Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 18th 2015 Contents If you have read my last instalment
and from that positively, self-affirm-
ing declaration concluded that I am
lonely, alone, or sad, I can only
deduce you know nothing of me or
you attempted to review my writing
rather than find a means to your val-
You see, despite my challenges, I'm
none of those things. I am a brilliant
spark in the lives of people who know
me---a wealth of knowledge, a crucible
of love, a treasure chest of comic relief,
a fiery encounter, a trove of compas-
sion, a beacon for every person with
a mental health issue (PMI), and so
Because I'm thriving with a mental
health issue, there are times required
for management of those issues---there
are happy days, sad days, days and
period of aloneness and of feeling
alone, and periods of wanting to be
left alone, but those are occasions in
my life, not defining characteristics
And while I wish I had a spouse
who could make dark days light and
light days lighter, I'm not one so totally
dependent on the other "half" that I
cannot have a whole life/existence.
And too, that idea is too often a bridge
of adversity rather than a bed of roses.
I stand loved and protected among
many great women who have proved
to me that self-validation is important
to being the true you. I've sat at the
feet of Ella Andall, Pat Bishop, Patt
Anthony, and many more, who within
and without marriage or partnership
showed me the way of self.
If you read that "I'm my own Valen-
tine and that's perfect" and concluded
that declaration had anything to do
with or without having a man/partner
then there's little I can do to help your
understanding, except suggest you
read some more and include in that
more of what I've written.
My duality of character works for
me. I could be such a social butterfly
you'd hardly know I experience in pri-
vacy some of the things I share here.
Unless you've had an intimate involve-
ment---and even if you did---it's not
obvious what my challenges are.
If you're a diagnosed PMI and that
makes you feel or appear awkward or
if you just feel that you don't fit into
circles of family, peers, co-workers,
et al, what I'm intending is to encour-
age you to declare your own inde-
It's important for everyone to find/
have a sense of belonging. It's more
important to find it within you and
to indulge yourself completely with
the idea of you, regardless of what
I'm a PMI. I do not walk around
feeling anything less than regal. I'm
a beautiful, brilliant, down-to-earth
woman with exceptional insight into
things and people. I stand singular
without the anxiety of aloneness.
That's something to strive for.
"Find a sense of belonging inside of
you," says www.positivelypositive.com.
"Honour this place, this club of your
own, with your living, vibrant spirit
as its core and central member. If you
find yourself feeling like a fish out of
water, by all means find a new stream,
but don't change who you are, be who
The difference that I am is nothing
visible. I do not appear awkward---I
feel awkward. I do not act awkward
(I hope). I cannot think of a time when
I actually behaved as a misfit, yet I
know the perception of being a misfit,
theirs and mine.
Once, in trying to get some co-
workers to appreciate the effect stress
has on my sociability and my energy
level, I threatened to wear my under-
pants outside and come to the office---
I'd always be heard saying that
because I'm able to do everything
everyone else does, and so often, bet-
ter, it's difficult to help people under-
stand how real my challenges are.
I'm a standout in many gatherings
for one reason or another, all mostly
good, and that makes others feel awk-
ward. Some even whisper sufficiently
loud so that I know they "know"
something about me and I'm so dis-
mayed because I'm such an open story,
opened before anyone else in T&T
dared to tell.
I am using the month of February
to celebrate myself and to encourage
everyone to find within, a self to cel-
After submitting last week's col-
umn, I laughed in complete under-
standing when Andrea posted on
Facebook, "I accept the woman I am
... I'm fiery, stubborn and impulsive
yet courageous, loyal, independent,
positive, passionate and loving...Takes
a special kinda guy to deal with me.
I'm a damn handful!"
I agree. The theories of needing
someone else to complete me are all
in ashes. I recognise I am whole. I'm
writing from within that completeness
about feeling like a misfit in situations
and hopefully lighting a path for those
who can relate.
I'm phenomenal. I embrace the
power of self. I know the power of
Wednesday, February 18, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
Most of the time when you
hear a Bon Jovi song in a store,
it s playing over a loudspeaker.
But Thursday night, around 100
lucky fans were treated to seeing
the New Jersey-born rocker per-
form a bunch of his hits during
an intimate acoustic set inside
a Kenneth Cole store in Soho.
The performance, as New York
Fashion Week began, was part of
Common Thread, an initiative
Jon Bon Jovi started with Cole
that provides a platform for the
new designers and musicians.
"Despite all the social media
and the ability for people to have
a voice, it's so hard for them to
find an audience for that voice,"
Cole told The Associated Press
on Thursday. "So tonight is kind
of the two of them coming
together, and that's what the
Before the show, the 52-year
old musician expressed his feeling
that while the technology for
making music has gotten simpler,
he sees no substitute for raw per-
formance as the true measure of
"You can have all the bells and
whistles of production these days,
and these guys that are out there
singing on the Grammys with
auto-tune. I always used to say,
I'm going to hand you my guitar,
sing me something, and I want
to see you play it.' This is that
night, so we'll have a little bit of
fun and give back," Bon Jovi said.
As for the set, the singer
opened with Who Says You Can't
Go Home, and included his
megahits Livin' On A Prayer, and
Wanted: Dead or Alive, before
artist Cole Redding.
Other performers included
country artist Rodney Atkins and
singer-songwriter, Rose Falcon.
Bon Jovi performs set in Kenneth Cole store
performs in New
February 12 as
part an acoustic
by the award-
CAROLINE C RAVELLO
Don't change who
you are, be
who you are
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