Blessed

Good with Turning 27

Yesterday I turned 27, which is actually kind of strange of me to type, cos it’s weird to think that little me is 27.  Little me you know, with the baby face and all that, but 27 I am and I am good with that.  Very good with that.

Saying that I’m good with 27 is an even weirder thing for me, because I have disliked the thought of getting older for so long.  I hated turning 25 with a passion and although I was fine with 26, the thought of getting older still filled me with dread.  For a long time, the age of 27 disturbed me and I tried to avoid it, especially as it feels even closer to 30, but I’m not feeling too bad about that age either now.  As long as these good genes of mine hold out, I’m still gonna be looking young and I love that.

I also felt really blessed and grateful to God to not only see another year, but to see another day of my life, as I’ve wanted to have my life taken away from me on way too many occasions to count over the past three years.  This earth is a sick, twisted, sad place, which I know I’m not made for and wish I could leave, but I’ve also felt that so many others should be still breathing in place of me, who is often so ungrateful for the breath I have in my body.  That was not the case this year.

I was extremely happy on the day, and I had been in a great place during the days leading up to it, which is always a positive thing.  I’ve also had a positive year on the most part, with a number of amazing things happening and God opening a number of doors.  I got baptised this year, my platform became an official organisation and celebrated three years this year (through God’s help only), I won my first competition with my poetry this year, I delivered my first keynote address this year, and I had my face plastered over a storefront this year.  This is just a snippet of some of my many highlights, and we’ve still got four months of the year to go.

At 27, God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or asked for.  He’s put me on a path I never expected or planned for, but love with all my heart and gives me a reason to keep fighting on.  He’s also blessed me with many beautiful people, who contributed to making my day so special and a whole lot of fun, especially my sister who was there throughout the whole thing.

Usually, my birthday feels like a new chapter, but this year feels more like the middle of a chapter that is still being written, which probably won’t be finished until the new year comes and I am more than good with that.  I just can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings and what other blessings God brings my way, cos I know that I’ve got a whole lot more work to do, more love to spread in the world and more people to empower so that their voices are heard.

I’m only just beginning to tap into my true power and potential.

They Brought Me Laughter and Happiness

Last year, my best friend Mells gave me one of the greatest gifts ever when she gave birth to my godson, Reyez.  He is the best, beautiful and boisterous, never failing to make me laugh or bring me joy.  Every moment spent with him is special and I’m blessed to be part of his life.

One of the highlights of my year was watching Reyez get dedicated, and also playing a part in that special moment as one of his godparents.  It was a real celebration and he looked beyond cute on the day in his white suit.  His mum definitely knows how to have him looking his best.

I’ve also had the pleasure of looking after Reyez a few times this year, with the stand out being him spending a day at “Aunty Day Care” (basically my sister and me looking after him at our house).  We played with toys, I sang to him, fed him, changed him and got him to sleep.  I was taken aback, but also found it hilarious, when he roared at me as he cried for food.  This boy definitely loves his food.

My heart filled with joy and excitement as I saw that he was walking, and now I’m just waiting for him to start properly talking – I’m insistent that he will say Aunty Shan, no matter what his mum says.  I’m also looking forward to when he’ll stop ripping paper so I can read to him.

Now his mum, Mells, has been my best friend for about 10 years, and our friendship has always been an interesting one.  We are very different people and we show love in very different ways, although we know that the love is always there.  While I’m very much about words and expressions of love, I’ve come to realise that my Mells shows love through her actions and giving you her quality time – time is 100% a big thing for her, which I sadly find hard to give at times.

During the beautiful, warm weather we enjoyed in spring and summer this year, Mells, Reyez and I went on a picnic.  I asked what I should bring, but Mells insisted I didn’t need to bring anything, and when we sat down on our mats in the park, she unpacked a spread of cooked food, snacks, fruit and drinks that catered to my vegetarian diet.  I couldn’t believe that she had prepared all of this and not wanted me to contribute anything.  I felt genuinely loved, appreciated and cared for – those are the actions of a true friend there.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Mells and Reyez this year, which has brought me plenty of laughter and left me with a number of memories.  These are two of the most important people in my life, who I would die for without a second thought.  Like I said, I’m so blessed to have Reyez as my godson – he never fails to bring me happiness and was often my light during my darker days at the beginning of the year.  I love the both of them with all my heart.

Special People Who Made a Special Experience More Beautiful

I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities this year, allowing me to meet special people, who I’ve loved coming into contact with.  One of those opportunities was Rallying Cry, a project put on by Apples & Snakes, which culminated in a spoken word show.  Being part of Rallying Cry was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, pushing me further as an artist.  However, what made the experience so beautiful were the individuals involved, who I loved spending time with, especially during production week.

I had the pleasure of being mentored by the wonderful Zena, who I was also mentored by earlier this year when taking part in The Writing Room (also delivered by Apples & Snakes), another amazing experience shared with beautiful people.  Zena is a beautiful soul, with a pure heart and great energy, who gets the best out of those she works with.  Working with her has definitely made me a better poet.  Zena is also one of the best people to be around, full of joy, love and laughter.  I hope that I will not only continue to learn from her, but that she will be in my life for years to come.

Zena not only mentored me, but she mentored the beautiful Antonia, Daisy, Hansika, PJ, Sarah, Oakley and Marissa.  I loved embarking on this journey alongside them, where we all learnt and grew.  Each of them are doing awesome things in their own right and have brilliant things to say.

I already knew Daisy from Croydon, and we went through The Writing Room together, but I got to know her a lot better through this process.  I’d also originally met Hansika and Sarah through The Writing Room, so it was amazing for the four of us to carry on our poetic journeys together and really become friends.  I developed a special bond with Hansika, as we shared the room for our performance pieces, and I could not have asked for a better “room-mate”.  I loved our conversations and having the opportunity to rehearse together.  It turned out that we were linked by University of the Arts London, having each attended one of their institutions (I went to LCF and she went to LCC – if you know, you know).

As well as us emerging artists, there were established artists featured in the show – Joelle, Chiedu, Roger, Hannah and Francesca – who are all ridiculously talented, but down to earth and lovely to be around.  I clocked that Roger was Trini straight away, but I doubted myself and decided to ask where he was from.  Once I told him I was Grenadian and Jamaican, he took to calling me ‘Grenadian’, which I loved, as my Grenadian side is often overlooked.

I felt like I especially bonded with Chiedu and Joelle though.  Chiedu is an awesome person who I had some awesome chats with, talking about where were from in the UK, the poetry and music scenes, and a number of other things – I felt at ease speaking to him.  His piece also brought me to tears, touching on certain things relating to people I know and love.  Joelle is one of the strongest, supportive and lovely people you will ever come into contact with, bursting with energy and possessing a wealth of knowledge.  I loved when she would vent to me and I would just stand listening, giving her the chance to get it all out.  She’s someone I see quite regularly now and always enjoy engaging in conversation with – she also gives great hugs.

There is no way I could have grown and taken my performance to where it was without my incredible directors, Rob and Maya.  They challenged me, supported me, advised me and more.  Rob came up with the amazing concept for my piece, which I never would have come up with myself.  His mind is weird and wonderful, his being is energetic and enthusiastic.  He made me laugh, feel safe and feel prepared – he was amazing to work with and I wold love to have the opportunity to work with him again.  Maya did a significant amount of one-on-one work with me, encouraging me to dig deep and really feel the words I was saying.  She made me think deeper about how I deliver my poetry and she made me a better artist, within a short space of time.  I mean it when I say that my performance would have been a lot less effective without her.

Then there was the stellar and beautiful Raffi, the actor who stepped in and did a phenomenal job as the person who had a gun to my head,who I really loved working with.  The Trojan that is Bethany, who did the most amazing job with props, room layouts, and all other design stuff, and is also a proper lovely person.  The equally lovely and crazy organised Maria, who ensured we all kept to time and knew where we should be.

The brilliant team from Apples & Snakes – Lisa, Natalie, Divya and Tobi – who supported, planned, produced and most importantly, got the word out there.  I am incredibly grateful to Tobi for informing me about this opportunity, and most of all to Lisa, who even made this a possibility.

There are also others that I haven’t mentioned or named, but I want to say that everyone involved in this project is incredible and I enjoyed being in their presence.  Thank you to Apples & Snakes, and to everyone involved in Rallying Cry, I love you guys.