'Once A Man, Twice A Child' 5/19

May welcomed the beginning of the ending to many cycles for me. I realised a lot of things were repeating in my life in the same way because I allowed it. I've reminisced on the things that I felt trauma by and I've reached an acceptance to take responsibility for where I am currently.

Now that I've reflected on a magnitude of buried emotions, I'm filled with gratitude. I relived memories in my mind that felt discomforting at first. Until I realised that when I'm affected by something that I choose not to face, I'm also choosing to be affected.

I feel grateful for the fact that things didn't work out for me in some scenarios when I wanted it to. My potential whispered louder volumes for me to become greater than my mistakes. I did learn the hard way, but 'nothing good comes easily' as my sister just reminded me...

This is the 5th month of this journey and I'm the 5th child from my parents being together, so I want to dedicate this month in appreciation to them.

Right now, I just simply want you to think about something...well a few things, but here is to start:

Think about what you were like as a child when you were alone. Where did your mind wonder to? I don't want you to delve into memories that will summon apprehension or aggravation to your current circumstance. If you begin to feel negative emotions coming forward from those memories, remember where you are now in this present moment. Take a look around you if you have to, observe your breathing and with every exhale try to detach your emotions from what you're thinking by remembering that your thoughts are for clarity. Negative emotions that clings themselves to those thoughts are no longer serving you. Focus your mind on the memories that feels good to you. There is no right or wrong, this is your own personal space with freedom! Think about the kind of experiences you had that made you appreciate your unique perspective, since childhood.

Here's a few of my childhood memories that stands out to me. Now that I have no choice but to be an adult, I actually find it quite amusing how much I've put my parents through, considering what I also thought they had put me through. These events are not in any particular order, though they all took place between the ages of 7-10.

I killed a fox. I'm just going to get this tale out of my head so that mother-dearest doesn't feel obliged to tell it to my friends every time she believes 'it would be cute to embarrass Lavern'.

It was a scorching day when I heard shuffling coming from the the pile of timber dad stored underneath our house on the farm. I was sat on the veranda that overlooked the tomato and pepper fields. I immediately assumed it was the cat because I found her underneath the pile of wood a few times munching after she'd caught a kill. I extended my care enough just to check if she was okay. The glare of the sun in my eyes made it difficult to see underneath the shadows of the house properly. I bent down at the bottom of the stairs that lead back into the house to call the cat, but she didn't answer. I thought that's fine, non of us likes each other, but I just wanted to know that she was okay because we lost the lives of two of her kittens recently (I might have cried). My instinct told me something was wrong but the stubbornness in me thought I should stand my ground. I bent down further on my hands and knees to get a better look underneath the boards and saw two brightly shinning eyes starring back at me. The cats eyes would glow in the dark, but I didn't recall them ever looking that big. Slightly amazed and shucked, I hesitated then called her one more time. Immediately I heard a growl that made me spring me to my feet! That was not the cat!

'Dad! Dad! There's something underneath the house!' I screamed. The fox then ran from underneath the boards and I just remember thinking he's half my size!

'Dad it's a Fox! FOX! It gone to di chicken pen!' I didn't know what to do because I didn't know where anyone was on the field. All I could hear was distant shouts, but I couldn't make out who was who as the fox's growl was getting louder. I heard dad shout to me as he's running towards the house 'Get the cutlass!' I ran up the stairs and grabbed the cutlass with caution as I remembered the fresh wound on my knee. I headed toward dad's voice coming from the fields as well as mum's and whoever else was there. As I'm running, I had to pass the chicken pen where the fox was now aggressively trying to find a way in. I ran past him desperate to not fall whilst carrying the sharp blade. As everyone was getting closer running towards me, I guess the fox felt like he was being cornered so he ran directly towards what he thought was the weakest link; that happened to be me. His aggression turned from the petrified chickens flapping their feathers, to little me still working my legs as quickly as I could. His eyes were dark as knight with sharp teeth gritted on display. His growl shattered my little heart with every vibration before I panicked and stopped running. I knew dad wouldn't make it to save me on time so I turned around, took one big breath and as I lifted the cutlass into the air, I spread my legs and chopped. Swiftly and promptly the newly sharpened blade glided with precision. The wild animal stopped right at my feet as I reached my arms back into the air holding the weapon. We both froze, except I was then the only one with life left in me. I guess I was left in as much shock as everyone else at that moment. Dad lifted my statue frame and carried me back to the house... 'she killed it with one cut straight down the middle of it's head' is what I heard. The rest of that day is history. Though this memory doesn't make me smile like I would for roses, the thought of it reminds me of my bravery and my ability to take what I've learnt and apply that when I'm under pressure. Dad taught me how to chop the bushes so that I won't chop myself like I did on my knee whilst cutting calla-loo from the farm to cook. In self defence, I chopped the fox, like I chopped the bushes... it's bitter sweet really.

I learned to ride on a bike called 'Catterbang' in one day. It looked and felt just like it's name. It took a lot of cuts and bruises after being pushed down a hill with my feet as the brakes, but I was determined to get the reward promised to me by my parents, which was my own brand new bike; a blue BMX.

I learned to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the creek until I learned how to paddle my way out. This made learning dangerously fun for me, similar to riding a bike!

I also learned how to front-flip off the bank into the creek not long before I travelled to England. I intended to learn how to back-flip but on my second attempt I landed head first on a tree stomp in the creek. It was hard to see exactly where it was because the rain fell previously so the water had risen by at least 30%. (The water looks quite dark due to vegetation from the trees, but it is fresh, clean and one of the best waters to drink thanks to its natural minerals) I love this memory because I remember how scared I was, but I did it anyway. That was the first time I realised that my body can do what ever I tell it to in my mind...and I lived not to tell that tale to my parents at that time as I didn't want to be banned from playing at the creek!

I planted my own farm. Okay, maybe it was a small patch in the grass where I thought would be undisturbed from animals on the farm, but as a child, I saw a vast land and enough space to potentially build my own city! I just had to adjust the layout sometimes due to higher management confusion; dad was always expanding the fields for his crops!

I also built a zoo with fetched sticks and hostage lizards... I guess I was expanding my vision!

I remember drawing the plan of what my city was going to look like in the sand. Time was working against me when I was building my first home. I took some of dad's bricks that he had laying underneath our house and dragged some of his boards for my walls. I knew he wouldn't be happy with me building on my own. My technique was quite different to his, so I thought it was best if I finished it before he got back home from the village. That way he'd just be proud of me and I'd move out, except for in the night time; because I'd probably get eaten.

That evening on his return he didn't notice the new build swaying gently with the cool breeze outside, so I decided it was time to make dinner. I'm going to cook in my new kitchen outside on the colepot. With curiosity prompt on his face, he followed me to my brand new 'day house'. Let's just say it wasn't the reaction I was looking for. I received a beating that afternoon, and I understood perfectly why because he explained with every 'whop'. I understood that next time, I'm going to build a house with double the amount of bricks so that he doesn't complain about me almost killing myself with the pieces of zinc floating at the top of four very high unstable poles that I created simply by landing one brick on top of the other. Lesson learnt, thanks pops!

I was always trying to be helpful on the farm. Some days felt quite dreary so it was important to either find an adventure, or create a project. That day's project was the pumpkin field! I know how hard dad worked on the farm, and I knew he went out to the village again, so I thought I'd surprise him by marking an 'X' on the ripe pumpkins that he will sell, exactly as I saw him do it. I found one of his smaller cutlass and trekked into the pumpkin field. Some of the X's were not as perfect as his, but I was sure he'd appreciate my effort!

Later that evening the shout of my name from dad's voice sounded broken. Something about the way he screeched felt off. He invited me for a walk into the pumpkin field alongside him and a very visible whip. Was he peeling it? I didn't say a word, no point in running either. That afternoon I received another beating for "chopping up all of his pumpkins". Moral of this memory; if you make a mistake with an 'X' and then try to correct it too many times, you actually make it worse. They will believe that you're making mistakes on purpose, even if in your defence you were purposely trying to correct a mistake and unfortunately repeated it. Another day, another lesson learnt, thanks pops.

Mum isn't an aggressive person, her fire sense of humour comes from her chatty mouth when she's had a sip of rum. When mum got mad, we either felt really bad and accepted a 'telling off' or hid until she was calm and forgot why she was angry. Nothing like dad, he will follow you into next year if you think you can run that long. So it's quite logical to run and hide from mum when she's mad until her heart rate get's back to it's normal pace.

We lived on a tropical farm in the middle of a what felt like 'The jungle book', so as you can imagine, our washing machine were our hands and scrubbing brushes. This time, I was mother's little angel. I wasn't like most of the females, I didn't really care for the kitchen, or learning to cook, I wanted to get my hands dirty, chopping down trees, hunting, or simply playing in my own world that didn't involve house work so much. I found that to be the most boring thing to do! However, on this special day, I felt inclined to help. I took everyone's dirty washing, put it into two huge bags and wheelbarrow-ed them down to the creek. Mum was completely unaware and I had no idea where everyone else was at this time. I lay the clothes out on the island in the middle of the creek and starting washing. My eldest sister is a clean freak, I know this because she casually slapped me up when I didn't wash her baby's nappies properly one time; a mistake I was sure not to make again! The good thing was, I now knew how to wash properly, so I scrubbed and scrubbed with the brush and soap until every clothing I washed was completely clean. After what felt like hours I became tired, so I thought I'd do some fishing! I Imagined if I was able to wash the clothes and carry home a big ole fish for dinner I'd definitely be a champ!

I'm not sure where everything went wrong, but I don't remember mum ever beating me until this day. At first I thought it was funny that she couldn't find anything to smack me with, until her eyes rested on the clothes line; my spirit jumped. I didn't understand why she didn't understand, why the clothes were muddy and why I had a bucket of water with two baby fishes in it! This beating made me realise that things can be avoided with better caution. I underestimated my mother's creativity, or I would have ran before the wire touched me.

I used to walk around barefoot though I wasn't really allowed to.. anyway, I took my shoes off because it was easier to get a grip whilst climbing, or even when playing in the loose sand. This was all fun and games until the sun got too hot and I'd have to hop from tree shadow to tree shadow to avoid the burn on my feet from the sand. I still laugh when I think about it.

These are some of the memories of my childhood that helps to keep me grounded, there's nothing that I'd change. That little girl's abilities are no different from mine. I just have the benefits of an adult body and more experiences to learn from. Just like you will always be who you were before circumstances and people impacted you enough for you to think you need to change. A child doesn't need to learn how to change in order to grow, they just need to learn to adjust in order to succeed.

Simple things like appreciating your past, your journey, where you are right now, and how much knowledge you have accumulated so far is a step in the right direction, whatever that direction is for you.

I lived a very basic life with my family. We didn't have a lot of money, but that wasn't something that appealed to me then. I didn't understand the value people placed on it. I remember one time I was on my way home from school and I got into a fight with another kid. After our brawl was broken up, she shouted at me, 'you're just poor anyway!' That was meant to be an insult but I remembered thinking 'I'll beat your ass again though!'. Later that day I asked my dad 'Why are we poor?' He said to me, 'Lavern you're not poor, you have a lot more than what money can buy. You're rich in spirit, success will reach you'. I understood that concept better than the term 'poor' then, but it wasn't until recently that I really understood where he was coming from. I will always appreciate my dad for that, so I will continue remembering to remember the best of my journey so far; the things that makes me feel good.

Focus on the energies that are here to serve you rather than take and you will see that you really can find love that is so deep within yourself, for yourself; it feels perfect.

I thought in the beginning of this journey that I might have feared being alone. Now I believe I was just untutored in finding new ways to express myself when I'm alone.

It's not a process that happens over night, it takes time like a seed growing roots before it grows into a tree then blossoms. The seed is the idea of the life you want to have, the blossom comes when you've accomplished what you've manifested for yourself. Have patience for growth and extend your gratitude to receive more.

I could and would never sit here and tell you that I have life all figured out. That's evident considering the summary of my life that I've let you in on this year! However, the pace of my wisdom is perfectly accommodating for someone such as myself.


Face your trauma and emotions so that they don't manifest into an energy that devours you and your life.

Remember to remember what makes you feel good. If you find your thoughts drifting away into a memory of the past or fear of the future, remember where you are now in this present moment and let go of anything (and anyone) that doesn't make you feel good.

Also, don't forget that it's nobody's responsibility to make you happy but yourself. When someone else adds to that, it's a bonus. Don't become a product of your environment, let your environment become a product that works for you!

Imagine if you learned one new fact a week in relation to science, you would feel inclined to learn why that is a fact. In four weeks, you could learn four new facts in the area that you feel like you want to learn about. Within twelve months of commitment to bettering yourself without anyone one else telling you how and when you should submit results, can you imagine being in the same position that you are in right now, knowing that you would have accumulated so much more knowledge at your own free will?

Love and Light to you all

Lala Grey.

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