Disturbing!

By now you must have watched the HBO Documentary, Leaving Neverland. The documentary is essentially a 4-hour interview in which two adult males, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, describe being seduced and sexually molested by Michael Jackson, at the height of his stardom, when they were mere children.

I watched Leaving Neverland when it premiered last Sunday, I watched it again on Monday, and today, four days later, I still cannot get the graphic details of these allegations against Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, out of my head. To say I am troubled and disturbed by the allegations is putting it mildly. I am not one to get into celebrity gossip or stories or the like, but I simply cannot get the details of this controversial documentary out of my head and it has left me wondering about the veracity of these horrific accusations.

Both Safechuck and Robson alleges in graphic detail the sexual seduction and abuse they suffered at the hands of Michael Jackson when they were merely 10 and 7 years old, respectively; at the time Michael Jackson was a grown man in his 30s. The age difference is staggering and one can only label Jackson a pedophile, if, and I repeat if these allegations are true.

Safechuck met Jackson when he won the role of a lifetime playing opposite Jackson in a Pepsi commercial in 1987 when he was only 8 years old. His relationship with Jackson soon blossomed after that as the allegations purport that Jackson not only seduced the then 10-year-old Safechuck but also his entire family, including his parents. Jackson became “friends” with Safechuck’s mother and in Leaving Neverland, Mrs. Safechuck even describes how she regarded Jackson as one of her own children. She describes him as “a son” and talks about preparing meals for him, speaking with him on the phone daily for hours and having him over for dinner several times in their home. It was therefore relatively easy for her to say “yes” when Jackson invited them on a vacation to Hawaii and later invited the then 10-year-old Safechuck to tour with him on his Bad tour. It was also relatively easy for her to comply when Jackson requested, while on the vacation in Hawaii, that her 10-year-old son sleep with him (Jackson) in his room.

Robson, who was born in and resided in Australia, met Jackson when he was merely 5 years old after winning an Australian dance contest where he won tickets to Jackson’s concert followed by a meet-and-greet. Thereafter Jackson allegedly told Robson’s mother to look him up if she ever came to the United States, which she did 2 years later, and was miraculously able to get in contact with him; and remember this is in a day and age before the Internet. It makes you wonder if certain things were just meant to be, or this is what Robson’s mother believed.

Robson and his family were invited into Jackson’s home while on their stay in the US and again the allegations are that Jackson was able to charm Mom into agreeing to allow her then 7-year-old child to spend time alone with Jackson in his private bedroom.

Dan Reed, the Director of Leaving Neverland, goes back and forth with the camera as both Safechuck and Robson are interviewed for the documentary. He does extreme close-ups of both men’s faces as they describe in very graphic details the sexual acts performed with Michael Jackson when they were mere boys, at 7 and 10 years old. Truthfully, the entire thing made me shudder and it was extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the allegations. My gosh, they were not even teenagers yet (not saying that would make the allegations any less disturbing) but 7 and 10 years old! My gosh! They were mere babies!

Safechuck alleges that his sexual relationship with Jackson lasted from the ages of 10 to 14, while Robson states that his relationship with Jackson was on and off for 7 years from ages 7 to 14. The indication is given in the documentary that Jackson preferred it when the boys were very young and as they entered their early teens he abandoned his relationship with them for other younger boys. Robson even claims that he was replaced by child actor Macaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame.

It is interesting to note that Culkin has vehemently denied any inappropriate conduct from Jackson during the several years they “hung out as friends”. It is also interesting to note that Dan Reed, the Director, never bothered to interview Culkin or any other of the several children, who are now men in their 30s, who were always seen in Jackson’s company at the height of his stardom.

The premiere of Leaving Neverland has, of course, revived sexual abuse allegations made against Jackson in the past. In August of 1993, Evan Chandler, a dentist, accused Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son Jordon Chandler. Jackson vehemently denied the allegations and both Safechuck and Robson gave sworn testimonies in affidavits stating that Jackson is a wholesome person, a good friend, that never once touched them inappropriately. Jackson later settled out of court with The Chandlers for $23,000,000 (yes, that’s right 23 million) and in September 1993 the criminal investigation related to the Jordon Chandler case was closed.

There were similar allegations within the following decade made against Jackson which culminated in criminal charges being brought against him in January 2004 when then 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo accused Jackson of sexually molesting him. This time there was no out of court settlement and the case went to trial, a trial that lasted several months. One of the key witnesses for Jackson in this 2005 trial was none other than Wade Robson, who testified for days about the innocence of his friendship with Jackson.

Both Safechuck and Robson were adults in 2005 during Jackson’s sexual molestation trial, Robson, who was 23 years old at the time, testified under oath that Jackson never sexually abused him. Safechuck, who was 27 at the time, stated in the documentary that when Michael contacted him to testify on his behalf in 2005 he refused, told Jackson to never call him again and hung up the phone.

The fact that both Safechuck and Robson defended Jackson in 1993 when 13-year-old Chandler accused him of sexual molestation and misconduct and Robson again in 2005, defended Jackson, this time by taking the stand has many die-hard Michael Jackson fans questioning their credibility. There has also been talk about both men making the documentary for money. However, it has been postulated over and over again by Director Dan Reed, that neither man has been “renumerated” for telling his story.

Oprah Winfrey interviewed both Safechuck and Robson after Leaving Neverland aired and she asked a pertinent question of them both, “Why come forward now?”

Both men, who are now married with sons of their own, have essentially said it is because of their children. They are now watching their own children grow up and are motivated to tell the truth as they watch the innocence of their own children on display.

Safechuck has said “I want to speak the truth as loud as I spoke the lie. Michael made you feel like you did it, that it was all your idea, Then you look at your own kid, and for the first time realize, “What? That just makes no sense.”

Today I read on BBC.com that a statue of Michael Jackson has been removed from the National Football Museum in Manchester, England. I was a bit taken aback. I also read a few articles where radio stations are considering no longer playing Michael Jackson’s songs.

Say what?!

Jackson’s music has always uplifted me, admittedly it still did this week even after watching Leaving Neverland. Jackson is no longer alive to defend himself and it bothers me that these allegations are now being made when he should be resting in peace.

However, there is something about Safechuck, not so much Robson, but James Safechuck, as I watch him give his interview to Oprah that makes me believe him. His eyes are filled with pain, his face distorted in disbelief that he simply cannot believe he’s actually doing this, that he’s actually talking out loud about something he had vowed to take to his grave. You can almost tell that he takes no pleasure from all of this. He still talks about his “love” for Jackson and the fact that he “feels like he is letting him down”.

In all honesty, I don’t know what to believe about Michael Jackson anymore. I am a fan. In light of these horrible allegations will I remain a fan? Should we now shun the man, his legacy and his music because of a controversial documentary? Or should we separate the man from his art? What say you? Do you believe that the King of Pop was capable of such appalling acts, especially against children?

The Art of Conversation – Part 2

Have you ever met someone and knew for sure you wouldn’t like them? The first time I came across a blog post by http://bottomlesscoffee007.com I was so sure the post was written by someone I could never like. His views didn’t align with mine at all and he was harsh in his criticism of “the other side”; and since I am here (on WordPress) for some lighthearted conversation and humor, I stopped myself from leaving a commentary with my opposing views and just moved along to someone else’s blog post.

It was only a couple of days later when BottomlessCoffee007 showed up again. This time he was in the comment section of my blog post. I rolled my eyes when I first got the notification that he had left a comment on one of my posts. What did he have to say about what I had written? As luck would have it he had left a humorous comment. I chuckled as I read it and then I replied. A few minutes later I got a notification that he was now “following” my Blog and since I am a big advocate of reciprocity I followed him back and that was how 007 and I started.

He would show up in my Inbox daily, sometimes twice or thrice with his controversial opinions, arguments, and rants. Admittedly, his pieces were thought-provoking and gave rise to discourse, even though they were views I didn’t readily share. I eventually started commenting on some of his posts and lo and behold he wasn’t miffed whenever I didn’t agree with him, which happens frequently.πŸ˜ƒ We would oftentimes go back and forth several times on just one of his post and in the end, we would always agree to disagree.

I came to admire the manner in which he wrote his pieces and invited dialogue. He addresses every issue you put forth before him and he is never obnoxious in his response to your comments even when you have opposing views. It’s surprising to me that 007 has become one of my favorites on WordPress, despite his controversy, and I am learning to embrace our differences.

007’s blog has taken on a life of its own and now he even has his very own Podcast, which has risen in popularity in only a few months. I am honored to have been the first Blogger he interviewed on his Podcast back in December. You can listen to that interview here: The Art of Conversation. We recently switched seats and he allowed me to interview him, in an effort to have his readers learn more about him. It was truly an interesting and fun conversation that lasted over an hour and forty-five minutes. If you’re interested in listening the link appears below. I promise you won’t be bored.

What 007 has taught me in this extremely divisive climate that we live in is that we don’t have to see eye to eye to get along. If we would only pause and listen, I mean really listen, to others who do not share the same perspectives and views as us we could possibly learn something; and not because we are not on similar sides of the coin it doesn’t mean we can’t have a decent conversation punctuated with a few deep down, genuine, belly laughs.

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2019/02/05/the-voice-behind-the-keyboard-racquel-interviews-bc007-tidepodcast-episode-52/

Photo courtesy of StockSnap.io (This is how I imagine 007 as a kid screaming his rants into the microphone πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ).

WordPress – The Experience!

Wait! What?! Why am I in your inbox again when I was here only 2 days ago. My readers know me as a weekly Blogger so why am I showing up again??!!

I admire those who make the time to blog daily, sometimes even several times a day, but I always thought I just don’t have the time or enough topics of interest to blog with such frequency. However, I have laid down the gauntlet and issued a personal challenge for myself. I have decided to end the year with a bang by completing 30 blog posts by December 31st, this is blog post # 24.

My first blog post was on July 14, 2018, and so far I have posted an average of once per week. Considering that I get bored with things easily I think there is something to be said about the fact that I have been able to maintain my Blog with some amount of consistency. I am rather proud of myself and I hope to continue the pace well into 2019.

WordPress has been a wonderful yet daunting place. I like to reciprocate so I read posts by other Bloggers who take the time to read my own. I follow those who follow me and I always “like” and “comment” on those posts I find fun and or interesting. All of this reciprocity does take time though and sometimes I find myself on WordPress for hours, which can be daunting when you have a ton of work to do, the type of work you get paid for, and let’s face it with only 24 hours in the day, and since I’m a girl who needs to get her beauty sleep, finding the time to search out new bloggers and read their well-written, interesting posts can be formidable when considering time constraints.

WordPress, however, has brought with it new “friends”. The anonymity on the site is real so half the people I don’t even know by their real names or what they look like, but what we do share is a desire to write and share our personal thoughts. We also like the validation of being “read” and for the most part the interaction with others, especially those who share our opinions, makes WordPress a fun place to escape to.

From the very beginning, there have been people I just clicked with and connected with, some even have differing views and opinions from mine but they are open to discussion and it is always good gaining another perspective, especially when it’s done in a non-confrontational manner.

I would never have thought when I created my Blog that I would have had this decent a connection with other WordPress users, when you think about it, I really didn’t even know what to expect. I mean there are people on here who actually look forward to my posts, that just blows my mind; and if I am late with posting I get an email inquiring about my whereabouts. Do you know how good that feels?! It’s awesome! Similarly, if a few of my “peeps” are off the grid for a couple of days, especially if they are daily bloggers I actually miss them and I wonder about them.

Recently I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting in real life someone I connected with on WordPress. Yes, this actually happened. Heather and I first connected not on her Blog or even my own, but on someone else’s in the comment section when we both shared a similar opinion that one can, in fact, write a successful Blog about one own’s life, with general stories and anecdotes without a running theme. The writer of that particular Blog didn’t agree and Heather and I bonded over the fact that we “disagreed” with Mr. KnowItAll. Soon we had subscribed to each other’s Blogs and the rest as they say is history.

Heather has become an avid reader of mine and I don’t think she has missed even one of my posts. I try to do the same but I am pretty sure I have missed a couple of hers. Heather is a beauty blogger and self-proclaimed Avon Lady. Her posts are interesting and chock full of beauty tips that actually work. Like, who knew we were using hairpins incorrectly all along.πŸ˜ƒ I have learned a lot from Heather and just last night I learned that eyelash curlers are not a thing of the past and that one can actually perm one’s eyelashes. Who knew?!

Heather and I took our communication off of WordPress only a couple of weeks after “meeting” and started doing regular email exchanges. She is funny and sweet, even though she doesn’t seem to think so. She is an excellent writer and can hold my interest even when writing about the most mundane subjects such as hairpins and what kind of rags to bring while traveling.😁

Heather is also a technical whiz and I have often called on her to assist me with WordPress technical stuff. I am a writer, not a techie, even though I am quickly learning that these days both things go hand in hand, especially around here.

Heather lives in Oregon and recently visited New York City with her husband. We planned a double date (with our spouses) months in advance of her trip and by golly we actually made it happen. We dined at the trendy Tao restaurant and it was a fun, festive evening filled with good conversation and laughter. My husband, who is the complete opposite of me, and frowns upon social media and meeting strangers therefrom actually enjoyed meeting Heather and her husband.

WordPress has turned out to be a pretty interesting place. I never really considered it a social media platform, but I guess it is. I have discovered a whole new world of adventurous, mysterious, entertaining cohorts, which, in my opinion, is so very cool.

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Heather and I.

Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part 2)

I am a little late with my Reader Request Friday responses to the questions put forth by my treasured readers, two days late in fact, but I was assured by my dearest Heather over at https://www.hopelesslyheather.com that my readers would understand me not meeting my deadline, after all, it is Thanksgiving weekend.

Reader Request Friday was created by fellow blogger, the fascinating and intriguing https://www.bottomlesscoffee.007.com, who invited me to interact with my readers by encouraging them to ask me anything. I was happily overwhelmed with a lot of questions, which in the interest of brevity, I elected to answer in two parts, in case you missed part one of my answers you can find it at Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)

Without further adieu, let’s get on with part two (Hey; that rhymed…Ha!).

The illustrious author, James, over at https://www.myplace3187.com asked the following:

Q 43. Do you have Netflix? Yep. Doesn’t everyone these days?

Q 44. Do you eat beef liver or pork liver? Beef liver, yes, and I quite enjoy it too.

Q 45. Do you ice skate?

About a decade ago I decided I wanted to learn how to ice skate so I actually paid for a round of ice skating lessons.

I paid for a half a dozen lessons and was in the middle of lesson #2 when I fell down so hard on the ice I couldn’t get back up. It took 3 instructors to help me back up. The pain across my lower back after that fall was so intense that I couldn’t even finish lesson # 2. It took me at least 2 weeks to properly heal and feel like myself again. The pain was so severe every time I walked I felt the fall all over again. That was it for me…I never went back to the lessons and I never got my money back either.

I quickly deleted “learning how to ice skate” off of my bucket list. Not everything is for everyone and I painfully learned that ice-skating wasn’t for this island girl. πŸ˜’

Q 46. What is the best icing for cakes?

There are so many but if I could only pick one I would say chocolate fudge icing. Yummy!

Q 47. What is the best place to get a pizza you like?

So many places especially here in NYC, which is known for having some of the best pizzas. My husband and I like to head over to Harry’s, in Battery Park, for their brick oven pizza.

Q 48. Would you love to have a vegetable garden on the roof of your building? Nope.

Q 49. What is your favorite car to drive around to show off?

I’m not much of a show-off. However, if I had to choose to drive around in a car to show off in it would be a flashy, red, 2 door sports car; something like a Ferrari, although I have never driven one myself. I would opt for one that looked like this

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My girl, River Girl, over at https://www.riversworld.live, a one of a kind travel blog I discovered here at WordPress had me thinking really hard about this one –

Q 50. You seem like a woman who has it all together. Strong, smart, independent. So what’s your deepest, darkest, irrational fear?

Firstly, River, thank you for such compliments – strong, smart and independent. I’d like to think I’m all that but we all have insecurities and unwarranted fears.

My biggest fear is that I won’t live much longer. This irrational fear surrounds dying before my son becomes an adult before I can live to see what he makes of himself before he gets married and has his own children. I would love to see the kind of woman he would choose to partner with for the rest of his life, I’d also like to see what kind of parent he would be but I’m not sure I’ll be around for it.

I am afraid of dying.

My friend (in real life), wedding photographer extraordinaire, Carmen at http://www.carmenrubiophotography.com, who I am surprised didn’t ask me something about the movies since we both share a love for the movies asked the following…

Q 51. Who (living or dead) would you like to meet and have a conversation with? And why?

I’d like to break bread with Oprah Winfrey and share some laugh out loud girl talk.

Everyone knows Oprah’s story, she came from nothing, born in poverty, she was dirt poor growing up. Talk about a self-made woman, she was fired from one of her first gigs in broadcasting and demoted yet she was able to come back from that to build a multi-million dollar production company and has been named Forbes first black multi-billionaire. Yes! Multi-billionaire, that is a billionaire (not millionaire) several times over.

It doesn’t matter how you feel about Ms. Winfrey one has to put that respect at the end of her name. She is one of the most influential people in the World. I don’t have enough words to express the sheer joy and excitement I would feel meeting and having an actual conversation with her. I bet I would leave a lasting impression too.πŸ˜‰

Q 52. What is your dream car?

Let’s go with the flashy, red Ferrari above. See Q & A 49.

Another real-life friend, Alicia, a couples’ therapist and published author, Alicia’s book, No More Fighting: The Relationship Book for Couples: 20 Minutes a Week to a Stronger Relationship, will be released on December 4th and can be pre-ordered on Amazon right now. You can also find more of Alicia’s words of wisdom and valuable tips for re-igniting the passion in your marriage at http://www.aliciamunoz.com.

Alicia asked the following question…

Q 53. How do you think writing your bestselling book is going to change the important relationships in your life, including your relationship with yourself?

Damn, Alicia! Could you think of a harder question…Hahaha.

Alicia, my darling, I am honored that you think I will one day write a bestseller. I love the way you believe in me, love the way you always encourage me. Let me see if I can do some justice to your question.

My relationship with myself probably won’t change much. Yes, I’d be more confident in my writing. I’d be encouraged to write more, tell more stories and I’d certainly feel more accomplished but I honestly feel like my humility and authenticity would remain the same. I like who I am and I am pretty sure I’ll remain the same. I would never be the self-acclaimed pompous author, I can’t stand those.

My relationship with my husband – I can only imagine how much greater this would be. Writing a bestseller means more disposable income for our family; which translates into more money to do whatever we want; more vacations, more adventures, even more, grand memories; our marriage would swell and expand with more happiness. It is said that money doesn’t buy happiness, but Greg and I would certainly like the chance to disprove this theory.

My relationship with my son – Like he needs another thing to live up to. Having a Mom, who is an attorney already puts a tremendous amount of pressure on him. Since the generation that follows is expected to outperform the current generation, my expectation of him would be even more than it already is. I am pretty sure me writing a bestseller would result in more tension between me and my teenager since my expectations of him would be even higher than they already are, especially regarding his academic performance.

My Mom, yes you read that correctly, my Mom who reads my blog weekly, asked the all-important question…

Q 54. If you could go back to your childhood and change anything, what would you change and why?

This has to be a trick question, right?! My childhood was perfect and I wouldn’t change anything.😁

Seriously though, my honest answer to that would be that your husband (my Dad) was way too strict, like seriously, there was no need for all that. I would make my Dad more lenient and a lot less rigid in his rearing and discipline. I am 100% sure we would have still turned out alright despite all the rules.

Q 55. My favorite Avon Lady, Heather, over at https://hopelesslyheather.com asked me what’s my favorite joke/funny story to tell.

Believe or not, I love lawyer jokes. One of my favorites goes something like this –

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Q 56. Laurie over at https://www.meditationsinmotion.com wanted to know what my favorite quote is…

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

While DM, the master of thought-provoking questions, at https://pointlessoverthinking.com asked the following –

Q 57. If you could sell years from your life with ten thousand dollars each, how many years would you sell and why?

Ha! Good one! I prefer living over money, I’m not inclined to sell any years off of my life. I figured once I’m alive and healthy I have the potential to make money.

Kimberley, my real life friend, asked the following –

Q 58. How did you find the courage and enthusiasm to continue dating as you moved closer to 40?

I met my current husband when I was 39 and I was a 42-year-old bride but it was so worth all the years of dating to finally come across my ideal and to have my feelings reciprocated; see My Guy.

Kimmie, I’m not sure if I’d call it “courage and enthusiasm”, I’m a relationship type of girl, I like being a part of a committed, monogamous relationship, more than I like being by myself so I was willing to do and give what it takes until I found someone I was compatible with. I knew deep down that “he” was out there and I never gave up on the hope of finding “him”.

The seemingly kind and sweet Charlie, our import from across the pond, over at https://charliecountryboy.com asked

Q 59. If your house was on fire what is the one item you would save?

Since you said item and not person, I guess I would grab my laptop, the very one I’m typing on right now.

While my new buddy and incredible long-distance runner PK Adams, who blogs over at https://www.eatthesky.com asked the following…

Q 60. How did you choose your career?

It’s more like my career chose me…All my life I was told that I argued like a lawyer, ever since I was a little girl. I guess I was contentious; I’m not anymore though πŸ˜‰.

Wow…I’m up to question 60 and I’m still not done with all my questions yet. I guess there’ll be a part 3 to this Reader Request Fridays because this blog post is already way too long. I appreciate all the questions though and I promise to answer all of them, someday.

I’ll leave you with the colored version of my current WordPress profile picture, a photo I took last month while attending the Bruno Mars concert, which was one of the best concerts I have ever experienced. How come no one asked me to describe the best musician I have ever seen in concert? I would love to have answered that one. 😊

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Ask Me Anything – The Answers (Part One)

I am seated in a crowded airport waiting to get on my flight to JFK. I am tired and I am miserable. My flight has already been delayed more hours than I can count because of snow on the ground at home in New York. We were originally scheduled to leave at 6:15 pm, well it’s now 10:45 pm and we still have no idea when we will actually be departing. Not the most ideal situation for creativity and or writing but since I am committed to fulfilling my promise to participate in Reader Request Fridays I just pulled my laptop out of my carry-on and we shall now begin.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to ask me fun, interesting, provocative questions, some of the answers came to me quickly and easily, while others gave me food for thought. I was asked way more questions than I had anticipated, some of the questions even came from my Facebook friends and one Twitter follower, while others came from real life friends.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll be doing my Reader Request Friday responses in 2 parts, that is in 2 separate posts, I don’t want to make it too long and I especially don’t want to bore anyone so please note if you don’t see your question posted here this week, rest assured I’ll be responding to it in my next installment of Reader Request Fridays.

Without further adieu let’s get to the questions and, of course, my answers:

Reader Request Fridays was created by my fellow blogger the controversial https://bottomlesscoffee007.com, who provided me with the first set of questions to respond to:

Q1. I would like to hear the story of you growing up in the Islands.

I was born and raised in Jamaica. We were a typical middle-class family. We didn’t want for anything because my father worked hard and was able to more than adequately provide for his family. I am the eldest of my parents’ three children and I am the only girl.

My father, a former military man, was all about discipline and raised us in a very strict, rigid household with a thousand rules. My mother, on the other hand, was quite liberal in her parenting style (thankfully) so this kind of created a tolerable balance.

I think I might have been the toughest of the 3 children to raise since I was quite the opposite of everyone in my family. I was an extrovert growing up in a household of introverts. I always wanted to go out partying, socialize with the other kids next door, listen to all kinds of loud music with somewhat raunchy lyrics, namely Rock and Jamaican Dancehall, talk loudly and generally just hang out. My father didn’t think any of that behavior was very ladylike at all, so I just kind of kept in line so I wouldn’t get in trouble with him. Growing up I was very scared of my father. Truth be told I was still kind of scared of him even in my adult years, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy, who expected the best from his children, and I never wanted to disappoint him.

Q2. When and why did you move to New York and what was the transition like?

In the Summer of 1998, I was visiting New York and met a very, cool, confident guy that swept me off of my feet. We spent the entire summer hanging out and by the time I was ready to go back home to Law School I was in love. We did the long distance thing for a few years and every opportunity I got to come back to New York, during school breaks, he would send me an airline ticket. When I graduated Law School he encouraged me to move to New York to be with him so I did, much to my father’s displeasure. We later got married, had a child, then divorced.

Despite the divorce and circumstances that caused the divorce, I have no regrets about giving up my solid life in Jamaica and moving to NYC. I love living in New York and I enjoy being a mother, which I don’t think I would have been if not for my Ex, so zero regrets here.

The transition from Jamaica to New York was fairly easy, the only thing I had to get used to was the Winters; but I am so in love with Winter fashion; coats, knee-high boots, gloves, scarves etc., that not even the Winters bothered me much.

Q3. What do you miss about the Islands and how often do you go back there?

I miss my Mom, who still lives there. My Dad passed away a few years ago so in some strange way I miss him too.

I miss the food, the freshness of the food. The way everything tastes light and organic, as opposed to being heavily chemicalized or fertilized.

I miss the greenery, the lushness of the backdrop of the Blue Mountains as I drive through certain parts of the island.

I miss listening to our dialect every day. I also miss the very special way in which we (Jamaicans) create and invent new words all the time to perfectly fit any given situation and circumstance. Gosh, I love my people. πŸ˜‚

I go home at least once a year. A trip I always look forward to.

Q4. Also, have you taught your children about the culture and traditions of the Islands?

Child – not children – just one. Yes, I most certainly have. My son has been going to Jamaica every year, sometimes twice a year, since he was only six months old. He will be 15, in a matter of weeks, and you can’t tell him he isn’t Jamaican himself. He understands the dialect and speaks it better than most American children born to Jamaican parents. He loves the food, the music and the dances, which he surprisingly does very well. My son has claimed Jamaica as his own and doesn’t like it when I refer to him as a “fareign pickney”. πŸ˜‚

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Map of Jamaica with the flag’s colors.

The following questions came for the emphatic Nova at https://mynamaste365online.blog

Q5. Do you spread spaghetti sauce all on top of your noodle or mix it all together?

Mix it all together.

Q6. What was your favorite snack as a kid? When did you last have it?

Chippies Banana Chips, which, of course, is from Jamaica. However, I find it in New York from time to time. I recently had some.

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Q7. Do you have a monthly subscription box? If so, which?

Nope.

Q8. What’s your favorite perfume?

Good ole classic Chanel No. 5.

Q9. Top pet peeves.

i) People who spit in public.

ii) People who act like they know everything.

iii) Unsolicited advice.

iv) People who talk during a movie.

v) Long recorded messages that ask you to press a thousand different numbers before you can actually talk to a real live person.

Q10. Do you own a dishwasher?

Yes. Believe it or not, I hardly use it though, I like doing my dishes the old fashion way.

Q11. What would the warning label to your life say?

Combustible! She goes from 0 to 100 in under 60 seconds.

Q12. If you could meet anyone who would it be?

Oprah Winfrey.

Q13. What food can you absolutely not eat?

Frogs. I hear it’s a delicacy in some countries but I’ll pass.

Q14. If you weren’t in the profession you are in right now what would you choose to do for work?

A Writer, of course. It’s my dream to get paid for my writing.

Q15. If you could use one superpower for a day, which would it be?

Ha! I’d want to be invisible. Imagine the things you could find out if you were invisible. πŸ‘€

Q16. What allergies do you have?

Thankfully, none.

Q17. Do you read magazines?

I use to but in this day and age of the World Wide Web, I don’t really read print magazines anymore. I use to have subscriptions to O (The Oprah Magazine), Essence, Cosmopolitan, and Parenting Magazine.

Q18. What has been your hardest challenge this month?

A particular case I have. Well, it’s not even the case, it’s really the client that has been challenging.

Q19. Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition? If so, what?

Not really. We usually eat Thanksgiving Dinner with another family at their house. I rarely ever host Thanksgiving, I did it once and I don’t think I want to do it again.

Q20. What’s something you do without realizing it?

Raise my voice. I do it out of excitement, annoyance or anger and don’t even realize it until I’m asked, “Why are you yelling?”

Q21. What would be in your self-care kit? Lip-gloss, mint-flavored gum, movie tickets, a pair of dumbbells, a great book and my debit card.

While the fun and comedic Britchy over at https://bitchininthekitchen.org wanted to know the following:

Q22. What is your favorite color?

Red!!! I adore everything red. Red cars, red dresses, red sofas, red walls, red lipstick, red cell phone covers; I always go with red. All kinds of red; fire-engine red, apple red, brick red, wine red…Red! Red! Red!

Q23. If you could go to any play or musical what would it be?

Hands down Springsteen on Broadway; mezzanine tickets are going for at least $1,200 a piece. Of course, I can’t afford to go at those prices but oh how I wish I could.

I also have an interest in seeing Hamilton, another ridiculously priced Broadway play.

Q24. Who would you invite to a dinner party? Ahh, let’s see…

  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Chris Hemsworth
  3. Barack Obama
  4. Viola Davis
  5. Denzel Washington
  6. Usain Bolt
  7. Bruno Mars
  8. Stephen King
  9. Diego Maradona
  10. Sebastian Maniscalco
  11. Martin Scorsese
  12. Shabba Ranks
  13. Serena Williams, and
  14. Jerry Seinfeld.

Q25. Where would you like to vacation? I’d like to go to Egypt to see the pyramids.

Q26. Can you recommend any good books?

Of course! Here are some favorites:

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Defending Jacob by William Landay
  3. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
  4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  6. The Stand by Stephen King
  7. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
  8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseinei
  9. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  10. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  12. A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul

Q25. What pets do you have or would you like? I wasn’t blessed with a love for animals.

Q26. What types of music do you like?

I listen to just about anything but I do have an affinity for Rock, Reggae and Jamaican Dancehall. I even enjoy some of the rap music my son likes to listen to.

Q27. Did you enjoy school? If yes what subjects?

For the most part, I did. Favorite subject, hands down anything to do with English Langauge Arts; both English and English Literature were favorites of mine.

Q28. Were you ever a girl guide? Nope.

Q29. Do you like fun fairs? Yes, I like fairs. b) Favorite fair food? Cotton Candy.

Q30. Do you prefer wine or cocktails or soft drinks? I like red wine but I prefer a tangy tasting cocktail and if I opt for soda, it’s usually the diet version, like Coke Zero. My favorite drink is water though.

Q31. What would your favorite dinner be if you could pick anything?

Well, since I’m a carnivore I’d have to go with a porterhouse. Next up would be a nice roast chicken complete with stuffing.

Q32. Kiss, Kill, Marry; who gets what?

Kiss – Bruno Mars/ Kill – (I can’t think of anyone I want to see dead)/ Marry – Chris Hemsworth.

Q33. Is there anywhere in the US you’d like to live more than where you are now?

Nope! I love living in New York. I might opt to move around in different parts of New York but I really like it here. My favorite thing about New York is its diversity and inclusivity, all are welcome, everyone has a home here.

Q34. What TV shows do you like?

I like laugh out loud comedies. I’m a big fan of The Big Bang Theory, Black-ish, Modern Family and I always watch The Jeffersons re-runs.

I can also sit and watch endless hours of Law and Order.

Q35. What are your favorite clothes shops?

  1. Lord and Taylor
  2. Desigual
  3. Top Shop
  4. Zara
  5. Express

Q36. Who is your favorite historical man and woman?

Bob Marley and Rosa Parks.

Q37. Do you prefer to fly or drive?

Flying gets you there quicker but considering that I am still waiting around in this damn airport after 7 hours of checking-in for my flight, I am not feeling flying right now. 😟

Q38. Baking is important to me. If I was to bake for you, what cake would you like me to make most?

I’d probably go with anything chocolate, with chocolate fudge and chocolate chips.

20181116_0534371043823758107854812.jpg Me, right now, in the airport trying to get this Blog done.

I’ll just keep going until they call my flight – Up next we have questions from the illustrious Claudette over at https://writerofwordsetc.com

Q39. Favorite Bon Jovi song

The irony here is that my favorite Bon Jovi song wasn’t even done by Bon Jovi, the band, but by Jon Bon Jovi, as a soloist, when he recorded Blaze of Glory for the movie, Young Guns II.

My favorites from the band would be Bad Medicine and I’ll Be There for You.

Q41. Do you have a phobia or aversion to something?

I freak out around creepy, crawly, slithery things. The give me the heebie-jeebies.

Like you, Claudette, I went down the rabbit hole called the Internet and found out that my phobias have names – Ready for this? Entomophobia is the fear of one or more classes of insect while Ophidiophobia describes the abnormal fear of snakes, and herpetophobia relates to the fear of reptiles in general.

I suffer from all three.πŸ˜’

Q40. Did you ever watch the Walking Dead and if yes do you have a favorite season or character? If no, why not?

So I got hip to the Walking Dead when it was already well on the way to becoming one of the most popular shows on television. Me being me tried to get in on the excitement and watched the first couple of episodes of Season One but I wasn’t feeling it. I thought the zombies looked fake and they weren’t scary, not that I like scary, but it just looked like a B-rated 90s Horror film to me. I couldn’t get into it.

Prior from over at https://priorhouse.blog wants to know…

Q41. What would you call your autobiography?

One word – Fierce!

Scherezade Ozwulo of https://edifyingthespiritblog.com wanted to know

Q42. What was the best piece of advice given to you by a loved one or someone you respect, that could be passed onto your child?

My grandmother always said, “Manners will get you everywhere!”

On that note, it’s 3 am and I am about to go board my flight home. This was a great way to pass my time in the airport. I’ll be back with Part 2, next Friday, maybe even sooner.

Thanks for reading!

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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It must be awards season since this past week I was nominated for not 1, not 2 but 3 different Blogger Awards. I am so psyched. I think it is an honor to be recognized by your peers; especially as a new Blogger, the recognition means a lot to me and, as such, I intend to respond to each and every one of the nominations. Therefore, I am apologizing in advance for inundating your WordPress Reader feed with my self-indulgent award posts responses.

First up is the Sunshine Blogger Award – I would like to thank the amazing and very spiritually aware https://mynamaste365online.blog (i.e. MoonChild Nova) for this nomination.

Here are the rules for this award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them (see above).
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.
  • Here are the 11 questions I was asked:
  1. What’s your biggest accomplishment of 2018 thus far?

Apart from amicably settling a nightmare case that has been going on since 2016 in the earlier part of this year, my greatest accomplishment would be starting and maintaining this Blog. It’s something I have wanted to do for a very long time but since I am such a procrastinator coupled with my very demanding career in addition to being crippled by my fears, BLOGGING FEARS, I just couldn’t get it going. The fact that I got this Blog going at all and have been able to stay committed to posting weekly is a very big deal for me and I am actually pretty darn proud of myself for doing it. I even took a Blog Writing course to help me get things going Racquel Writes!

It’s my dream to maintain my Blog, to keep it going and I’m hoping to find topics and stories worthy of my readers’ time to keep them coming back week after week.

2. When you have free time, what is your favorite thing to do?

Free time??!!! What is that?! 😁

If we are talking about my hobbies – I would say I always enjoy sitting in the quiet of my bedroom on my comfy little chair by the window and enjoying a good book. One of my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions was to read at least one book per month and I was doing very well with it, I even read 2 books in the month of March alone, but that entire commitment kind of went left when I started this Blog and I haven’t completed a book since July; but I vow to get back to it for the month of November and beyond. πŸ˜ƒ

I also enjoy the movies, I try to get to the cinema at least once every other week (there is always something out that I want to see; yesterday alone I did a double feature with my son – so much fun) and of course I enjoy blogging/writing.

So yeah, that’s my “free time” go tos – Books, Movies and Writing – not necessarily in that order.

3. Who is one of your role models and why?

Here is a clichΓ© – My parents are my role models.

My father was a self-made man, who came from nothing and was able to start and build a successful company. The admiration for my mother comes from her unwavering devotion to her husband and her children. She was not fortunate enough to be a housewife and worked outside of the house for 40 plus years until her retirement, but would always come home and cook a meal for her family. She kept a clean house, helped us with our homework (until we were old enough to get it done ourselves) and was always there to listen.

My parents were married for 45 years until the day my father took his last breath; another reason they’re my role models; because any adult in a relationship, marriage, or otherwise, knows that is no easy feat.

4. Do you know your personality type?

If by this you mean the Myers/Briggs personality type – Nope, never done the test.

5. When did you realize you really enjoy writing?

Might have been in elementary school when the teacher would tell us to write 3 paragraphs on a certain topic and I would take pleasure in writing an entire page or more.

6. Has anything you’ve written been published in a book or newspaper?

Yes, actually! While in high school I sent several pieces to the Gleaner, which was the local newspaper in Jamaica, where I was born and raised, and I was lucky enough to have a few pieces published. The first time I saw my name in print I was ecstatic. I was in the 9th grade.

7. Tell us three other talents you have.

Wow! “Talent” – I dunno. I’m good with people. Is that a talent?

I don’t have any talents. I’m not particularly great at anything. I can’t sing to save my life and I’m an average dancer. I’m not really good at any sports and I don’t play any instruments; so no talents here. That’s kinda sad, isn’t it?! πŸ€”

8. What’s your biggest inspiration?

Hmmm, let’s see…I have several sources of inspiration, whether it is people or things. However, I would say my “biggest” inspiration would come from love; love for my family. I am inspired to do more, be more and be the best version of me because of the love I have for my husband and my son. I just want to be great for them.

I am also inspired by great writing, music, wonderful friends and the random beauty I sometimes encounter out of the blue.

9. Have you recently made a choice you regret, if so, what was it?

I took a case I knew I shouldn’t. During the initial consultation with the prospective client, my intuition told me I would have a hard time with this client. His personality was a bit too “intense” for my liking. I took the case anyway because I felt I was up for the challenge but boy oh boy did I live to regret it.

10. If you could give one piece of advice to the teenage population, what would it be?

Be a kid! Enjoy it! Wallow in it. Sit back and chill and let your parents take care of you because the responsibilities of adulthood are coming and once it gets here there is no turning back.

One more thing – Wait to have sex! No need to chase it. It will always be there. You’ll have so much of it as an adult you’ll eventually get tired of it, even when it’s really good.

11. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

People who spit in public. I. Cannot. Stand. That!!!

Now, I’m supposed to nominate 11 other bloggers to participate, for the Sunshine Blogger Award. However, in the past, I have nominated other bloggers for other awards and have been met with the “I don’t do awards” sentiment, which is totally cool, to each his own. I have also nominated other bloggers who said they would participate but they just didn’t get to it. So how about this? If it is in your pleasure to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Awards; then go right ahead; please feel free to answer the questions above and tag me in your response post.

Thank you for reading!!!

BLOGGING FEARS

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Photos courtesy of Pexels

Earlier this year, I came across an article, a letter that had been penned by a young woman named Holly Butcher, who was dying of Cancer, she was only 27 years old. As I read what she wrote from her deathbed I was brought to tears by her message. This young lady obviously didn’t want to die, she hadn’t done all the things she wanted to do, she thought she had all the time in the World to pursue her goals and dreams, like most of us do, yet her time here on Earth was unexpectedly cut short.

We always think we have time, so much time, but who knows how much time any of us really have left.

At the time, when I came across Holly’s article, I had been toying with the idea of writing a weekly Blog. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to do it but I was afraid. I had so many fears about all kinds of things, some of which were justified; while others were downright silly and completely unwarranted; but then I thought about this dying girl and how she will never have the opportunity of doing anything she wanted to do ever again so I decided to do what one of my favorite quotes postulates – “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Fear of Oversharing

In this day and age, where everyone shares everything on social media; even the dark and very personal, I sometimes feel old school in thinking that not everyone needs to know everything about me. I am not fiercely private (not like my husband) but I don’t broadcast everything either.

One of the things I discovered in my research about blog writing is that as a blogger one has to have a niche, something to blog about that you’re actually good at and can give expert advice on. So we have our beauty bloggers, our fitness and health bloggers, our fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, lifestyle bloggers; a plethora of blogs are out there with something for everyone.

However, the only thing I consider myself an expert in is my work and myself. I thought damn I have some really interesting cases but I can never write about them for fear (there’s that word again) of trampling on the attorney/client confidentiality clause. So I was left with my only other area of expertise, which meant writing about myself, my life, my very own experiences and that’s where my fear of oversharing came into play.

One should always be authentic with one’s writing; but where does one draw the line between authenticity and telling too much? Let’s face it, some of my stories, despite being heartfelt, are downright embarrassing, for example, this one 5 Lessons I Learned from my Divorce. However, if a writer desires to remain authentic then he or she must speak (write) openly and honestly about all experiences despite the fear of the embarrassing overshare.

Fear of Being Trolled/Stalked

I once had a stalker. I said “once” because I sincerely hope that he is in the past. Believe it or not, this stalker came from my work website. He was never a client nor a potential client but he must have liked how I looked in my pictures or whatever it was that I had to say on my work website because he proceeded to send me weekly emails and leave daily (sometimes several) voice messages on my work phone. This freaked me out!!!

It started in May 2015. At first he would send one email weekly, then it grew into a few emails per week overtime it became a few emails per day. I never once wrote back because based on his emails the guy was a loony. So after months of unanswered emails, he started calling my work phone. I immediately blocked his number, but he still got my voicemail whenever he called so it gave him the opportunity to leave a message and he oftentimes did. He was unintelligible and rambled on and on about nothing or some old cases or problems that he had. He always left his phone number and asked me to call back. I never did. After a while, he must have realized his phone number was blocked because he then went back to his non-sensical emails.

He would take a break from the emailing and phone calls for a month or two then he would suddenly reappear, and start his incessant emailing and calling again. It was nervewracking.

The sporadic email stalking went on for 2 years, which was way too long; before I finally called my web-designer and told him about it. I had no idea my web guy could go in and see where the messages were coming from and block any future messages from coming through to my website email from him. When stalker guy realized he couldn’t email me anymore then he went back to calling. He even left a message alerting me to the fact that something was wrong with my website because he could no longer send me any emails. I kid you not!!!

Anyone remembers how John Lennon got died? He was killed by a crazy stalker who flew all the way from his home in Hawaii and waited outside John Lennon’s apartment building in New York City and shot the Beatles group member to death as he entered the building. The murderer, since then, has done a few interviews from his prison cell, where he gave no real reason for committing the murder more than he was influenced by the book, The Cather in the Rye.

During those 2 years of weird emails and voicemail messages from stalker guy, John Lennon’s story was prevalent in my thoughts. Obviously, I don’t have John Lennon’s fame and harming me will not bring anyone any kind of notoriety but people are certifiable crazy and you never know who is who.

The only thing that made me feel somewhat safe is my husband’s reassurance that he “wouldn’t let anything happen to me” (yeah, I know; but I believed him) and that based on the guy’s voicemail messages and emails he was “probably harmless” but I live in a world of ‘you never know’ so putting myself out there in the form of blogging is a major deal for me because ya know; you never know.

Fear of Not Being Read

Let’s face it, every writer wants to be read. What’s the point of writing if your words aren’t read by others. Unless, of course, the writer writes for therapeutic purposes only; but once the writer hits “publish” he/she wants his writing read.

Most writers want to know that their writing doesn’t suck, or at least I do. We all want to captivate our audience. I won’t speak for all Bloggers, but as for me, I want every word of my piece to be read, from beginning to end; the views are not enough, I want people to actually read what I write; and appreciation of my written words validate me and makes me want to continue to tell my stories.

The fear of not being read at all almost prevented me from ever starting my blog. What if no one cared to read what I had to say? What if people thought I had nothing interesting to say? What if I said it in such a way that I wasn’t able to excite curiosity or attention? What if I couldn’t evoke emotions from my readers? What if I really couldn’t write as well as I thought I could?

All of these fears almost crippled my attempts to start a Blog and almost prevented me from putting myself out there. The truth is, writing has always been my first love, above the practice of law and anything else I have ever attempted, writing is and will always be my first love. I have been writing since I was in high school, and even though I had stopped for a while because the responsibilities of life took over and I pursued other goals, I had never given up on my first true love.

I am sorry that Holly Butcher died but I am glad that the letter she wrote from her deathbed gave me enough inspiration to feel the fear and to do it anyway; to sit down at my laptop, punch those keys and gave me enough guts to hit “publish” afterward.

Thank you, Holly!

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