Another Victim of Vehicular Homicide Just Buried Under Complacency And Old School Bullshit by Fayemarie Anderson Carter


Ken Emmanuel

Ken Emmanuel was one of them, a Police Constable who risked his life in service to his people everyday. But instead of justice being sought for his death, the “good old boys club” is wielding its influence and he is just another dead black boy not worth worrying about. I mean who is going to demand justice in his name? His dad and his mom are already dead. I don’t know where his granny, Ms. Gwennie is or even if she is alive still…He’s just a no count nobody right? After all, this Mr. Carlos Santos is a pillar of the community. Everybody loooooves him. He is such nice man.

I didn’t want to have to talk about this because when it comes to Kenny, his life has always been difficult and I knew that it would just bring back a flood of memories and feelings. You see, Kenny is my cousin. I was there when his mother Arlene Kuylen met his father. She was a tragic figure herself, an illegitimate child for my Uncle Eric Kuylen, (he died during my 4th and my brother’s 1st joint birthday party) being raised with her brother “AK”by our spinster Aunt Olive Kuylen. She was brown and poor; her cousins, rich and white. When I was three, we went to live with them while my father studied in Jamaica.  I was the passport when she went to meet Kenny’s father. She would tell my aunt that she was taking me for a “walkabout” when really she was meeting him. She was giggly and happy, in love. When she got pregnant, I was there stroking her hair as she cried because my aunt was yelling and cussing. I remember her squeezing me so tight I couldn’t breathe but I didn’t dare tell her because I loved her so much. (Yes, I do have memories from waaay back…I remember crawling on the black and white floors in the house in Jamaica. It can be a curse and a blessing.)

But of course, everyone got over it and Kenny was Christmas and random visits in the evening on the farm. His father died when Kenny was very young from complications of diabetes. They moved away and the visits became far and few. But that didn’t mean we didn’t know about Kenny. We all worried about Kenny because his step father was a very violent man. A few times, Arlene would run to us to get away from him. But she would go back so we tried to be there for Kenny even if indirectly. She and my mom were very close so that eventually when she moved to Belize City, my mom was able to get her a job working for her uncle at HL’s Burger. When I was in sixth form I would visit her and get my $2 burger. My paternal grandmother made sure she sent Kenny clothes and shoes and of course, candy. Bless her heart. When Kenny was 17, he met us again and it was like the first time because he did not remember us at all. He was ecstatic to find out who “his people” were. He went to the cayes and got to be a “Kuylen” for the first time in his life.

We lost contact after that because we moved out of the country so all we knew was the violent deaths of his mother and sister. It’s funny how murder can separate rather than bring you together but that is what happened. We drifted apart because of the pain…and Kenny went on to live his own life, we, ours.

And now this.

I don’t want to unfairly accuse Mr. Carlos Santos if this truly was an accident and he really did get blinded by the light and hit Kenny. If that is all to it then so be it. What I don’t want is a shitty investigation because Mr. Carlos Santos is a prominent member of his community and married to George Price’s niece. Rumours are flying about that he wasn’t even driving; that his daughter was and he is taking the blame. Another rumour is that he was drinking and driving….

I don’t “know” this…it is “yeriso”. But I am putting you people on notice. He deserves only the most thorough investigation done on his behalf. He was a police officer for god’s sake. One of you. It is what you do as brothers and sisters in this very special family. And while it is sad that an old man is the offender, if he were negligent or if he is lying on behalf of his daughter, they both need to be charged. Kenny was a person, a human being. He had family who loved him his whole life. He mattered.

R.I.P. Kenny

Links to Kenny’s story:

http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/71489

http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=22665&frmsrch=1

http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=12652

It’s My Birthday Bitchezzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! My Favourite Gift So Far by Fayemarie Anderson Carter


Life Is Divine

 

When Aria posted her “ramblings” I was like nahuh….I’m not doin’ daaaaat! But birthdays have a funny way of making you reflect and so here we are.

I couldn’t have anticipated much of what has occurred in my life…it vaguely resembles what I had planned, more like a Monet or a van Gogh…you know they are flowers but you nevah saw no flowers that looked like that! LOL

As I moved through life, from child to teen, to young adult and now what I consider my “conquering the world” adult years, the way I tell my story has changed. As a child, my life was points on a line: first this, then this, then that. And in relaying it to others, there was a sort of unspoken competition as to who had the worst, or most interesting thing happen to them. So, it was about being born in one place, moving a bunch of times, catholic school, getting stitches, ruined birthdays, Santa Claus, caye trips, death, car accidents, visits to family in faraway places, mean teachers and strict parents. I knew that much of my experience was traumatic and as such had an impact on my attitudes, beliefs and decisions I made. I was aware of that much at least. So, I acted from a place of “I’m not going to do anything that will get me into trouble and make my life more complicated”.

That sounded like a good plan but it didn’t work. Emphatic FAIL. I became an over achiever, a perfectionist, succeeding pretty much at every challenge I undertook which sounds awesome but I was an anxious worry wort, always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. And while it is prudent and wise to be cautious, it is crippling to the soul to be in the grips of fear. That was what I truly was, in the grips of fear. I told myself that I was being smart, being prepared, avoiding mistakes with dire consequences. But the truth was, I was hiding from life. I had to come to believe, not all by myself, of course, in a devastating untruth. You know the one: if you work hard, great will be your reward? And so I did. I avoided the pitfalls such as experimenting with drugs, breaking the law, getting pregnant, failing out of school. But along with that was a great avoidance of many other things and before you know it, I had backed myself into a dark little corner. So afraid was I of being vulnerable and failing that I rejected new adventures, developing my talents, even friendships and I demanded utmost integrity and loyalty from those I did let in.

This behaviour created great dissonance. See, that is not me. Inherently, I am a dare devil. I am a fighter at heart and this role I was trying to embody was too safe, too perfect and absolutely unattainable, at least, by me. I was trying to be  Brie Van de Camp and while I have some similar qualities, there is so much to me that is in direct opposition to Brie. And thank god cause seriously, she is one messed up chick 🙂 and uhm she lives on tv. LOL  To get beyond this self imposed prison of Briedom, there was something I had to do first. I had to accept I was not Brie. Ok, now what? ARGHHHHHH! Ruuuuuuuuun! My real self is tooooooo much! She is loud! She is foul mouthed! She loves Kathy Griffin! She doesn’t care about being thin! (WTH?) She likes pizza! And sex! And wild children! And gay people! And COLOURS: Burnt orange and teal!  O yeah, and she doesn’t believe in god…hmmmm. And she just might be a democrat… o gosh!

It took years and years of lots of painful reflection, stop-starts,  denial- confrontation,  to get here. It was not easy at all and there were moments when I wondered if all this was really worth it. I mean, couldn’t I just go on with life, prescribed and just put one foot in front of the other, miserable but knowing where I was going? But, my inner fighter demanded more. She knew I could do better and I knew that if I listened and tried again and again, I just might be happy for the first time in my life. Besides, having two girls made it impossible to give up because I wanted better for them and the only way I could do that was if I started being/doing better myself.

See…acceptance is way bigger than what we think it is. Sure, we know what it means. It means to surrender, acknowledging a reality and not attempting to change it. Hmmmmmmm….I have said many, many, many, many, many (you get my point) times that I accept something but then found out I really hadn’t. I would find myself rehashing things in my mind, thinking of what I could do different or how I could get the other person to “see” my point, hoping against hopes of hopes that magically everything would be ok and these people would say sorry and spend the rest of their lives making it up to me… LMAO…buwhahahaha….I can laugh boisterously now but for so long, it was definitely NOT funny.

Part of it was just lack of experience…I was just not old enough to know that some things just are and they stay that way. Some of it was a need to have everyone I love, love me back. And then there was the impossible standard I set for myself that I could get anyone to at least respect my views, feelings etc even if they didn’t agree. I never really took into account that others are not like me, that they have different values and gifts and levels of understanding, compassion etc….I “knew” it intellectually but I didn’t ACCEPT it. And as such, I set up myself for a lot of repeated scenes in the same act of the same play, never really moving to the next phase…Today, I think I am there.

This is truly the best gift I could have ever given myself: the gift of self acceptance. It takes a lot to accept. It is rejecting ideas passed on to you; societal expectations; familial pressures; history. It is admitting that those, who taught you the rules of life, were wrong. It is saying goodbye to old things that no longer apply, those things that can not be relevant if one is to embrace the future and the promise of things being different. You can’t hold on to the pain of the past, if you want to truly feel the pleasure of the present. You can’t fret about the mishaps and mistakes of the past if you hope to achieve true fulfillment in the future.

It felt risky. It was very scary for me to let go of all that I knew and to go searching for that which was unknown to me. There was no guide, no older, wiser leader showing me the way. I had to stumble and fall, stumble and fall some more till I thought I would just lay there and give up. I broke down all that  had made me feel like me before, brick by brick, till there was nothing left and then brick by brick I rebuilt, not a wall around me, but a giant stage for me to stand on 🙂

I have come a long way and I know there are still more things to find out and accept and it will be difficult at times. As a matter of fact, I was challenged just a few days ago and I was knocked sprawling to the ground. I slipped into old patterns of responding by internalizing and acting angry and hateful, playing the nasty words over and over in my head till they became my words. Then I gave myself a stern talking to and reminded myself that that was not me anymore. And I had to accept yet something else, that I still will not always be prepared and I will do the wrong thing; but, now I’m not so scared and I am not worried about laughing at myself when I take things too seriously and end up failing spectacularly. I accept and forgive and accept and forgive myself some more. And the more I do it, the freer I become and happier I feel. I am not going to be a famous doctor or actress or whatever the hell else society considers success and I accept it. I have a different definition and I accept it. I am good enough, today. And I accept that.

Daily Dingleberry 04-25-12 The Great Equalizer


No Escape

In life, they were mortal enemies. In death, they lay side by side for such is the great equalizing force of DEATH.

There is much controversy surrounding the deaths of rival gang leaders Pinky and Arthur Young…Some are vehemently unsympathetic while others seem to be almost trying to turn them in to martyrs.

What are the lessons we should be learning? Are they being lost in all the anti-government/anti-police sentiment?

Let’s remember something: when you choose the lifestyle, you choose the consequences. It is sad. People will die. There will be violence. People will mourn.

My brother’s best friend who grew up like a brother in our household, was a drug dealer. He crossed the wrong people and he was beaten and then set on fire…he left behind a young son who I have never seen again. I assume he and his mother are in hiding. I was so angry with him for doing this to himself, his family, our family and it was right before my wedding….HORRIBLE….that was not even the end of the story…other people died, went to jail, were deported…lives were destroyed and families were torn apart.

I know first hand, the life of drugs and gangs. When they have met what seems to be an inevitable end, we, who are left behind, have to deal with the pain and sorrow, threats and fear of retaliation.

I can only hope that the youth who are watching and learning, see that in the end, there is only one end.

The Event from the Book, The Eddy, A Collection of Short Stories by Our Featured Artist, Henry W Anderson, MBBS, JP


 

The Event

The family walked slowly through the door, one behind the other, leaving the semi-darkness of the closed house for the bright sunshine which bathed the small town . They would not wait on me anymore. Of course, it was not important that they had left. It wouldn’t have been important either if they had stayed. I was satisfied, however, that they had left for I wanted to ne alone for a short time before leaving the dark house. At least, I thought I did.

I combed my hair looking intently at the reflection in the bathroom mirror. I was growing old. The lights beside the mirror highlighted the shadows on my face and accentuated the grey hair, rapidly replacing the black. First, there had been lines. Those were also being rapidly being replaced by furrows and pain had replaced the former bold lustre in my eyes.

I straightened my collar, passing my finger easily between it and my neck. I opened a button. I was not going to wear a tie. I adjusted my shirt in my pants and pulled the belt in another notch. I wondered momentarily  if my clothes were appropriate but shrugged my shoulders admitting that I really didn’t give a damn. I walked into the adjoining bedroom, and sat on the edge of the bed. My only pair of shoes was unpolished and dusty. I dusted them lethargically with my socks. They still unpolished and dusty. I knew I should polish them , but again, I just didn’t give a damn. I returned to the bathroom and slowly polished them with a rag. Now, they looked shiny and old.

The church bell sounded muffled. I knew I should not be late, but lately, I was always late. Being late or early would certainly not make a difference today. In that respect, I knew I was right. It could be put down to my eccentricity. I smiled but it was a smile that remained deep inside of me so it did not light up face nor did it brighten my eyes.

I wondered if I should have a cup of tea. I always liked a cup of tea in the early evening. I walked over to the kitchen and looked through one of the half closed louvered windows and saw the church steeple. I hesitated. Years of discipline in the Colonial Public Service still fought a weakening battle with me. Perhaps, I should go. I lit the stove and stood beside it until the kettle whistled . I turned it off and walked towards the door.

I put the bug padlock on the door and locked out the bright sunshine from filling what had become a gloomy closed box. I placed my shiny old shoe against the bottom of the door which was now beginning to rot. I knew that soon, the rot would spread upward and the door would have to be replaced. At least, the door could be replaced. I had scuffed my shoe, dimming its lustre.

“Fuck.” I said it not particularly loudly but not softly either. No one was gonna hear me anyway. They had all left and were already at the event. And anyway, if anyone had heard, I just couldn’t, wouldn’t give a damn.

I walked down the stairs. The rails and treads were beginning to rot too. Rot seem to be only definite thing in life. Adjacent to the last tread  was a hibiscus plant. Each peach colored flower is as big as a dinner plate. Each one is alive, beautiful and soft. I was tempted to pick and take it with me but I knew that immediately after removing it , the flower is dead , rotting, dismal decay setting in. I hated the dead, the rotten. I especially hated the young dead , premature rotting. I hated the whole process of decay.

I passed more flowers, alive and beautiful, all of them. I entered the street. I averted my gaze from the open garbage box with its dead things and more rotting rot. I walked slowly, feeling the rocks through the  worn out, thin  soles of my only pair of shoes. Friends and relatives pass me in their cars, They toot their horns. Rolled up windows act as claustrophobic enclaves enabling them to keep in the cool air and keep out the heat, the dust and passers-by. I nod my head or smiled at their closed up windows. I gesticulate dismissively and send them on their way. They did not want to be late and I didn’t want to be with them.

As I tentatively approach the church, I hear the singing, the piano and the guitars. The bells no longer rung. The mass had begun. A few people were standing outside as usual. I never could understand that. Why go to church just to stay outside? On a special occasion like today, it was what was happening on the inside that was important. I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t give a damn anyway.

I dipped my right hand into the holy water cistern and made the sign of the cross and walked towards the pew where my family sat. They had saved a small space for me in the packed church. The mixed smell of cheap perfume, expensive perfume, colognes, moth balls and humans made me nauseous I looked up to the high ceiling. As the many voices rose, I was given a hymnal and I started to sing. I lost myself in the ceremony. Then quite suddenly, I was jerked back to reality of the occasion. Church bells pealed their mournful song. The mass was over. Six young men carrying a young man in a coffin passe me.

 

I said solemnly, “Fuck boy…this should have been your wedding.”