a person of African decent…via Jamaica, so maybe that explains my desire to enquire and ask questions – some call it defensive; I call it survival and advocating on behalf those who have been silenced. If the Europeans feel guilty, that’s on them, I am exercising my enquiring mind in attempt to fill in the many gaps and contradictions that life has often thrown at my race in disproportionate rates throughout the Western world. My thinking is, where are the United Nations in all of this? Where are the royalties from the Roots publication and from the award winning movie? Why are the direct families of the Kunta Kente tribe living like seemingly peasants, when almost all UK school children will have had reference from the movie as part of their National Curriculum in History as a critical part of their compulsory learning? Who is reaping the profits of this legacy? When is this stripping of a people’s poverty stricken-state in response to the mass genicide of the people going to actually end?

As I continued the walk….I was there, but zoned out somewhat. The resilient spirit in me kicked in! What is the legal fight status within all of this? Is this still going through the courts? So author, Alex Hayley is deceased. Ok….so what happens now? His passing is not a strong enough argument to defend why the Kuntah Kentah tribe are living the way they are and with their dignity eradicated by them having to actually beg tourists for money. How demeaning is that? Another example of colonialism at it’s best in raping a nation and stripping them of their human dignity and countries riches.

The second leg of the tour was at Game Island, which was renamed Kuntah Kenteh Island in 2011. I remember walking into the dungeon which was created for slaves who were non-compliant (hmmmm this term sounds so familiar in institutions back ‘home’ – prisons, education, mental health….you know, systems which have an over-representation of those from African backgrounds….could be me, but I’m sure the link is not accidental). It was dark, hot and dingy. Slaves would be kept in there shackled for up to two weeks…if they made it out alive. Those who didn’t make it and whose bodies were rotting away in the sweltering heat would stay in these dungeons of confinement next to those who were still fighting out the survival.
At this point of the trip, I had been very quiet and lost in thought. Then I was startled by a comment from a British tourist ‘ oh, this is awful! I would definitely be a good slave just to avoid being sent down here’ the silence felt like death and was quickly followed by her nervous laugh to fill silence. Out of nowhere, out it came; ‘well I would be sent here all the time because I would not be having it!’. I think I shocked myself! The tour guide looked ahead and said ‘right, let’s move on’. Silence.

Lots happened after that…..dialogue, silent moments, returning to the boat segregated….whites only conversations at the front of the boat and blacks at the back. Again, no coincidence, just the way the story unfolds. Cue, the alcohol intake….more laughter and discussion about the village people begging and feelings of being pushed into handing over money as emotional blackmail which pulled on the heart strings of all who had a pulse.
Oh yeah, back to the Gambian tourist. Apparently, he tells me he is a tour guide but he is taking his friend and girlfriend out for company on this tour for the day. He wanted to take a picture together, so I obliged. As we got into a suitable ‘tourist’ position to take the photo, I felt his hand go around my waist and land on my ass, giving it a squeeze. I was shocked, disappointed and surprisingly calm. Not because I enjoyed it….oh no, the complete opposite, but I smiled because I knew that he would be addressed in such a way that he would never, ever disrespect a fellow African Queen in such a derogatory way again. After the picture was taken, I asked him to slow down the pace so that we can walk and talk privately. This African, non- practicing Muslim Prince (his words, not mine) was reminded of the Goddess which resided within his Queens and how disrespectful it was to handle her in that way. Similar to the slave masters who treated Queens and Princesses as pieces of property. I asked him if his behaviour just now seemed familiar. My tone was soft and my eyes were sternly fixated on his. Immediately, the sadness in his eyes were crystal clear. He apologised profusely and seemed genuinely in a reflective state…he had forgotten his past for a moment and his royal embedded nature that has been contaminated by this mass rupture of his African culture. I can’t blame him, with all the culture stripped from him, his African-ness had been diluted with some of the Westernised psychology of human behaviour and treating other fellow human beings as nothing more than objects. The respect he showed towards me with longing eyes for the duration of the cruise was very evident.
The talking became more joyful and loud on the ship and the alcohol kept flowing from the front of the deck….whereas the rear of the deck was very deep, reflective, thoughtful and holding a heavy feeling of trauma in response to the information which had just been shared of the absolute callous manner in which the African people treated and what they endured.

As we left the Port to walk back to the pick-up coaches, I observed a few natives sitting nearby the sellers, but not saying anything, just sitting and watching. When I enquired as to who they were, apparently they were Egyptians who were waiting for an opportunity to steal fish from the fishermen. Theft is still continuing? At this point, I sighed and just took it for what it was.

Back in the bus, the Brits had a few too many to drink and they were talking loud and suggested that they all put a point on a website about how they felt to be emotionally blackmailed out of their money in this tour to pay the natives and their children. They went on, and on and on and….on. At no point was there any regard to any of the history we had seen….there was a real sense of detachment to the horrendous genocide which had taken place and how the African people may be feeling at the end of the excursion on the coach. I felt my heart racing. ‘keep calm’ I told myself. But I felt myself getting warm and burning up inside….how could I possibly sit with this feeling and not release it.
‘Erm, excuse me, I do need to say this before I leave the coach to return to my hotel. Thank you first and foremost to the tour guides for presenting this information of real, uncensored history. It may not occur to some of you on the coach that the content had had a direct emotional effect on how we are feeling as Africans because this is our direct ancestors and there are a lot of feelings of grief and disbelief within us at this time. Thank you dear Kings for being so sensitive throughout the tour and sewing the seed of history which are not written in the history books and is certainly not explained or taught within our national curriculum at school in the UK. Once again, I thank you and I hope you all have a good evening’. At this point you could hear a pin drop. Silence and peace. A mark of respect for those who had lost their lives in such a way.
‘See you at the airport tomorrow and have a good evening’ one of the ladies said to break the silence.
Thank you and you also.

We owe it to our ancestors to break the silence, break those chains and release the Kings and Queens back into the peaceful and rich lives they once had in the beautiful soil of Africa. But with all the damage done, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, although I will still strive…it may not be in this lifetime to continue to speak up and promote equality amongst ALL people.

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Redundant , Recession, Robust, Recovery….

What do you mean, ‘there’s a recession?’. Well….says my Ego…I work harder than your average Joe Blogs and I’ve been working all my life! I would NEVER find myself in a situation of being out of work. Me? Unemployed? That’s a foreign language I clearly didn’t pick for my GCSE options!

The day and the manner in which I received ‘that letter’ on that dreaded day in October 2013 was the first day that my vocational life changed…..forever.

Voluntary redundancy, Compulsory redundancy, Bulk Redundancy, restructure, reapplying for posts….all the words read gobbaldy goop on the page.
I remember bursting into laughter! Nervousness? Embarrassment? Shame? Maybe. At the time my laughter came from the fact that I was in the second day of my month-long annual fast that I partake in with my church. I laughed because all I could think of was ‘Satan, is this the best you can do?’
My colleagues and some friends became concerned with my reaction because it did not meet the ‘norm’ reaction of anger, sadness, rage, despair, panic….you get my drift.
Well….no, that did not seem fitting for me because at that moment I felt a release. As if my shackles had been loosened allowing just enough space for me to be set FREEEEEEE!
It was at this point that my tears came…..and they came…..and to my clinical supervisor, they came down like burst water pipes…uncontrollably exhilarating! I exhaled…..for the first time I inhaled the smell of the cold, steel mist surrounding these heavy institutionalised walls. I’d been trapped here for nearly 6 years indeed. But more symbolically, I had been trapped ‘here’ since I was 16 years old!!!!! Work, work and work some more was a constant message drummed into my head and my whole being from as far back as I can remember. ‘Be the best you can be’; ‘Reach for the stars’; ‘Keep excelling your previous highest standards’….all internal affirmations I had created from my existence in this concrete jungle rat race (for those who know me, excuse the pun). And for what? To make a ‘brand’ successful and rape you of your efforts, strong work ethics, work-life balance, inner-child playtime and self regulation?
I returned to my neutral position and began to logically transcend into my new life within my new-found self.
My priority? The service-users, the children and young people I had been honoured to be a part of their developmental journeys, the parents and families I met along the way, my existential family network within the staff team both within the institution and externally…..I needed to demonstrate my love to them by going against the grain of the institution and expressing my love and sincerity for each and every one of them. Time consuming some would say….but not for me. It was the best thing….it was my ‘thing’ to do.
Once those wheels were in motion….the magic happened before my very eyes. All the years before, I had been the rock, the ears, the Kleenex, that hug, the reassurance…..but now I became drained and in need. Would you believe that it was those ‘service users’ ; in particular, the children who healed me and reenergised me throughout this treacherous time? They created pictures, gave me hugs, slipped messages under my door, sat in silence with me, cried with me, enquired about my working future, joked with me and, inevitably, loved me.

So….back to my laugh in response to my redundancy letter….the Lord was with me and He reassures an anxious soul. It was He who took my burdens into His hands and assured me that He had it in hand and ensured that I took rest.
I cannot express the external turmoil, the toxic and unhelpful institutionalised flaws and insensitivity at this time which surrounded myself and the numerous members of staff who were in the same predicament….but I know this….my Faith was taken further unto a deeper level.

Redundancy, Restructure and Robust Recovery…..will Rejuvenate and Renew….not in Real Time, but all in God’s time.

Hang in there and hang on to Faith and Hope….it’s one big roller coaster which ensures a definite…..Exit and Entry into a new felt self filled with endless possibilities! So, in a time filled with uncertainty, ensure that your ability to have Faith is your certain reality. Be calm and fearless….great things are ahead! Don’t only take it from me, but from He.

That is all.

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Child’s Play

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So the World and their relatives seem to be on the growing social media networks, whether it’s Facebook, Intagram, Twitter, Tumblr, What’s App….you get my drift.
Now, don’t get me wrong, these means of light entertainment whilst commuting or lounging keeps us filled with insight, thoughts, laughter, memoirs and love…..especially when the material is so moving that we forget where we are and that we are interacting with a technical device; not a real person 😆.
However, some of the videos that are being sent…..well not a few actually; there appears to be a barrage of video clips, blogs and pictures which instigate a lot of inappropriate and disturbing mild porn and child pornography.

Now…..what types of people do you know? I’m sure you are thinking.
The regular Joe Blogs…..that’s what is disturbing.
I didn’t quite get how disturbing these visuals and extracts were playing up in my emotions and the emotions of others until I saw a clip yesterday which showed a young boy, about six years old, gyrating on an older woman/girl whilst she was dancing provocatively in front of him. He’s 6! (or thereabouts)
After the first 3 seconds, I ended the clip and deleted it because it suddenly dawned on me that what I was seeing was disturbing and worrying. I cast my mind back to the various images I had been sent or which appeared on my newsfeed over the years….
– children as young as three dancing in a very sexually inviting way….from twirking to flicking their ‘bits’ to sticking their tongues out – all with a sexual connotation attached
– young children (girls and boys) dancing together like two grown ups in a dark-lit club mimicking nothing less than dry sex
– Minnie Mouse at a children’s party twirking for the children ….. The children are no older than 7 years old and parents jeering the dancer on
– children’s beauty pageants whereby the girl is coated in make up and beauty accessories and dressed in a skimpy outfit performing a dance for the ‘adults’.

All of this seemed very harmless to me over the years, but after seeing the clip I was sent yesterday, I became alarmed. Not just at the image, but alarmed at myself for actually not recognising or acknowledging this distasteful means of ‘entertainment’ years before.
I feel as though this myriad of inappropriate material has been gently groomed onto these sites for our adult entertainment, whilst explicitly jeopardising the safety and safeguarding of these children who have been coerced into these acts by adults. The sad thing is, the more we view these sites, the more ‘Likes’ they acquire…the more in demand they become.
As controversial as it may sound, what makes these types of viewings any different from watching child pornography? The fact that we are becoming immune to children being inappropriately exposed in this way makes us no different from the pedophiles of this world.
I would just like to invite you all to be vigilant at what you are watching and reading….is it healthy? Is it offensive? If someone was to look through your devices – would there be cause for concern?
To those who are sending these vids….a lot of the time, innocently, why not ask them to think about this form of ‘entertainment’……how entertaining is it to watch a child in this way? Once we all become more assertive and tuned into this ‘dark’ side of the social media network, we can empower and educate ourselves and others. That is all.

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