Tag: childhood

Sounds of my childhood…

 

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Bob Nester Marley

 

I remember Friday evenings and Saturday mornings as days when my parents would play their select reggae LPs. I can picture those two dancing and having a good time and that is one of my fondest childhood memories. It was always a reggae party at my house (minus the marijuana, of course).  The sounds of Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Jimmy Cliff, and others, practically raised me at the same time my parents did.

Music is a form of socialization and it does so in ways we often take for granted. Most reggae songs were and still are a form of silent protest against the brutality of the Jamaican government. There is a whole history of reggae as a social movement Read it here. Although the origins of reggae music date way back into the 1960s, the culture of reggae and Rastafarianism has spread to the rest of the world. Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana are some of the few African countries that I know love reggae music. Zimbabwe saw the wave of reggae music after the visit to Zimbabwe by Bob Marley in 1980, reggae music,  almost every young person adopted the Rastafarian culture at the time (Source). Most reggae music writers emphasise, however, that this form of music should never be confused with dancehall music, and I definitely concur. I have nothing against dancehall music, but in my opinion, the essence of the message in reggae is kind of lost in the fast-paced rhythms of dancehall.

For me personally, reggae music represents freedom and spirituality. The message of love and unity resonates with each song I have listened to since I was a young girl. Even though it is the music of my childhood, I am still an avid reggae listener. I still love the old school reggae of my parents but also appreciate the contemporary sounds of Morgan Heritage, Etana, Sizzla, Luciano, Jah Cure, Beres Hammond, and Tarrus Riley (this list is not exhaustive, these are just some of my faves). I listen to Etana ~I rise on mornings when I need a pick-me-up I rise.

In my family, two of my siblings have dreadlocks and it was an accepted hairstyle without question because of the music we grew up listening to. Also, my parents were always really unconventional and non-conformist. Those of us who do not have dreadlocks always quote the Morgan Heritage song,

You don’t haffi dread to be rasta, this is not a dreadlocks thing, divine conception of the heart.

I must say though, that I have never been tempted to have dreads because my sister’s ones will put me to shame if I tried, plus the patience I definitely lack.

 

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my sister has had her dreads for 13 years now

 

We do not practice Rastafarianism as a religion in my family, but we love reggae music. I am not sure whether it was my parents’ plan for us to end up loving reggae the way they did, but we definitely adopted it. Of course, there was also Tracy Chapman and some jazz music my dad loved, but reggae was dominant and it stuck.

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I wonder what music my children will be listening to in their time, but I want them to know that their mother was raised on a solid and positive message of love, harmony, and freedom. I leave you with another Etana song which just gets to my soul…

Reggae

What kind of music was in your childhood and how has it shaped your adulthood taste in music or beliefs? Drop it below.

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Shedding off old skin…

When I began writing this post, I was feeling the changes in my life. I was feeling like a new person but could not really understand what was happening to me. I decided to leave the post as a draft, and now  months later; I came back to it. I think I understand the process of transformation that I went through the last few months and I am glad that I did not write about it prematurely, with limited understanding.

A few months ago, I CHANGED. And I am happy to say that these changes have been for the better. 2018 has truly been the year of transformation for me.  At first, I thought the change was temporary or fleeting and I would go back to the old me in no time…you know what we do at the beginning of each year with our “new year, new me goals”? I thought that was what I was going through at the time and didn’t think it would last.

I was loving myself; I was less tolerant of those who loved me wrong; I was restless because I knew I wanted more out of my life than what I had at that time. I could just feel change in the air and truly it came. I also thought maybe I was just aging and that is why I was starting to have a different perspective. But I soon got over that notion because…

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As I reflected, I realized that I have gone through so many changes in my life. These changes include physical changes e.g. changing my address twice in two years (country to country); changing responsibilities (childhood and dependency to  adulthood) and various career changes. However, the most difficult of my life changes have been changes in my personality, changes from childish behavior to maturity and changes in my spirituality. The 3rd decade of my life has been full of those changes and I resisted all of them at first.

What a joy it is to finally be comfortable in my transformation.

  • Accepting that I am a 30 something year old woman, who has gone through pain and disappointment but is still standing…
  • Thanking God for having lived to know that joy and happiness are attainable…
  • To finally say that my experiences have been lessons and actually mean it…
  • To not look at my past with pain, but with understanding of the kind of immaturity that may have brought some moments of displeasure
  •  Forgiving and moving on. This is so liberating.
I have realized, with great pleasure, that not all change is bad. With time it all makes sense.  The wonders of a life of reflection…
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Happiness….

Being happy is an option, a choice one makes. I have realized you cannot go through life waiting on other human beings to bring happiness into your life. So what is your job? Sitting there and waiting to receive happiness? I think that makes for an even sadder existence.

Granted life is not easy and yes there are times when one feels down, discouraged, sad, worried and anxious. These should be phases that pass and not a lifetime of unhappiness. It is actually okay to feel these feelings at times; sometimes the pressure to always be happy also in itself brings unhappiness. You might end up feeling the need to pretend to be happy and this is usually to please the outside world. This is not real happiness…

As I observe children in my place of work and see the simplicity of their lives I marvel at what causes that. I assume it is because they give all their worries for the adults in their lives to sort out. That would surely make me happy if someone else is solving all my problems for me. This is the beauty and innocence of childhood. Children do not claim to know it all and they can be quite content in being ignorant about what is going to happen tomorrow. They let the adults in their lives worry about that. This is why they can play for hours on end and they look so happy that I often get jealous just looking at them. Often I get the thought “if only I were a child again” but to be honest I cannot go back to all those bridges I have crossed growing up, the challenges of primary and high school. The experiences I have had are lifetime treasures.

Adulthood comes with responsibility and accountability that is a huge cause of stress. I still feel that being unhappy does not solve any problems. In actual fact it makes the situation worse; can cause depression, thoughts of suicide and antisocial behavior. So I choose to be happy; yes this is easier said than done but just writing about it is affirming this thought in my mind. The more positive my affirmations are, the more positive my outlook on life and the happier I am. You only get one shot at life, just one. So wasting it wallowing in misery is not something I want to do.

Here’s a few ways to be happy:

  • Do things that you love. Find out what your hobbies are if you do not know

  • Surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you and make you feel good about yourself

  • Try to live an honest life as lies do catch up and can make your life miserable

  • Take a walk and try not to be in closed spaces for long periods of time; fresh air and open spaces bring a lighter atmosphere.

  • Try to separate yourself from negativity as it highly contagious.

  • Stay healthy…a healthy body and healthy mind. Just to take good care of yourself because you owe it to yourself.

Now I am off to go and take my own advice. Stay happy!!!!