What’s up family? Here we are again working on the EP. We are at Heaven Sent Production Studio with Jonathon Hensley on Drums, my Haitian bro James Jessey Joseph on Guitar, Charles Ryan on Bass and Shurlon “Silks” Patrick on Keys. Stay tuned for more EP is due 2019.
I am eternally grateful to my friend Jesse Ryan for the amazing arrangements on the horns for the EP. Here we are tracking horns for Whoo Hoo (So Beautiful) at the beautiful GMP Recording Studio in Canada.
Excuse me as I wipe my mouth, I just eat ah food. My sweet “blue” food notes and curried “grays” have satisfied my hunger…till…my appetite growls again. Until I allow the acid to burn the lining called my conscience.
Then I eat a food again. This time a little heavier, left-hand dumplings with some “greens” and some sliced “reds” on the side please, and to wash it down how about a tall beastly cold “50”.
But how long before the acid burns all my conscience away, then, the ulcers one by one appear. Slowly, I cringe at first, bending over in pain. Maybe it was the dumplings, maybe the curried “grays” or the sweet “blues”. I’m… not cer..tain but it pains.
I’ve lost it my birthright, my good name, my character, my conscience eaten away by the food. Food that should have strengthen me, developed my muscles, food has become my poison.
Must I eat ah food? oh yes! but not all food must be eaten.
I recently read this quotation by Anne Lamont: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
Anne’s quote reminded me of a book my dear mother lent me titled, Pulling Your Own Strings by Wayne W. Dyer (if you get a chance you should read it). Basically, it was about taking charge of your life, and owning the things that happen/ed to you and being strong enough to maintain your individualism.
That book really gave me a boost of self-belief and a new outlook on life. Before then, I was putting off many things I desired to do because I feared the opinions of others, I feared being rejected, I feared success – at times, failure.
One of my issues was the fact that I often wondered if in any way I was responsible for another person’s response or lack thereof. After reading that book I realised that I am only responsible for my behaviour. Being responsible for my behaviour does not give me license to be a donkey and to treat others badly without consequence, but I began to slowly release myself from that bondage. It is liberating, so freeing to let yourself free of the ‘responsibility’ of and for the behaviour of others.
I have been doing some deep soul-searching and facing some demons in my closet. It is not a onetime event, but I have come to the conclusion that for me to find myself, I had to make some personal adjustments. Here are a few things I did:
- I had to face the fact that I am in control of myself-
I am not in control of anybody else. Every day I get the chance to choose how I think, how I respond, what I say and how I feel about people and circumstances around me. Life will throw many things at me, but in the mix are good as well as many unpleasant things. My outlook depends on my choice. The people close to me, and those who do not know me well may choose to ascribe some dubious meaning to my responses. I had to own up to the fact that I cannot control their decisions and perceptions: and it was liberating.
- I had to recognise that I was naïve-
I was and to some degree still am naïve to many things. I tend to be overly trusting and always trying to think the best of people. I would be honest, truthful and trusting only to be betrayed. As we say here in Trinidad and Tobago, “All skin teeth is not a smile”, which means that not everyone that smiles with you is a friend. My solution, I became more protective of my peace of mind, I guarded the space between my ears and my spirit. It was an extremely difficult thing for me to do. One person even mentioned “you real different now”, as I went through the process. I decided that in order for me to stop being taken advantage of, I had to do something for Stephen. I still struggle with being naïve this, but this realisation also caused me to acknowledge that there are some people who are just downright nasty and wicked and they should be avoided at all cost, in order to maintain my peace of mind.
3.I had to realise people seek after their own interest first:
I remember helping others so much that I would even put off important personal things. At a single phone call, I would commit to perform at multiple events on the same day. I would be most present to help others, because my perception was, “that’s what people do”. Then as time went by I recognised that when the tables turned, I was left empty and in need. Those who said they were “down with you”, would walk out on me when most needed. It did not feel good, and it left me devastated and depressed. I realised that I was disposable to them and what I thought was mutual was really one-sided. So, I had to pull back a bit and take the time to reassess my priorities and some relationships. Saying no to requests and seeing about myself, is not selfish, in fact, it is necessary for me to be healthy. So now I have become better at serving others, without destroying myself in the process. I set boundaries as to what I will and will not allow.
I am becoming better at pulling my own strings. It was uncomfortable at first, because there will be some who find you different from before and less easy to manipulate, but it is all for the better. I will end this post with these two quotes: one of my own and another from the book Pulling Your Own Strings.
“The moment you stop allowing someone to emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically manipulate you – that’s the moment they start to verbalise all the things that are wrong about you. Not that those things weren’t there before, it is just that they lost the power to control you.” Stephen John
Everything that exists in the universe does so independently of my opinion (Pulling Your Own Strings, Wayne W. Dyer).
And darkness was over the face of the deep,
Steep places where scary things hide.
Am I afraid of the dark, or the things that hide inside?
In the darkness of night, my mind runs wild.
Making false things appear real,
Making trees look like men, the wind sounds like a hurricane,
Footsteps become a stampede
In the darkness of my mind.
Under my bed where the monsters live
Mostly at night when the lights slowly go dim
There’s no lamp-light bright enough to chase them away.
Afraid to let my pinky-toe hang over the edge,
Edges where darkness creeps, seeks another victim.
Victims, living in fear, crippled by the abyss of darkness in the mind.
Dark thoughts, fear thoughts, near thoughts, far thoughts
Holding you, choking you, stifling!!!
Afraid she might say, No! Afraid he might leave,
Afraid to leave the comfort of familiar.
Afraid of the outcome, afraid of success,
Afraid that happiness might cause others to regret…
To fret, to think of you less,
To judge you by the result of their failed conquest
Projecting fear of darkness upon you.
In the quiet darkness of the mind
Afraid of the sounds in the dark
Voices shouting, Yes! Voices shouting, No!
Shouting STOP!!! Shouting GO!
Afraid of the pictures you were taught to see
One-sided, lopsided, uneven, misguided.
Voices screaming at you from within their darkness
But alas! A spark, in the distance, in this dark
An idea, a light, a thought so bright that I run without fear
Catching the updraft, gaining momentum
I take flight, I escape, living light
Living in light
Written by Stephen John
Copyright S2J2 Publishings