Category Archives: history

Move Like a Ninja

We have all heard the saying-  “You can’t trust everybody with everything” or “everything ain’t for everybody,” and yet, out of guilt, fear or just talking too diggety dang much, we often shoot ourselves in the foot by over sharing goals and dreams with the wrong people.

The painful lessons that results from said over sharing, often comes in the form of losing friends who despise your drive and determination, and counter it with negativity and intended sabotage of your dreams and goals.

So what are we to do?
Learn to move like a ninja. 
How you say?

Allow me to elucidate.

I am fiercely protective and careful of that which is near and dear to me. My children’s names are not uttered online, I almost never share the scope and depth of my work and most importantly, that man I now call husband was a phantom for the entire 5 years I dated him.

I wrote and spoke about him all the time but he was known as the mysterious “Mister.” It became pretty easy to see who the ones would be to quickly judge and began whispering behind my back (so they thought) that he didn’t exist and one very brave somebody, called my mother and told her I was  making up stories about some non existent man.

By the time I unveiled my man and on my own terms, it was exactly 30 days before we got married. Mouths were dropping all over the place because all the assumptions that abound were dead wrong.

People are always looking to criticize that which they refuse to put their own work into. Relationships, careers, raising families and simply being a decent human being, takes WORK.

I have also experienced putting my entire neck on the line to help large swaths of folks only for me to keep getting feedback that some people thought this and that about me. I had to shut that mess down because if the people bringing the bones to bury me didn’t have enough sense to shut that down, they didn’t deserve to be in my most sacred of spaces.

As a direct result, I continue to move like a ninja in certain aspects of my life because I know not everyone will be happy that I work my fingers to the bone to enjoy the fruits/rewards.

And do not allow people to guilt you into dragging them like luggage to  your fruits party. They too must work hard and sacrifice something or you take their rocks out your bags and lay them gently to the side.

So what are you over sharing in your spaces sacred or otherwise? Take inventory, see who the detractors are and then cease and desist. Your very success or failure, may depend upon it.

Because love bugs, everything truly ain’t for everybody.

Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Squatty potty 

So  I think my husband is over me. But I swear, I am slowly becoming my fathers child with embracing all that is natural for our human bodies.
In that order, I quietly got this thing below and when it came yesterday and I removed it from the box, he looked at me like 😳😳😳

What is it you ask? 

It’s called a squatty potty.

You simply put it at the based of your potty and hoist your legs to use it as you handle your necessary business.

I gently explained the instructions were on it and only western civilization embraces sitting the other way which leads to colon cancers and blockages.  

Again he looked at me like I lost my marbles but undaunted, I set it up in the bathroom.

This morning after taking his shower, he says to me, “my darling wife, I love you with all my heart but I cannot get my legs high enough to use that contraption, so I guess I’m going to stay uncivilized and do this the regular way.”

I looked at his pitiful face and cracked up!! The squatty potty is the absolute truth people. We eat so much of the wrong things and our intestines can’t fully rid itself of the excess as it should.

As a child growing up in the islands, I used to marvel when I would visit family in the rural areas and watch as the squatted with ease to relive themselves… they stayed thin too and I didn’t realize that was the natural order of things.

We often scoff at what we don’t know but opening our minds could save our lives. Literally.
Go forth.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA

Outdated in a 10 second society..

I can’t STAND shopping. I despise Shopping malls even more. Yes, I am indeed a girl, and yes, the statement above probably makes me an anomaly, but there it is.

So imagine how I broke out in hives at the mere  THOUGHT of having to enter a mall recently and here is the culprit- my FIRST generation IPad that I was hoping to get “tuned” up because it was acting sluggish.

.

The poor Apple tech looked at me like I was crazy and informed me slowly and gently, that my machine was just OLD.
So old in fact, that it wasn’t compatible with the new micro processors they are currently using and all she could suggest was that I give the thing a proper burial or hold on to it for posterity sake.

As I looked on lovingly at my device and then at her young and chirpy face, I suddenly felt old too and wondered if as I aged, I would become disposable like so many of the elderly around us.
Here is the deal- we all eventually slow down and while our memory may not continue process at the speed of sound,  there is a definite amount of wisdom that comes from living to a certain phase in life that many could tap into with loads of benefits. History and it’s contextual meaning serves a purpose that will help us to garner lessons and avoid certain pitfalls. That comes from the folks who lived long enough to recount what books and historians don’t always capture.

Not only that, we could practice patience and empathy and kindness when dealing with the seasoned members of our society because one day, should we be so lucky to live a life of length, we too will need it.

So as I snapped back to miss chirpy in the Apple Store describing the newest machine and the slice of my liver it would cost to upgrade, I chose to hold on to my ancient  device until it decides it has had enough of me.

It’s the least I could do. Don’t judge me. Just smile and cluck at my sentimentality and wish me and my outdated machine well.
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

A safety pin? Y’all so easily distracted…

Madness, Tom foolery and chicanery erupted after the Presidential elections on November 8th 2016 and if it was possible, I would  have spared my soul from running the gamut of emotions listening to people rail at outcomes their votes didn’t want,  and then watched in morbid fascination as the blame game began.

White folks were embarrassed, people of color were miffed to hell and back and political party Leaders were stunned into shocked silence.

And then it happened. Reports started coming in about new Marginalized groups being targeted in the Jewish and LGBTQ communities and someone decided that the best way for folks to know who allies were and create solidarity, were through these safety pins that are now adorning clothing everywhere.

Black Folks went from miffed to hell no and the furious debate began.

I am Looking at all of this unfold and the only clear winners I see here are the savvy business heads  who jumped And began selling safety pin necklaces for upwards of $300 because I guess, even pins need to be Leveled up several social classes in order to adorn certain necklines.
People. Please. Enough already. Let whosoever  chooses to identify their affiliations through this pin, do so as they please because for me It’s a clear symbol of Privilege in a way that says should the wearers of Said pin become targets for their act of revolution, it’s a simple Matter of Removing it and blending in.

No Such  luck For Folks of Color .
So while we keep being distracted by this newest movement, let is not forget to focus on what really matters- surviving these next few years.
Dueces and mad love 

DivA

My Sojourn to Paisley Park 

Mannnn….. in late August when the news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson’s estate was going to be opened up for public tours, I went immediately into a purple purpose, looked at my calendar and proceeded to book a flight and then buy those VIP Tour tickets with the ONLY other person on earth I knew loves Prince like I do.

If you have no idea who the purple king of shade was/is, you can stop reading right here and go atone for your egregious sins because I am about to go IN about this experience and it’s not for the Prince novice.

Anywho, we were up and out our doors at a time that would frighten fish and landed in Minneapolis before noon only to see an airport that was devoid of folks and the car rental agency had zero lines anywhere. I inquired and was told it’s usually snowing this time of year here and nobody visits this place in the winter.

It was our lucky day I guess and we were cool with that! 

I took my friend Tanisha to see a couple of places where Prince used to frequent and one of them was First avenue where he filmed parts of the movie Purple Rain. She was super stoked and it was cool to watch her experience for the first time  what I had an opportunity to soak up last May when I took my first trip here after he died.



We then went to get ready for our tour which was to begin promptly at 5 pm and as I dressed, I could barley contain myself at the thought of what was to come!! 


Hontey!! I was ready baby!!

We took off and when we got within a mile of the place, I told Tanisha to prepare herself but when we turned the corner, she was shocked that the estate was RIGHT there visible to the highway. We pulled into the grounds and I could hardly contain myself because 6 months before, I was looking wistfully through the fence determined to be back and be inside.

We have arrived. 7801 Audobon Rd, our Mecca to all things Prince!!


We collected ourselves, hopped out that car and made it into that building in record time! We were given our Instructions, bought our flash drives for a special opportunity and off we went. Our VIP group consisted of 5 people and so we were  feeling special especially after seeing another group that was super large.

We were ushered into the entrance and the first thing we saw was Mural of the shady One with the inscription “I am watching you.” Right above that was a camera which told his guests he had cameras on them at all times. I cackled at the shadiness of it all.

Our phones were locked in special bags as NO pictures were allowed to be taken and it allowed us to fully soak in what we were about the see. On the first wall were all these gold and platinum records from his early and future work. As we stood there in awe, Tanisha was visibly shaken and leaned on my shoulder with tears in her eyes.

When we stopped into the atrium where he hung out and peeped into the kitchen where he spent loads of time when he wanted to relax , I could see him in my minds eye moving about within and felt his spirit strongly for some inexplicable reason. I was soon to find out why.

Smack dab In the middle of that atrium were his remains. I damn near fainted looking at that purple urn built into a replica of the Paisley Park compound and encased in fiberglass. 

Lawd. I got emotional. Had  a quiet moment.

 There were also two doves sitting in large cages above the atrium and we were told they were 24 years old. The lifespan for them is usually 15 years. That atrium looked like you were standing in the middle of heaven with clouds and points of light everywhere.

We went on to visit his office and it was in there I noticed how freaking cool his furniture was!! Deep purple and designed in the most unusual shapes!! I was fascinated!! We saw his handwritten songs in rooms dedicated to Paisley Park, Purple Rain, Musicology Tour and the list went on!! He was a pack rat and threw away nothing. They are still finding and archiving things. His penmanship was beautiful by the way. They found vaults of music and video. He was famous for firing editors and spent hours editing his own work. He was simply a creative genius!

He had hundreds of guitars. No exaggeration. My head spun at the volume of them we saw in every space! His costumes too were out of this world right down to the shoes of which he had over a thousand. Chile Listen.

We visited studios A, B and C, each space carrying his strong presence and we could feel Him Throughout. Studio C especially was lined with cherry wood for perfect acoustics and we were told artists like Stevie wonder recorded there.  

Hallowed ground I tell you. 

We got to listen to a jazz piece he was working on shortly before he died. I hope they release it because it’s dope.

This place was deceptive looking from the exterior because within was 65 thousand square feet of space !! He has a main stage that could hold over a thousand people, was 12 thousand square feet and had concerts there along with filming parts of his movies. We walked around and marveled at the rich history within. Behind the main stage was a more private setting to seat 120 folks and we heard Madonna performed for him in late 2015

We saw a wall of the artists he supported and the ones who influenced him. Tower of Power, Jimmie Hendrix, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Earth Wind and Fire and the list went on. We saw his numerous awards, the bike he filmed Purple Rain on, pianos in purple and a sundry of Other colors but I wasn’t prepared for this one. At all.


I’m told he bought it on the late 90’s. He was such a man before his time.

We had a special photo opportunity in Studio B that I will share soon and that was special.

Whew!! I think I captured the essence of the visit. 

Wait until you see his zen space. So peaceful!! He also loved scented candles and they were everywhere.

We left on a happy purple haze of peace and closure after buying stuff from the gift store but don’t tell my husband😂😂


Babay did we ever have a rocking good time!!! This place is for the true Prince fans!! I sang along to his music and even did a slight jig  watching him perform in various rooms.  I saw a clip of him in Philly during the Musicology tour and was ever so grateful that I was front AND center at the concert they highlighted..

We saw a piece of history and Prince was right there with us. How does it even get any better than that? Go see what has become the museum of his life if you can. Dude lived and died in his purpose and it affected millions of us around the globe.

That alone, is worth the sojourn there.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

Awww purple sookie now….

The good old year called 2016 has been a beast to The mind and soul. If I haven’t learned anything beyond the fact that folks can truly be here and be gone tomorrow, then I learned plenty. 
I have always fully embraced every ounce of my life and when I tell you that I am super psyched to be on a plane and heading to THE Paisley Park for a once on a life time VIP Tour of Prince’s estate, that is the understatement of the year. These bags have been packed since August honey and it is all I can do to keep my emotions in check… 
for the Rabid Prince fans- this is indeed the Mecca visit and I will get every detail to you later on.. the rest of y’all please catch up and get your purple lives!!😂😂

Today we will not be discussing elections or any such thing. If it ain’t purple, you can wait until

Tomorrow.

Lemme me grab my bag and get off this plane.. much to capture..
Deuces and Mad love, 

Diva

The eggs dropped by the birds nest for a little love 

A few days ago, my eldest child flew home to visit albeit briefly, so we could see each other before he went off to handle his real purpose for being here- his fraternity and the brothers he formed a deep bond with. I was with him for less than 12 hours but we squeezed priceless moments within and my soul and heart were full when he left.

I wrote about this son a while back in a post where he had an encounter with a police officer https://lawfultrainer.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/innocence-of-a-child-forever-gone/

Even as we worked diligently to be certain he was okay and told him to keep achieving, he continues to defy and exceed any expectations anyone could have of him.

Quite simply, he’s determined to succeed and writes 5 and 10 year plans to keep his purpose in the forefront always. So earlier this year, 2 weeks before his 24th birthday, he had already graduated from college, works for a Great company that values and relocated him to another state and after just 11 months of living in said state, he closed on his very 1st home.

As remarkable as that was, he also bought that home with no financial help from his father and I. In fact, he insisted it was something he wanted to see if he could do and he did. We couldn’t believe how disciplined he was to save by not buying a new car when he graduated from college even as his peers were stunting with new rides all around him. He paid his bills on time and kept his credit score in a place many adults do not have and he stunned the banks when they saw he really saved and had a stable job at his age. Once he bought that home though, I flew in and helped him to furnish and buy appliances. He smiled and said I was “such a mommy” as if that was an insult!!😂😂😂

He is now 24 and as I listened to him discuss what his next set of plans entailed, I teared up remembering all he had gone through to get to this point and that his adversities only made him grow to the place where he is an incredible advocate of his rights and can see things from a point of view most miss.

He is a really quiet and profound cat that I am so proud to call SON. I caught a brief glimpse of his need for parent love when he walked up to hug me and just laid his head on my chest for a good two minutes. It was cathartic and healing to us both.

He credits his tenacity to having parents who aren’t afraid to work hard and achieve-he astutely learned certain traits we carry that he found to be beneficial in business and life and built upon that. I have no doubt we haven’t fully begun to see what he will accomplish. and while the house was filled with both my children and all their friends, when the nest emptied and those birds flew back to where they came from, they all left a piece of their love joy and peace with me..

Parents- raising children is the most challenging thing we will do and it never ends. We want to protect our children from danger and harm while we coach them on being able to thrive in environments away from us. If we could, we would shield them and keep their innocence firmly intact but life doesn’t work that way. 

On this day, I pray you have the courage and strength to do what you know is right for your children and to seek advice when needed.

Those babies we carried and nurtured will one day become adults. How they get there depends upon you in those early years of learning and growth.

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

when the oldest comes home for a visit

Delayed is not denied….

When I think of how much my life has changed in the last 20 years, I can safely say I’m beginning to grasp the concept that delayed doesn’t mean denied and if we trust the process we are in, we will see it was all for our good long term.
That job you thought you had to keep because it pays your bills but you got laid off and was surprised to see it was designed to happen just that way because you wouldn’t have otherwise stepped out on faith and become even more successful?
Delayed is not denied
That man you just KNEW God sent for you and you scratched and clawed to keep him even as his actions said otherwise. It finally ends and you mourn him thinking there isn’t another soul worth having only to meet someone who made this Other person seem like a joke?
Delayed is not denied
Those days when you could barely scrape the rent money together, you had no car to drive and small children to take care of in the middle of an awful Divorce only to look up years later and life is good?
Delayed is not denied.

In order to turn the corner from life’s tragedies, you must first be willing to do your own work to healing and that may mean forgiving the people who hurt you, learn from the mistakes, choose wisely, be open to taking risks and have faith.
The alternative is staying mired in the hurt and disappointments only to look up and realize your delay did indeed become your denial because in the end you can’t change anyone but you and nothing grows in a stagnant state.

Ya dig?

Dueces and mad love,

Diva

If we ain’t doing it, chances are You shouldn’t either

I can’t profess to know everything, HOWEVA- there at least TWO you should trust islanders on.
1. NEver EVA buy food  at restaurants that purportedly sell Jamaican meals if you walk in and the customers all sound like you. As in American. Islanders frequent the spots that are serving authentic cuisine. You should not understand the  conversation of the clientele taking place as you wait in line, and the cooks/servers should give you pause when they ask a question in patois-English. 😂😂

That means your food is going to be slamming good!! As a native to the island, I frequent ONE spot.  I have tried the others and invariably, my tatstebuds were offended by the cutting of corners and distinct American flare embedded within.

Sacreligious I tell you!!

Your rice and peas should be fluffy, your meats should carry the distinct flavors of thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and other natural spices and LISTEN, those soups and porridges should make you shout gloray!!

Don’t be drawn by the Jamaican signs and long lines hear? Can’t say you haven’t been told.


My home made soup.

The other thing is this- islanders living in other parts of the world almost never take a vacation in the Caribbean between the beginning of July to early November.  Know why? A tiny frightening thing called hurricanes.

Listen here.
When you grew up in a place where you lived through those storms, there is a mental note imprinted in your brain to try your best not to visit during those peak months unless you have to. Many are drawn by the great travel deals but you are literally tucking your tail as you hand over your monies and hope for the best.

Hurricane Matthew churned in those waters for days and caused all kinds of devastation only to be followed up by Nicole who was not to be outdone and is indeed a category 4 storm bearing down on Bermuda. If you are into flying cows and zinc roofs mingled with a magenta sky and rushing waters up to your neck, then by all means take the risks.

Don’t do it people- no one can predict where these storms will pop up and your sunny skies and blue waters will turn into something straight out of a movie except it’s your life in real time.

Now, you can go forth and do whatever you FEEL like doing after reading this but you can’t say someone didn’t tell ya!!

Dueces and mad love,

Diva 

The day the “petty” purple one left us..Lawd!!

April 21st 2016 began with my jumping into the divamobile at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. and as I pointed it towards the gym, my music shuffled to Prince and his iconic song “Kiss.”

I pumped up the volume and screeched right along with him and walked into the gym doing a jig. 

I LOVE me some Prince. 

No. I need you to fully grasp this.

I LOVE ME SOME PRINCE.

So while the folks in the gym cracked up laughing at me, I didn’t care because as far as I was concerned, the day began just right.

So around 2 that afternoon when the first of many text messages came in that asked if I had heard about Prince, a sense of foreboding washed over my entire being and with shaking hands, I googled his name.

I wasn’t ready for the headlines that screamed he had died.

 I dropped my phone, the tears began and I was inconsolable for what became months. My children and husband all called worried and I couldn’t form the words beyond sobbing. My friends who knew what this meant for me got in their cars and began ringing my doorbell.

Chile, I was just devastated!

I discovered Prince as a teenager and while I like every other child in the eighties, enjoyed Michael Jackson, Prince was so different and his music so lyrically conscious, he quickly became my favorite of the two.

My momma thought he was a confused cross dresser and the devil so when I was given a cassette tape of purple rain and played it all damn day, it disappeared without warning and I decided when I became an adult, I would own anything Prince pushed out.

I did too. 

When my first marriage ended and he took all the Prince music we enjoyed together, I made it my mission not to allow that to happen again. Princes music calmed my soul and made me feel it was okay to be different and to explore those differences with boldness as a woman who kept getting consistent messages that my voice should be tempered.

So there I sat on April 21st, all lost in the sauce and that evening, One of my friends Jacine, inadvertently began the healing garden when she rang my doorbell and offered a bunch of purple plants to help me.

I went the very next day and bought a bunch of tools, dirt, plants and began with the help of two friends, to turn over the very dry and weed filled patch of ground my husband ignored for 20 years.. this was the beginning of that garden

Friends began donating purple perennials among other things and the next thing I knew, the garden became this!


I had Princes music in rotation for months as I weeded and watered with love!! I have since transplanted those beautiful annuals into pots and given them away to friends in preparation for winter so I feel like his death was not in vain.

Not to be be outdone, my husband went online and immediately booked a flight for me to go visit Paisley park in Minneapolis and I believe that cathartic solo  journey, helped to heal my soul in more ways than ten!  I rented a bug and the first thing I did was find his studio and home. I was  not ready for the display of love and tributes I found. See for yourself


I was so incredibly TOUCHED and felt so healed knowing so many people Were impacted by him. I sat out there for HOURS watching people show up and had conversations with strangers about how they became Prince fans 


One would think that was enough for me right?

Nope.

I spent the next two days visiting his childhood home, high school, the place where he filmed parts of purple rain, drove to Lake Minnetonka and dipped my feet in and found a guy that was making Prince gear I could buy. I even went to the Hard Rock Cafe in the Mall Of America to see the donated outfits of his they had on Display. I was on a mission that was everything Prince!



What a journey that was!! I took that sojourn in early May and have been collecting all his music and magazine covers with him since.

Did I say I loved that dude??

It’s now six months later, and when I learned his estate was opening for tours, a friend and I booked our tickets and so I will share that another time.

I look back now and realized I was able to turn his death into a beautiful Giving garden while gaining peace in my soul.

We Aren’t going to live forever so what are you doing to leave an impact between your birth and death? It may not be on the scale of a Prince because he was truly a special Soul Who found his purpose  and walked fully in it come hell or high water.

I didn’t cook for months but I’m back to myself. Sort of. I think my husband is over my saying this- “Prince died man! The end! I ain’t doing nothing right now!” 😂😂😂😂

Thank you for walking this journey with me as I shared. For the die hard Prince fans out here- I feel you.  Hang in there. The petty one would expect no less.