Sink or float

Good morning!

First of all, I am MELTING in this heat. Phew!!! Okay, so I was born and raised in Trinidad – an island almost ON the Equator – so I should be used to 30+ C temperatures every day, but damn. 

I don’t know if I’ve shared this before, but I can’t swim. Yes, I know I just said I was born and raised on an island, but the truth is that my dad grew up near the sea and is an amazing swimmer, but that talent had not been passed down to us. As children, we ALWAYS went to the very safe beach: no waves, not very deep. We did go to the beach often, but out of an abundance of caution, we were never allowed to venture out to swim. We would play on the shore under Mummy’s very watchful eye and one by one, my dad would take us out to the deep for 15 minutes. We would get dunked and just hang out there for a bit, but make no mistake, our tiny fingers were clenched around Daddy’s neck the whole time. After all six of us were washed and had our time, my dad would go out by himself for about 20 minutes and swim and float and just enjoy the water in a way someone who is absolutely comfortable with it is. My mum almost never went in.

I’ve never thought of that before – the fact that my dad is such a strong swimmer, yet none of us were taught how to swim. Hmmmm…the fact that we weren’t taught how to ride a bike either as children was also because we weren’t allowed to venture. Hmmm…very, very interesting.

I love the smell of introspection in the morning!

Flashforward 30 years and now I have my own son and I don’t know how to swim. Lame! Kidlet’s dad didn’t know how to swim either, so we decided that swimming was something that HAD to be learned. The next generation HAD to be better than ours, so from very early on, he was in swimming lessons.

It’s a strange feeling watching your small child do something that (frankly) scares you. I often wondered if I was holding him back. He would go to the pool, but I would have a super watchful eye on him (just like my Mum), making sure he didn’t go too far or didn’t lose his footing. I was overly cautious because as his mother, I knew fully well that if something were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to help him. So basically, my inability to swim (which is my own problem) had made him cautious of the water as well. Sigh. For a long time, this bothered me and we stopped going to the pool for a bit because the last thing I want to do is hold him back. Over time though, as he got more comfortable in the water, I did take him to the pool, but I would sit it out, letting him swim at his own pace and test his own boundaries while I watched him from the sidelines. I wanted him to trust his own ability and not let my fear literally drag him down.

Last night, he had swimming lessons. He had made it to Star Level 1, which is an intermediate level, and I promised him I would go down to the far end of the pool, which parents aren’t really allowed, to watch him. There was no seating, so I stood there for half an hour, watching my child, the fruit of my loins do laps in the full length pool effortlessly. He was a natural, swimming up and down, on his back, submerged, on his tummy, on his side. The pride in my heart was overwhelming. I hadn’t broken him! He loved it and despite my fear of the water, he was not afraid! I had a big smile on my face the whole time! As soon as he made it out of the pool, I said very exuberantly (and a little too loudly), “Wow! You’re amazing!” to which I was immediately and vigorously shushed! haha

He’s such an inspiration to me. Pushing himself past his circumstances at a very young age. I do credit myself with taking him to the pool often and getting out of his way, but ultimately, it would be easy for him to still be scared and cautious, but he pushed himself and that’s a testament to his developing character.

I don’t know if it was sign, but at the pool, right in the area where I was standing, what do you think was going on: adult swim lessons. There were four adults – three men and one 60+ woman – learning how to float. I could see the panic, I could see the distrust of the water and of themselves. I felt vindicated looking at them. I felt like saying, “See? It IS scary!!!” but then I looked over to Kidlet, flippers on, arms threading in and out of the water, swimming exclusively due to his own determination, I thought, “I can do it!”

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What if I didn’t what if?

Today, I want to share about fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of actually being happy, fear of a host of irrational things. Where does it come from? Why do we let it grab a hold of our dreams and not let go?

I’ve always been an overly cautious person, choosing to look at least three times before leaping. Most big and small decisions have to be met with at a series of ‘what if?” scenarios. I’m not one of those “F**K IT!” type of people. Of course, I wish I was, and I am working on it, but I often wonder what would happen if I just leapt. What would happen if I just did what I wanted to do without thinking of the what ifs?

Recently, I thought about an experience I had years ago. I had gone out with a new friend and a couple other women. We had not hung out socially before, but it was a birthday, I don’t drink and I was child-free, so I offered to be the designated driver. The music was great, the dance floor packed, I looked good, I felt good. I was having a great time! As the night wore on, though, the women I had come with found dance partners and I ended up wandering on my own. I might have looked lost or bored or something because while I was walking through the crowd, I felt a hand on my hand and a voice say, “Hey, you wanna dance?” Even in the dark, I could see what a great smile this guy had. I thought, “Hmmmmm…” I was bored, I couldn’t find my friends and I thought, “Well, I’m the driver, so really it’s up to them to find me! Ha!” so I started chatting with this young man.

The conversation was engaging. He was an engineer, originally from an African country (I forget which one) and he had a great smile. We chatted for a while and I too started smiling. All the while I was thinking, “This guy is cute, he’s engaging, he smells good.” I don’t know if it was the fact that I was basically alone in a sea of strangers or I was just enjoying the attention, but in that moment, I remember thinking, “If he tries to kiss me, I would let him.” I didn’t stop to think about the what ifs. I didn’t stop to think,

“Is he here with someone?”
“Is he single?”
“Would my friends think I was a hussy if they walked up and I was making out with this guy?”
“Is he boyfriend material?”
“Am I sweaty?”

None of that came to mind. The only thing I was thinking was wouldn’t it be nice to see what happens? I would never get to know what could have happened because my friend’s sister found me and needed me, so I ended up just exchanging numbers with him but I never saw him again.

I still think about that night as The Time I Didn’t What If. For once, I was willing to put aside all fears, irrational or otherwise, and just live in the moment and do what I wanted, do what felt good. For that one night, I was a f**k it kind of person. I just did what I wanted, not what I thought was the right thing to do. I probably should have gone looking for my friends and I probably shouldn’t have been entertaining the idea of taking that guy back to my car (EEEK!) but I didn’t stop myself. I didn’t give into the fear. Even today, telling this story, I don’t feel judgement of myself nor am I worried about your judgement of me. I don’t feel regret for thinking any of it. Isn’t that interesting?

The point of this experience is for me to remember that I am capable of just leaping and that not every decision should be dissected and overanalyzed and that sometimes you just have to do what feels good and forget about the fear and the what ifs. Actually, I should say, remember that what ifs also include:

“What if you do this thing and it’s the best thing that ever happened to you?”
“What if I get my heart broken?” What if I fall in love and stay in love?”
“What if this is the biggest mistake of my life?” What if this is the best decision I ever made?”
“What if I look horrible?” “What if no one actually cares what I look like today?”
“What if everyone is thinking about my muffin top?” “What if everyone is looking at my smile instead of what I’m wearing?”

I guess the only what if I should be asking is,

“What if I did it anyway?”

V

Soothing sunsets

Good morning!

I went to watch the sun set a few weeks ago and only just got around to posting pics. Betsy’s at it again!

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I'm not sharing unless you ask nicely :P

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. I’m not sharing unless you ask nicely.

I was looking at these pics again and I think I’m finally getting the hang of relaxation. That evening was very simple. We threw some simple food in a bag, grabbed a blanket and went right after work – maybe it was the person I was with or the time of year or the kind of day I had at work or the warmer temperature or a combination of any of these things, but that evening stands out in my recent memory as one of peace. It was either the wind blowing off of the water that soothed me or the slow, hypnotizing descent of the sun as it headed toward the horizon, but looking at these pics makes me feel to take a deep exhale.

On another note, I think I’m going to post again this week. I have something on my mind BUT it’s supposed to be mid/high teens degrees C (sixty-ish degrees F) this week and I would much rather be outside frolicking 😛 Seriously, though, I have to share this thing and get it off my chest, so standby.

Have a good next few days. Stay out of trouble or get into trouble: whichever makes you happier. ❤

V

Through my own eyes

Good morning everyone!

Do you think when you look at yourself you see yourself through the eyes of someone else? When you make your decisions, do you subconsciously let others weigh in?

I’ve always said if it wasn’t for my mother being who she was, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. She was always in my corner boosting me up and letting me know that I could do anything. Sure, there were times when her advice was misguided because she feared for me and my well-being. Our opinions differed only because as a mother she wanted to protect me and I wanted to take risks. Now that I am a mother myself, I get that. She always let me know that I was smart, she let me know that I was beautiful and that I had many things to offer. She let me know that I was worth something and that I was a prize. Hearing that all through my life gave me confidence, it gave me strength, it made me stand up for myself and it also made others treat me the way she saw me.

You teach people how to treat you.

It’s only now, when she is no longer here, I see the fact that for a long time, I had been looking at myself through her eyes. My kindness and gentleness, my sense of fairness and generosity, my loyalty and honesty are all things that she wanted me to be, what she thought me to be and I manifested that and became all those things. Over the years, I had become that woman.

Interestingly enough, while I had a voice in my heart telling me how to be a good person, there were also other voices creeping in with disparaging words; words that told me that I am other things too. In the past, there was someone in my life through whose eyes I also saw myself and the Vikera I saw was not so good. The Vikera I saw was lazy, loud, aggressive, overly talkative, too smart, a mediocre mother, cheap, naive, a little bit stupid and overly ambitious. I saw myself through that person’s eyes for a long time and it took its toll on me.

Over time, I started to believe those things, in varying degrees. My mother had created such a strong foundation that this other stuff couldn’t possibly be true, but for pockets of time, I did question if I talked too much, I did think that I could be a better mother, I did wonder if I should dampen my rambunctious, vivacious personality. I realized that I started looking at myself through that person’s eyes.

Isn’t that strange?

Luckily for me, though, over time, I started looking at myself through my own eyes: a skill that took A LONG TIME to get a handle on. It took a long time to start looking at myself objectively and judging myself and my actions based on the person I wanted to be not who someone else thought I was.

I do not judge my actions based on what others think about me. I judge my actions based on what is right and fair to others.

This circles back to how strongly I feel about the media and body image and all of that stuff. This comes back to all these forces in our lives telling us things about ourselves that we may not necessarily buy into but before you know it, we start believing it and repeating it. We start looking at ourselves through others’ eyes – others who do not have our best interest at heart, others who don’t know who we are, others who try to hurt us, others who are not trying to build us up. We have to be vigilant, we have to be aware. We have to think if our opinions are actually our opinions or if we are voicing or thinking someone else’s.

I do like my rambunctious personality, I am hella smart, I am definitely loud and funny, I can be lazy. I am a wonderful mother. I hate doing dishes and laundry. I can do anything. I have thick thighs. I am a procrastinator. My wit is everything! I can be too generous sometimes. I am loyal. I love hard. I snore.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

All in all, I’m not perfect, but I’m fucking awesome and will only get better! <— That’s me looking at myself through my own eyes and I look goooooood!

Have a great day guys! ❤

V

Plan B

Morning!

Kidlet and I went to the drugstore last week. When I pulled into the stall, I hadn’t seen the box nor did I see it when I came out of the car to go into the store. It was when I was walking back to it, I noticed the blue box on the ground.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Do not copy without asking, please.

For those who are not aware, Plan B is emergency contraception. Apparently if the condom broke or you have unprotected sex or you forgot to take the pill, you just pop this puppy and no diapers and university tuition for you!

I saw the box and it reeked of desperation and anxiety. I didn’t get close enough to see the actual teeth marks, but it looked like there might have been some on it. She probably swallowed it with no water either, with one foot on the ground and the other in the car then tossed out the evidence and, with shaky hands and a prayer, backed out of the parking spot and on with her life.

Plan B. Hmm…what a concept!

When you’re young, you think you will have full control over the life you want. Sure, some people at a very young age, decide what they want to be or where they want to live or who they want to share their lives with, and they bring that into fruition. It’s an amazing thing – to make your dreams materialize. For the rest of us, we have to carve out our lives day by day, not knowing what the hell is going to happen next. Our whole lives are a series of plans – in no particular alphabetic order. How many times do we think we know how something’s going to go or what’s going to happen only to be thrown completely off track? Some of us don’t get to take a magic pill to keep us on track!

If only all your bad decisions and things you regret can be washed away by a pill bought over the counter mere hours after your poor choices. Wouldn’t that be lovely? It just does not work that way. All your choices are a sum total of who you are a person and they all direct your destiny. Even if this woman was able to avoid pregnancy, her life will be changed by the “close call” at the very least. Almost getting pregnant if you don’t want to be is sobering, especially if it’s by Random Guy. Perhaps that experience, once reflected on, will lead to self- discovery…or not.

I don’t know, but sometimes the more I think I can control my life, the less I see I have actual control. Everything that happens to me these days I take in stride. I try not to get carried away and freak out because in the end, not every situation has a Plan B box that I can just rip open and swallow and get on with my life, not even bothering to dispose of the wrapping. Sometimes I get a second chance. Sometimes I don’t. That’s just the way it goes…

I’ve just embarked on a new journey fraught with uncertainty and excitement. My heart and mind tell me to have a Plan B tucked away just in case, but the reality is that now that I’ve embraced the fact that life will do its own thing and we don’t get our script until it’s too late to change it, I’m much more relaxed about stepping forward. Sure, things could happen that I probably won’t like or enjoy, but it’s all part of living.

So I go forward, with an open heart and mind, a smile on my face and only Plan A in my back pocket!

V

Calm the f*** down!

Yesterday I was what someone I knew considered to be ‘freaking out’ about something and he just said to me ever so calmly, “Why don’t you just calm the f*** down?” The words arrested me. They stopped me in my tracks. After that bucket of cold water had washed over my anxiety, I said to him, “Thanks! I needed to hear that!” Okay, so it’s not commonplace for me to be talked to like that but I certainly wasn’t offended by any means. I think there are times when we let our thoughts take hold and begin a whirlwind and we need to hear, “STOP!”

Any time I think about thoughts going too far, I ALWAYS think about the Las Vegas experience. It happened years ago, but I still think about that as an example of me needing to calm the f*** down!

A guy I was seeing for a few months had a trip planned to Vegas with his best friend. I’ve never been an insecure girlfriend/wife, so I didn’t really mind. I wished him a good time and off he went to Sin City for four days, I think it was.  I got texts from him the morning of, on the way to the airport, while he was waiting to board and a couple when he got there. Then I got nothing! I didn’t think much of it. I’ll be the first to talk about roaming charges, so I thought he was being smart. Then the second day passed. Still nothing. I had texted him, but got nothing in return. Then ensued the worrying. “Did he get there? Is he okay? Did he meet someone else? Why hadn’t I heard from him?” I slowly started working myself up. I’m not going to lie to you. I called his hotel in Vegas. Oh yes, I did. Turns out, the hotel had never heard of him OR his best friend. Then I really started to freak out. I started questioning if he really did go to Vegas and if not, where the heck was he?

Day Three: nothing.

On the fourth day, I get a message from him on Facebook. “Hi babe, I lost my phone in Vegas. Call my work. I don’t know how to get a hold of you.” Turns out, he lost his phone on the first day – first day Vegas shenanigans, of course. The room was in his friend’s friend’s name – they had gotten some deal or something, which, of course I didn’t know. Also, nobody knows anyone’s phone number by heart anyway, so how else would he have gotten a hold of me except through Facebook?! All I remember was thinking at the time, “That makes sense. Duh!” Compounded with the fact that I have NEVER had any trust issues AT ALL where he was concerned, so it wasn’t even rational. After talking with him and him stressing out about having to get a new phone, I realized I was long overdue for a “Why don’t you just calm the f*** down?” I just couldn’t let my mind run away with itself. Geez!

If you remember my banana bread story, you’ll know I have anxiety issues, so when I’m told to smarten up, it helps me put things in perspective. I need more of that in my life.

Why can’t I just sleep…..

….and dream about being chased my monsters like regular people?

Yesterday morning, I woke up in a really frustrated mood. I don’t know why. Sometimes, I find things fester in my mind overnight, so by the time I wake up, I’m stirred up nice and good. I lay there in bed after waking up thinking about my life. I was thinking that no matter how busy I get or how good I feel or how happy I am, about 5% of myself feels lonely and has a deep longing to share my life with someone special. It’s always there. Thankfully, it’s not a feeling that supersedes my enjoyment and I’m able to (thus far) live in the moment and don’t start thinking in ‘what ifs’. Then I sighed.

When I get in that pensive mood, more often than not, I start thinking about the usual. I think, how is this all going to work? What if I do fall madly in love with a man and he doesn’t fully appreciate all that I have to offer? I’ve heard many stories about women being taken for a ride. Stories where strong, confident women who have been single for a while, finally meet someone they connect with and these men walk in, take what they want and leave behind disillusion and disappointment. Then I got mad. I thought in my best Trini accent, “I can’t be waiting so long for a man for him to come in here and play the fool!”

What resulted from my 15-minute pondering was this FB status:

I hope it is crystal clear that I’m not looking for a man just to make up numbers at the dinner table. I’m looking for a partner, friend and a damn hard worker!

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love and maintaining respect and trust is what will separate the men from the boys. Men work. Boys play.

I think the more I wait, the more pressure there is for things to go smoothly. I don’t just want a partner, I want a GOOD partner and I’m worried that there’ll be too much pressure when the time comes. As I said, I go on living my life, raising Kidlet, going to work, spending time with friends, writing, playing, LIVING, but under it all, there’s a soft hum of anticipation and anxiety. I try not to worry about the future, but it happens. I’m just glad it doesn’t happen all the time. Usually, something happens to trigger a cascade of emotions and then it’s gone.

What I know to be true is that I can’t fabricate a person, I can’t MAKE someone compatible fall in love with me, I can’t stop wanting a partner, but I also can’t pretend that I’m perfectly fine on my own, so I wait.