Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2015 Contents Since my teens I ve looked on at
people in school, as in life, who
were popular---girls who were cool,
boys who were hip, and the girls
favoured by those boys. The sce-
narios didn t faze me because I had
really good friendships with Debbie
Parris, Cheryl Thomas, Sherina
Khan, André Clifford, Hayden Ret-
ess, and some others.
As I grew older I began stressing
about how others perceive me. Much
of it came after having a nervous
breakdown in the school courtyard
in the late 70s, which has indelibly
set me part as of the folklore of Moru-
ga. The alienation then was evident
in the actions of the wider school
population, but even so, I had neither
clarity nor apprehension about those
I m still loved by my friends---Deb-
bie and I are still mistaken for blood
sisters and I ve since bonded more
deeply with Anselma Rodriguez-
James. They are positively my friends
who may not as yet have seen any-
thing awkward about me. Or if they
do, I think they accept me despite
Over the past 30 years or so I have
discovered what other people knew
for a long time: that I am very difficult
and different. I am comfortable with
The secret of my comfortable exis-
tence is self-validation. I own me. I
am happy and contented with my
eclecticism and peculiarity. I m in
charge of who forms my circle and
who exists as part of my community.
I beat and dance to my own drum.
I own my happiness and I accept
my misery as mine. When I feel inse-
cure, I own it. When I am inadequate,
I accept it. I claim the right to how
I feel in every single situation.
For over 20 years now, I ve lived
knowing what others think about me
is only a reflection of who they are.
I criticise the failing me with the love
and compassion that it needs; I coun-
sel the warring emotions as I would
yours if you presented them to me---
with deep concern.
I afford me the most amount of
love from my love crucible. I consider
on a daily basis my moods, my needs
and my desires. Then I decide what
it is I need to calm my anxiety, to
bring stability to my situation, to
appropriate balance in my life.
I know how and when to say I m
wrong---I free my self and my soul
with my ability to face the truth about
me in the worst circumstance. That
I believe is the truth that really sets
us free---the ability to know, respect,
and respond to the true self.
While my duality has been called
double standard (by people who are
double standard) and I have lost
friends because my wrongdoing,
weaknesses or flaws embarrass them,
those losses do not have preeminence
in my space.
I m not the sister, aunt, friend,
neighbour, cousin, lady, person who
people wake up thinking, "I m going
to call Caro" or "I m going to see or
spend time with Caro." No. Not me.
I definitely get the tokenism because
people do not find the shallow pleas-
ure they seek in me, do not under-
stand me or cannot see past me to
forgive me. I am a bystander at most.
But I stopped caring a long time
now. I have comfortably and inti-
mately come to accept that I am a
misfit. And I have done so with a ris-
ible grin because I know that every
one of us is flawed as hell, and need
people to like, even love us.
I love my few loves and empty the
remaining love into a bowl I call my
crucible of self-kindness. I only deny
myself the things that I surmise would
invert or infect my balance.
Mind you, I love people and care
deeply about the life and success of
others but I also belong to a group
described as highly sensitive and intu-
itive people who notice all of the inner
"personal dynamics of people around
me" and people, not ever understand-
ing this, feel safer in the company of
others of less intensity.
The highly sensitive person (or
HSP) is "someone who cares deeply
about everything, feels emotions with
great intensity, is highly conscientious,
has a rich and complex inner life, is
very intuitive is often creative in a
variety of ways, is easily overwhelmed
and/or over stimulated."
I glow and grow in quiet times,
open space and freedom. But it s
human to desire to belong and I would
not lie and say that I do not at times
wish that I could belong more easily.
I wish that people genuinely loved
me and sincerely desired to be around
me. But I hate faux empathy.
I love me. I m so in love with my
inner beauty, my quiet engagement
with my self and my God, it makes
being a misfit seem glamorous.
• To be continued
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, February 11, 2015
It is no myth that the divorce
rate keeps climbing, nor that our
youths are in trouble, nor even that
too many families today are on the
computer 24-7, playing video
games and glued to their television
sets instead of really listening to
each other and spending quality
time together. Now s the time to
prioritise significant relationships
and more effectively manage our
time so we stay connected. Most
of all, couples must find sufficient
time to play!
Tough times call for greater
action, and it s necessary to be alert
and to guard against intrusions that
compromise the success of our
most intimate relationships. Amidst
the chaos of crying children, crazy
schedules, computer crashes, tight-
ened wallets, global warming and
warnings, our relationships can and
will survive---if we work hard at it,
and remember...foreplay can and
should begin at breakfast!
From Page A35
Dr Starke is a psychotherapist/Life
skills coach and OD (Organisational
Development) consultant who
I'm my own Valentine, that's perfect
CAROLINE C RAVELLO
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
Tough times call
for greater action
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